For many families struggling to make ends meet, health and nutrition are frequently neglected. A diet lacking proper nutrients can contribute to many health problems, including cancer. For Hispanic communities, serious health issues are too often a reality.
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death for Hispanics. Of the 250,000 Hispanic women living in Tarrant County, at least 83,000 will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. That’s one in three.
More than 40% of cancer cases could have been prevented through an improved lifestyle. Unfortunately, health and wellness resources often don’t include cultural context or language, which furthers the disparity. On top of that, Hispanic women in Tarrant County face a variety of additional factors ranging from financial stability to educational attainment to health insurance coverage, among others.
Investing in Health
United Way of Tarrant County (UWTC) partners with organizations that share our vision for healthier communities. This includes Rosa es Rojo™, an organization whose mission is to educate North Texas Hispanic women on the topics of nutrition, physical activity, emotional health and positive thinking by using Spanish and culturally relevant content. The Rojo Way is its primary wellness program that teaches Hispanic women how to make healthy choices for themselves and their families to reduce instances of chronic illness and cancer.
In 2021 and 2022, Rosa es Rojo offered its free 20-hour Spanish-language wellness education classes and mentorship to women thanks to $37,500 in funding provided by UWTC community investment allocations.
Creating Generations of Healthy Families
For Estela Ireta, The Rojo Way showed her how to prepare nutritious meals for her family and take what she learned to educate her children about mental health and wellness. With the caring guidance from program ambassadors, Estela and her classmates studied how to prevent chronic illnesses and cancers, establishing behaviors that will have a long-lasting influence on their families for generations to come.
“Thanks to such a great program, I have learned how valuable our bodies are and rescued my positive emotions,” said Estela. “When educating a housewife, not only does she educate herself, but an entire family is educated.”
A Fresh Start
Lourdes Urrieta and her family migrated to the United States from Venezuela four years ago. She was connected to The Rojo Way, where she learned the benefits of eating a more natural, well-balanced diet and how to prepare nutritious meals for her family. The guidance she received goes beyond the dinner table.
“They also taught me that I need to wear ‘red [Rojo] glasses,’ that is, to see the great opportunities that are presented to us,” said Lourdes. “As a result, I am making the most of my life’s possibilities.”
Lourdes is now working to become an ambassador for the program to help other Hispanic women.
Every day, organizations like Rosa es Rojo make wellness and cancer prevention accessible for Hispanic women, who often have limited access to these resources that every family should have. Its program ambassadors are saving lives and creating healthier generations.
United Way of Tarrant County is proud to partner with Rosa es Rojo so the organization can continue to impact these communities through The Rojo Way and help create a more equitable Tarrant County for all.