HACFL Success Snapshot April to June 2017

Published On November 16, 2017 | Neighborhood News



April to June 2017


During this quarter, several key events were held to engage residents not only to the community gardens, but also to connect them to health and nutrition as it relates to the fresh greens and herbs found on site. These special Tea Time events were held at Dixie Court, Northwest Gardens I, and Dr. Kennedy Homes as well. The garden leaders, volunteers, and YMCA Community Health Worker staff assisted by picking some of the herbs and setting up a special atmosphere for residents. The residents showed up with their Sunday best attire and special hats while the space was decorated with lovely tablecloths and décor. Special healing herbs were brought and a discussion about how the herbs can heal, key aspects of nutrition for various health concerns, and other natural remedies were shared. Participants spent time tasting teas, dancing and enjoying a truly healing experience for all. Residents were also impressed by what was offered at the gardens and expressed interest to come out and see the greens for themselves.

The garden leaders also came up with another special garden event held at Northwest Gardens III community garden – a “Veggie Hunt.” This was a special spin on a traditional Easter Egg hunt where eggs were hidden in the gardens amongst the greens and children were to look for the eggs. Each egg had a picture of different vegetables found in the gardens – while there were also a few hidden “golden eggs” which offered an extra special surprise. As the eggs were turned in, bags of freshly picked vegetables were shared with the children along with a discussion on healthy eating. Children of various ages attend and all enjoyed the morning fun. Garden leaders spent a lot of time finding special ways to further connect the residents to the gardens while offering knowledge and health at the same time.

During June we also began the Summer Break Spot program at Dixie Court, Northwest Gardens II/IV and at Suncrest Court. This program is in partnership with various entities including Meals on Wheels and the Federal Department of Agriculture to provide free meals to youth and children during the summer out of school time. The YMCA Community Health Worker team received the meals and ensured children got their lunch daily at each location. At the same time, we also partnered up with Common Threads, an organization that provided free healthy cooking classes and nutrition education weekly at each of the three locations. The children and youth all truly enjoyed the cooking classes and expressed they couldn’t wait until the following week for the next lesson. The program also included YFIT, the YMCA exercise program for youth and children, that was offered by certified YFIT staff with the goal of offering youth and children physical activity at least twice a week. Lastly, the YMCA team offered a Learning Empowerment Zone with literacy training –this was offered with special games and speakers to make sure kids had fun but still learned something over the summer.

Families, youth, older adults and teens also enjoyed various different kinds of community engagements over the summer months. Movie Nights shown at the Megaphone, as well as at each of the housing properties offered movies such as Queen of Katwe, Ruby Bridges, Birth of a Nation, Collateral Beauty, Joyful Noise and other educational yet inspirational films and movies. After each film, an open discussion was held to talk more about the major themes brought up. Ruby Bridges offered insight into the experience of racial justice for youth during the early era of desegregation while Birth of a Nation offered an opportunity for older adults to connect on memories and lived experiences. “I really got to thinking about what we been through all of these years. To see where we are now and how important it is to share with the young people,” commented Dixie Court resident, Ms. Luvonia, during the film discussion. During one event, the Dixie Court residents were shown the documentary, Unnatural Causes, which documents issues of health inequity in low-income communities of color. After the screening, the discussion focused on how their community has been impacted over the years from institutional bias and racism and furthermore, how they can continue to learn how to overcome these challenges. Residents shared about how valuable the learning was from the documentary and how they had not considered how this racial bias effected their individual and overall community’s health. The residents also spent a good amount of time engaged in key LURA required events. One key event was the job training sessions where staff assisted residents in hands-on computer literacy training. The team spent time demonstrating to a group on a big screen on how to set up an email, how to search for jobs and other resources on the internet. These events have all made residents continue to feel connected and empowered to live heathier lives.

Submitted by:
Emilia M. Solano
Director of Health Equity and Community Impact
Health Equity and Community Impact

900 SE 3 Avenue, Suite 300, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
E esolano@ymcasouthflorida.org W ymcasouthflorida.org
O Facebook.com/YMCASouthFlorida | Twitter.com/ymcasoflo

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