The initial meeting will be a get-acquainted session to familiarize course participants with Health and Wellness Coach Lisa Burbage, who will facilitate the program. Regular classes will begin on Oct. 17. Participants must join the class by the third session.

“The estimated value of this class is $500, but it is being offered free of charge to those who would like to attend,” said Rev. Cooper Stonestreet, Holly Hill UMC pastor. “Prevent2 is a proven educational program to promote Healthy Living Lifestyle changes addressing diabetes.”

“The program is not just for congregation members,” Stonestreet said. “It’s also for members of other nearby churches, neighbors throughout the community and anyone who would like to attend.”

The program is approved by the Centers for Disease Control. Classes will include handouts and other resources to help participants make healthy changes in their lives. Burbage said each person who takes part in the program will learn new skills, receive encouragement to set and meet new goals and discover new ways to remain motivated.

“The emphasis is on diabetes,” Burbage said. “However, it will help you prevent or delay pretty much any of the chronic diseases like cardiovascular, stroke, autoimmune, Alzheimer’s, cancer and even arthritis. It will help with all of them.”

“Not to mention you lose weight,” she said. “You have more energy because you start exercising. So there’s a lot of side benefits, too.”

The Prevent2 program consists of 16 weekly meetings.

“The first eight weeks are all about learning about nutrition and exercise,” Burbage said. “The second half of the program, the remaining eight weeks, are the part that I really think make this program so different from other programs out there.”

“It gets into the behavioral change part of making healthy lifestyle changes. What are emotional triggers? What are social triggers? How to talk back to negative thoughts that we all have. How do you manage stress?” she said.

 “Stress is a huge reason why a lot of people don’t take care of themselves. They overeat and they don’t exercise because they’re stressed out. So, we talk about stress and staying motivated.”

Participants can look forward to having a great time as they accumulate this important new knowledge and learn valuable new skills, Burbage added.

“The students share. They learn from each other,” she said. “We laugh. We have fun. People tell funny stories about some of the situations they get into with regard to healthy eating and exercise, and we all hold each other accountable.

“That is what’s so great about this program. The accountability part of this program is huge, and having other people going on the same journey. It makes it so much more enjoyable than trying just to diet by yourself.”

Those interested in signing up for the free Prevent2 program are asked to call Lisa Burbage at 843-442-8909. To learn more about Prevent2 and other programs, visit wellnessbeyondfifty.