In late 2007, the YMCA of Greater Providence convened a diverse coalition to participate in the Pioneering Healthy Communities (PHC) initiative.
Focused on two opportunities by implementing two unique, mobile programs:
Y On the Move - Based on the concept that there is no better way to get kids moving than by parking a playground in their front yards, Y On the Move brings unique, engaging activities to youth and families where they live, work and play
Fresh to You - delivers the highest quality, fresh fruits and vegetables to convenient locations and sells this produce to participants at substantial discounts. According to Research by Brown University, Fresh to You significantly increased fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income children.
2009 - present Approached by the Rhode Island Healthy School Coalition (HSC) and asked to implement the physical component of the HSC program, Y staff traveled to school districts throughout the state training teachers how to incorporate exercise breaks into the school day. To date - introduced these breaks in 12 school districts in more than 120 classrooms, affecting more than 130 faculty and 2,600 students.
The Y is currently working in collaboration with RI Department of Health and Olneyville Housing on the this initiative
Community stakeholders and residents were engaged in a community health assessment and a community improvement planning process
We’ve established the Olneyville Community Action Team, to determine the specific actions needed to improve the health of Olneyville and to work collectively to implement changes
Secured $52k to go directly to implementation of proposed community changes; specifically to impact opportunities for physical activity
Areas of focus are:
Healthy Places by Design – In RFP - DOH mandated YMCA of Greater Providence be a key partner for any municipality due to access to CHLI
The Y is a key community partner in the RI Department of Health’s Healthy Places by Design project in Pawtucket, North Kingstown and South Kingstown
The project focuses on strengthening land use, transportation and urban design policies and local ordinances that guide the decision making process for the built environment to be more supportive of health, particularly as it relates to physical activity and healthy eating.
The Y conducted CHLI assessments in all three communities and was the lead Community-Based Organization in both North Kingstown and South Kingstown. CHLI process is centered around the participation of community residents and stakeholders in assessing their own environment. This approach deepens the level of community engagement and authentic voice that residents and community leaders have within the assessment process.
Healthy Places by Design
As the lead CBO in North and South Kingstown, the Y has collaborated with each municipality to lead the community assessment and public engagement efforts. This has included:
Community Health Survey
Hosting Public forums
Hosting a design charrette on community health issues
Leading and supporting the formation of working groups that will continue to work key areas of concern after the grant has concluded
The four key areas of focus identified by both towns are:
Access to Healthy Food
Access to Recreation/
Walking and Biking
YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program
2010 – 1 class completed – 5 participants
2011 – 9 classes – 58 participants completed
2012 – 5 classes to date; 1 completed; 2 running; 2 upcoming (Feb. 21 & Mar 8)
We have a solid referral base (7 PC Practices referring – part of AAFP study); 2-3 other PCP’s referring a little more sporadically; Nurses from BCBSRI also referring
2 of the PC practices are federally funded health clinics – the majority of patients referred from these clinics are very low income; have seen a correlation between mental health; poverty and obesity. Transportation schedule key to attendance
Participants need to qualify for the program in two ways:
Readiness for change – this is the most difficult
As soon as the Rhode Island Department of Health received federal stimulus funds, the agency contacted the Y and awarded it $450,000 to take the lead and execute the Healthy Places by Design effort, which incorporates healthy community policies and local comprehensive planning and zoning practices to promote active lifestyles. Funding has also come from municipalities. In four years, the YMCA of Greater Providence leveraged its initial seed funding of $40,000 into $650,000.