Published On October 17, 2018 | Blog



Thanks to a HACFL scholarship, twenty youth who are residents of the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale properties were able to take part in the L.A. Lee YMCA Family Center’s Summer Camp and experience a variety of activities and excursions. Since the family center is a location for Summer Break Spot, the youth were able to get a free lunch and some healthy snacks throughout the day. The Good Neighbor Store (GNS) is a program where the youth take part in nutrition education and take steps towards changing the nutritional landscape of their communities at a grassroots level. Summer camp teens participated in the GNS Project with the Bass Brothers store where they got a chance to analyze, critique, and offer suggestions. Youth were also able to take part in other Healthy Eating and Physical Activity programming like YFIT where they got to exercise through recreational games. Youth enjoyed excursions throughout Broward and Miami-Dade County, including Marlin’s Day where they joined other YMCA campers and went to an exciting Marlin’s baseball game. They even made it on TV! Thanks to HACFL for making their summer an extra special experience!

Ms. Ayesha is a resident from Northwest Gardens II who was looking for a new hobby and a way to get more active and fit. Ms. Ayesha met the YMCA team during a canvass and learned about programs offered both on site as well as at the Y. Since she has joined, she has been an active member and enjoys all of the Y programs, from the chronic disease self-management workshops, the exercise

classes and special events like the Sex Olympics! Older adults have the most instances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and the Sex Olympics event aimed to destigmatize the conversation of sexual health with this population. Ms. Ayesha thoroughly enjoyed herself at this event! She even competed in the Sexual Health Family Feud game and won a prize for the knowledge she gained at the event!

There was also Ms. Marie who resides in Dixie Court Apartments. Ms. Marie is a woman who suffers from chronic illnesses and has dealt with chronic stress and depression as a result of circumstances in her life. For these reasons, she has enrolled in the YMCA Health Navigation (YHN) program to help improve her quality of life. With the advice and counsel of YMCA Community Health Workers (CHW) she participated in a Diabetes Self-Management Workshop, which aims to empower participants to be active managers in their health as it relates to diabetes. In one of the last sessions of the workshop, with tears in her eyes, she shared she would like to one day learn how to read and write. The Y team encouraged her to take steps to reach her dream of reading. She was informed about the YMCA Learning Empowerment Zone at Dixie Court where she can go to practice and learn the skill of reading and writing and staff gave her materials that she could take home to practice her writing. The CHW team ended that session with a plan to help her achieve her ultimate goal. By receiving guidance and a connection to resources from the YMCA Health Navigation program, by staying active both mentally and physically in Y programs, and by making new social connections through Y events and activities, Ms. Marie is blossoming and smiling again.

As the Y impact reaches throughout the HACFL communities, we are excited that we’re able to provide residents with employment opportunities as well. Ms. Melissa, who resides in Dixie Court Apartments, joined our team as a camp counselor for summer camp. Her work ethic and dedication to community work made her transition and become a YMCA Community Health Worker seamlessly! She now works in the Y Health Navigation program which aims to reduce the amount of super-utilizers of emergency services through one-on-one case management over the course of a few months. Her contributions to the team have been invaluable! Another Dixie Court resident who is actually a budding dietician, Holly, discovered us by way of a Diabetes Self-Management workshop flyer offered at the site. She called one day inquiring about whether she could sit in a class to gain experience for her internship. After meeting her, we were so thoroughly impressed that we offered her a position as a CHW and are excited to have her on the team.


Last year Hurricane Irma impacted families across the community leaving some without food, water, or even power for up to 2 weeks. To ensure residents were more prepared in the case of another hurricane, Calvin Williams, a representative from the Broward County Emergency Management Division, stopped by to talk about ways they could help the residents in case of an emergency. Residents at Dixie Court Apartments came armed with questions for the representative. The exchange proved to be a valuable experience for both the presenter and the residents as a candid conversation developed regarding the accessibility of emergency shelters to people who are differently abled. Calvin remarked that he appreciated the opportunity to talk to the residents as he was learning new ways the county could better serve all who reside within it.


The SUCCESS Squad program launched at Northwest Gardens IV – this is a program curated to offer residents and youth an opportunity to learn ways they can live successful lives through development of their character, careers, and social skills. Through a variety of activities, the youth got to ponder on their future and think of ways they can reach their goals. They also created their “plan B” in the case that things don’t happen the way they originally planned. The youth in the SUCCESS Squad program are also taking part in a community play, developed by our very own CHW, Ms. Sharon, called Sankofa. The play will be an original historical fiction on the development of the Sistrunk Corridor and the key leaders of the community.


On National Voter’s Registration Day the Y, in partnership with the Urban League of Broward County, canvassed the housing sites to make sure everyone was able to take advantage of their right to vote in the upcoming election. Approximately 450 doors were knocked on and received information on how to register to vote. Amongst those who registered on this day was a woman who lived at Dr. Kennedy Homes Apartments who was born in the United States and grew up in Alabama. When presented with the opportunity to register to vote, something that she had never actually done throughout her life, she rose to the occasion and filled out the application to register eagerly. She decided that after 85 years of not being registered, now was the time! In contrast, there was a young woman who had just recently turned 19, was also registered. She will be able to vote for the first time in the election come November. It is examples like these that show that through hard work we can help empower the community and the many different generations that reside within it.



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