The St. Joseph County Health Department Health Education Division offers FREE educational presentations and educational materials to prevent disease and injury in our community. With a main goal of improving one’s quality of life and assisting residents in their ability to thrive, we offer a wide variety of programs and presentation topics.

Prescription to Play!

Prescription to Play is a FUN new FREE program offered through your child’s healthcare provider. This program is being offered to children between the ages of 7 & 12 who are at risk for overweight and obesity. The holder of the prescription can attend FREE classes at the Ray and Joan Kroc Center, O’Brien Fitness Center or Charles Martin Youth Center. No membership is required! Just bring in your prescription for a hour of fun and play! Ask your child’s provider today to see if they qualify! For more information, contact Robin Vida at (574) 245-6749.

Early Childhood CATCH Program

The Early Childhood Coordinated Approach to Children’s Health (CATCH) Program is an evidence based nutrition and physical activity program geared for children 3-5 years old. This program encompasses at least 22 consecutive sessions of play all focusing on the importance of proper nutrition and the development of physical activity skills. This FREE program also has a parent component to help re-enforce healthy habits at home. This program is currently done at the St. Joseph County Head Start Program and East Bank Learning Center. To have your Early Childhood learning center participate today, please call Spencer Landeck at (574) 245-6748.

Family Passport to Play

Family Passport to Play program is your personal guide to an adventure-filled season of family fun! HealthWorks! Kids Museum, South Bend Parks and Recreation, St. Joseph County Parks, Martin’s Supermarkets, the St. Joseph County Health Department, and the Reducing Obesity Coalition of St. Joseph County have teamed up to offer Michiana families an opportunity to spend time being active together! This FREE program gives your family the change every month (even in the winter!) to enjoy the beauty of local parks, exercise in an exciting way, and learn new things about enhancing your health and well-being.

Talk with Your Baby

Our educators have been trained in this dynamic FREE 8-week long program for parents, parents-to-be, grandparents and caregivers of children birth to three. Talk with Your Baby focuses on the importance of talking and reading with your child and sheds light on how quickly your little one learns the importance of conversation, emotions, and security. Research shows that children from talkative families may hear 30 million more words by the age of three than children from less-talkative families. At the completion of each session, participants get to take home a classic children’s book to begin building t heir own library and encourage reading and imaginative play. For more information, contact Robin Vida at (574) 245-6749.

Healthy Parenting Program

This dynamic 6 week FREE program focuses on parenting essentials for new parents or parents-to-be. With a main focus on teen parenting, this curriculum was developed with the help of teenage moms and dads to help us better understand their unique challenges as parents. This program can be easily adapted to new parents of any age. For more information, contact Robin Vida at (574) 245-6749.

In addition to these programs, click here to see the numerous health topics the Health Education team also provides presentations on.

Meet our team of educators:

Our educators are available to offer FREE presentations to schools, businesses, colleges, community organizations, churches, and more! All presentations can be tailored to all age groups and settings. Educators are also available for community events and health fairs.

Kirsten Zalas, CHES

Kirsten our lead educator, has been with the St. Joseph County Health Department for almost a year. She served as an intern at the department prior to her finishing up her Bachelor’s degree in community health from BYU in Idaho. Kirsten is a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Contact Kirsten at [email protected] 

Betsy McCue, MS
Betsy serves as our Research Associate. She joined the St. Joseph County Health Department in September of 2016. Betsy specializes in maternal/child health, program/project evaluation, and program processing. She holds a Master’s of Science in Global Health from the University of Notre Dame.

Contact Betsy at [email protected]

Robin Vida, MPH, CHES
Robin currently serves as the Director of Health Education at the St. Joseph County Health Department. She began as the health educator in 2007 and took the Director position in 2010. She holds her Master’s in Public Health degree from Indiana University-Bloomington and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. Robin specializes in building community partnerships and professional development, program planning, and chronic disease and obesity prevention and management. She is also a certified Master trainer in Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).

Contact Robin at [email protected]