PREVENTIVE CARE: Mother and children begin new chapter for healthier living

In the fairy tale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” a little girl repeatedly looks for that “just right” situation – at least when it comes to porridge, chairs and beds. 


In this story, a mother in Desert Hot Springs, California diligently searched for the “just right” resources, too – but in the form of health education, nutrition and exercise classes. 


Because of the partnership of Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) and First 5 of Riverside County – aimed at connecting people with preventive care resources – a local family is well on their way to starting a new, healthier chapter. 




Dioselena R. and her three children – Anahi, 13; Hesau, 9; and Daisy, 6 – needed more support to eat healthy and exercise regularly. The kids are all IEHP members and although generally happy and healthy, they gained some weight during the COVID-19 restrictions.   


At first, the family attended a local community center together, but Dioselena was quickly discouraged. 


“I didn’t feel comfortable there,” she said, adding the kids also didn’t find the environment interesting or engaging, so they stopped going. 


Then, the family tried to join a local gym, but the younger kids weren’t old enough for a membership. 


They tried just going outside and being more active together as a family, too, but the desert climate in their community was often a barrier against consistent success.  


Thanks to their IEHP doctor, the children were referred to the First 5 Family Resource Center in Desert Hot Springs, where they would finally receive the kind of support they needed. 


Like the fictional Goldilocks, after a few attempts, this family found their “just right” resources – but in real life. 


Dioselena and the children completed IEHP’s Health Education department’s “Eat Healthy, Be Active” program, a free four-week class focused on reading food labels, meal planning and making healthier choices overall. 


And they began to see progress almost right away.   

Encouraged by their results, Dioselena and the children have visited the center regularly for six months. 


Every Wednesday, Dioselena learns the healthy eating and living habits she now incorporates into the family’s lifestyle. This includes introducing more vegetables into the kids’ meals and motivating them to be more active every day. 




Meanwhile, the children never miss their weekly class called “SPARK,” which stands for “Sports Play and Active Recreation for Kids.” The evidence-based curriculum is designed for children under 18 and can be modified to include the whole family.    


Dioselena gives a lot of credit for the family’s healthy changes to IEHP Health Educator Jackie L., who helped enroll the kids in SPARK. 


“Jackie is caring and nice,” Dioselena said. “The kids can’t wait to see her every Wednesday to tell her how they each reached their goals for the week.”  


Jackie also teaches other classes offered by IEHP’s Health Education department to help people improve their health, including sharing important information on diabetes, hypertension, asthma, perinatal, well-child visits, preventive care and advance care directives as well as offering additional “living well-themed” workshops. 


“Mindset is the key to success in any health class,” Jackie said. “You have to be willing to change habits and do the work.” 




And that’s just what the star of this tale did – when other options didn’t work, Dioselena made sure to find the preventive care that was “just right” for her and her young trio. 


“Dioselena and the kids have clearly made that commitment to better health, and the results will certainly come with consistency and time,” Jackie said. 


For Dioselena, turning to IEHP made the “just right” difference. 

“IEHP is more than just doctor visits and medicine,” Dioselena said. “It’s about improving your whole family’s health together.”  


Now that’s a fairy-tale ending … and may this Inland Empire family live happily ever after!  


-IEHP’s Health Education programs are free for anyone in the community, not just IEHP members. The classes are available virtually and in-person (in both English and Spanish) at IEHP’s three community resource centers and at other community partners locations, like the First 5 Family Resource Center in Desert Hot Springs.