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Small changes can make a big difference

PaulaBy Paula Bowers-Sanchez

Hello Everyone! It’s Paula. For those of you not familiar with me, I’m a member of the Snake Clan and daughter of the late Mildred Bowers. I have lived on the Hollywood Reservation for most of my life. I will be writing a monthly column to share my opinions, suggestions and ideas, as well as answer questions about health/fitness, wellness and education. I am very passionate about bringing awareness to the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and what living a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and small changes in eating habits can do for you and your loved ones.

My mother passed away almost a year ago from complications brought on by different medical problems. She was an insulin-dependent diabetic, and her physical challenges made it difficult for her to have an active life. Sometimes I think I could have done more in the way of helping her live a healthier lifestyle, but if you knew Mildred, you know she was not one to follow orders!

Now, however, I have a chance to encourage others to make small changes that can make a big difference. Now, I don’t want to just sit back and watch. Now, I want to get involved and help in any way I can. Although I have not struggled with a major weight problem, I do have issues with the cycle of gaining and losing weight, pushing myself to exercise and trying to eat right. It’s a challenge, but I ask myself every day, “What do I want my son to learn from me today; what do I want to accomplish today?”

Another area I’d like to discuss is education. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body. But, we have quite a large number of students who do not make it all the way to graduation, and I want to help figure out a way to get all of you up on that stage to receive your diploma. And for those of you contemplating going back to get your GED – do it! Set your goals and go for it: no limits! You are in control of your destiny; no one puts limits on you but you.

My childhood years were not picture perfect. I was surrounded by alcoholism and substance abuse, but I decided that I did not want to go down that path. So, I graduated high school and went on to college where I received both my bachelor’s and my master’s degrees. We all come from similar backgrounds, so if I can do it, then so can you!

Watch for my next column, and please, if you have any comments or questions about health/fitness, wellness and education, please send them to me at

Paula Bowers-Sanchez is a Seminole Tribal citizen, an accomplished actress (film, television, theater) and vocalist who is a lifelong fitness enthusiast.

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