Jessica Olivares, our bilingual social worker [pictured right] also established a monthly support group for Spanish speaking patients because of the increased number of referrals to our program from the Trinitas Comprehensive Cancer Center and Health Champion trainings in Elizabeth and Plainfield.
As a result of funding from the Bristol Myers-Squibb and others, we are continuing to roll out and refine our Gladiator Program throughout New Jersey training Health Champions in communities to serve as force multipliers for change.
The growing complexities within family systems, including mental health and health disparities, continue to create barriers to care that complicate a cancer diagnoses, including: a lack of insurance, access to treatment, transportation, childcare, health literacy, and financial constraints. S4F programs are available nationally, and like our adult programs, are integrated with our larger public health outreach initiative into vulnerable communities.
In August, we attended the Annual Back to School Extravaganza hosted by the Trenton School District for the second time. At this event, we reached more than 3,000 people, 75% of which were Spanish speaking individuals. We distributed 900 educational kits with developmentally appropriate cancer education tools and connected with 14 community agencies interested in collaboration or referrals.
On October 26th, we held our Annual Cancer on Cancer: Supporting Youth and Families in New Brunswick, NJ thanks to support from the Bayer Fund. This conference is offered to our community, free of charge, to equip schools and community professionals with essential resources and support focused on how to respond when cancer impacts a family.
With funding from the Margaret A. Darrin Charitable Trust, Hillary Sachs, MS, RD, CSO, CDN joined our staff in July and is leading our nutrition programs. She has provided oversight of our Culinary Crossroads Program and has begun to develop stronger relationships in the community as part of our outreach work.
Additionally, we expect the Mark Lipschutz Center for Nutrition and Families to be completed in 2024. This new addition to our Bedminster Campus will provide a fully functional demonstration kitchen where Hillary will be able to hold in person nutrition programs, as well as live stream the content throughout the country. The new space will also house our Support4Families Kids Clubhouse as well as space for our mind-body programs.