The grant award enabled more clients to receive appointments, services and referrals in 2015, by allowing staff to focus more fully on the clients, without the pressure of finding additional funding for the programs. Our greatest area of impact and success was the opportunity to increase our visibility and outreach in the Lower Valley.
The application also referenced a collaboration with Memorial Hospital and the Yakama Agency on Aging, to provide a six-week class teaching self-management of chronic conditions and this is in the final phases of completion. The Client Navigator has completed all necessary trainings and only needs to personally conduct two classes to be fully certified. We anticipate completion in early 2016, once it has been coordinated with our liaison at Memorial Hospital.
Overall, the grant awarded was expended as stated on our grant request. We continue to increase staff hours, outreach materials and the wide range of programs. In addition, we have been able to expand our services in response to the needs and demographics of the Yakima Valley.
Our highest priority for 2015 was to increase visibility and outreach throughout the community, so those who are newly diagnosed will immediately think of us when they need us most. The purpose of the grant was to assist with our operating expenses, which would allow staff to serve clients rather than allocate increasing time to fundraising. We are happy to report that we had more success in this goal than we anticipated.
Over the past few years, we had experienced a decline in funding and had to make some reductions in our programs. One area that was impacted by these changes was our services, outreach and education in the Lower Valley. Unfortunately, Lower Valley residents are generally the highest at-risk population, so it has been a priority for us to find a way to resume our activities in that area. The grant enabled Lower Valley residents to benefit from this increase in presence, resulting in greater use of our programs including the Wig & Hat Boutique, groups, individual counseling, client navigation and attendance at our Celebrate Women, Celebrate Life dinner.
Additional outcomes include new collaborations with some Lower Valley organizations. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for Health Disparities in Sunnyside is currently holding a 10-week study at Wellness House to measure biological changes in women who receive support from a cancer support group versus those who do not. We hope to receive the results of this study by next year. Wellness House also became the recipient of a fundraiser held at Yakima Valley Community College in Grandview. While we have not received the funds yet, the event and our services were highly publicized in the Sunnyside newspaper. This event also led to a connection with Joan Souders who is helping us bring Wellness House Groups to the Lower Valley and provide further speaking engagements. Our next goal is to provide bereavement, cancer and depression support in the coming year.
In all, the Yakima Valley Community Foundation grant accomplished so much more than we had imagined and created an even larger vision for the near future. With the success of the 2014 grant, we are pleased to see a number of dividends and we look forward to continuing our mutual missions in 2016.
You can learn more about Wellness House on their website.