July’s Positive Change recipient is the American Indian Family Center (AIFC). Located on Saint Paul’s East Side, AIFC has provided culturally specific, holistic health services to clients and their families for over 20 years. They host cooking demonstrations, provide clients with healthful recipe ideas, run an on-site farmers’ market, and promote ways of utilizing food as medicine and nourishment enriched by traditional American Indian cultural values. The center is the first and only organization in St. Paul that supports the local American Indian community. All AIFC programming is family centered and culturally informed, based on concepts of the medicine wheel. This holistic approach incorporates emotional, mental, physical and spiritual well-being as equally important aspects of living a healthy life, which empowers families to lead healthier lives. AIFC programming utilizes and promotes family nutrition education, food sovereignty, and creates access to healthful Indigenous food and medicine.
Many of the community members with whom AIFC works with suffer from severe health disparities due to historical trauma that the American Indian community has encountered. As a result of this trauma, many community members participate in AIFC’s wrap around service model, participating in several holistic and culturally-specific programs throughout all stages of life. This allows ongoing support, tying the community together in a cycle of growth and healing. Since its inception, AIFC’s work has been heavily focused on working with adults, with the understanding that parents who thrive also raise healthy children.
July Positive Change funds will support AIFC’s nutrition education and food sovereignty efforts that reconnect American Indian families with Indigenous food and culture. Donations will be used to help AIFC grow their youth garden program, purchase healthier food for community meals at the beginning of their programming, and expand their focus on nutrition and healthy eating for their women’s wellness program.