Our daily lives and the neighborhoods we call home affect health in countless ways. In healthy neighborhoods, we feel safe walking outside, can access green space for recreation and physical activity, and we can purchase and eat healthy, affordable food. Healthy neighborhoods are free of abandoned housing which attracted crime and are now places with trusted neighbors who can rely upon and support each other.
Over the years the Health Foundation has supported grassroots and asset-based efforts to improve the physical, social and economic environments of neighborhoods and promote new opportunities for healthy living. Grantees and their partners have launched their health improvement projects and engaged neighborhood residents, completed an asset-based assessment of their community, and carried out large and small-scale projects in their neighborhoods. Grantees have also received support from the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at Northwestern University.
Project HOPE (Healthy Outcomes through Participation, Education, and Empowerment)
In the Project HOPE neighborhood, a new resident-built playground, walking and biking trail, produce stand, and community garden are beginning to create a new context for health in Northeast Rochester. Residents both young and old are increasingly engaged in health-promoting activities in the public spaces they have worked so hard to transform. Here, abandoned houses are being demolished and block clubs are promoting neighborhood unity. Project HOPE has improved their neighborhood in collaboration with local churches, universities, agencies, and city government. Project HOPE was able to secure $184,500 in funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and $113,999 from other partners. The City of Rochester contributed $37,000 for the creation of Conkey Corner Playground.
Project STEPS (Seneca Towns Engaging People for Solutions)
This project takes place in southern Seneca County, including the towns of Covert, Lodi, Ovid, and Romulus. The residents in these areas recognized that the distance between communities can lead to isolating and sedentary lifestyles, especially for elderly and low-income individuals. Many residents have participated in Resident Health Promotion Projects in which they design and implement small-scale health projects themselves to improve some aspect of community health and well-being. Residents in Project STEPS have also organized around conservation of natural resources and wildlife. They have partnered with agencies such as the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency which expanded the South County Transportation Corps that provides rides for residents who need access to health-related appointments and destinations. Project STEPS has secured in-kind donations of more than $14,000 from local businesses for Community Garden Projects, and additional funding such as a Catholic Campaign for Human Development Grant of more than $2,000 to establish a Lodi Food Pantry in 2015.
Project SOAR (Strengthening Our Area Resident) Galen-Savannah Neighborhood Health Improvement Project
The Wayne County towns of Galen and Savannah, including the Village of Clyde and hamlet of Savannah, are the sites for this initiative. Project SOAR has empowered residents to work together and collaborate with organizations, businesses, and institutions to improve the health of the community. Resident-driven projects are helping to: improve social and physical health through increased access to physical activity; improve economic health through art, history and eco-tourism; and to create Healthy Spaces through Complete Streets and beautification of public spaces. In 2018, the Governors Empire State Trail initiative will begin work on the Galen-Savannah Erie Canal Trail section to help improve economic health through eco-tourism by attracting cyclists to downtown Savannah. This resident-driven effort has leveraged a $250,000 State grant to re-deck a bridge on the Erie Canal Trail gap in Galen.
Residents of the Village of Dundee and the Towns of Barrington and Starkey led a health improvement project that changed the physical, social, and economic environments of the community. Click here to learn more about this project.
Residents of the Bridges to Wellness neighborhood worked to create a fresh image for their Northeast Rochester neighborhood as a beautiful and welcoming place to live.
COACH worked to improve neighborhood health and safety and provide positive and healthy work/life opportunities for youth and adults.
Resident Initiative for Sustainable Engagement (RISE) RISE will take place in the Marketview Heights.
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