Click here for a pdf copy of the Summer 2016 CONNECTION Newsletter

Greater Fall River 
Health Update
August 1, 2016

Click here for the new WalkFallRiver web site

 
The Cambodian American Rescue Organization, Inc. (CARO) is a nonprofit organization that strives to raise awareness about the lively Cambodian culture in the Fall River community. CARO is operated by many dedicated volunteers from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds who share the common goal of enriching the local community. CARO held its first Cambodian Culture Festival at Kennedy Park on July 20, 2016. "This gathering is a milestone for our community as we advocate for peace and acceptance of diversity," wrote CARO President Ricky Tith. "We hope that this festival will be a platform for people of all nations to meet and create bonds of everlasting friendship and understanding," he added. The event featured traditional costumes, music and dance for over 100 people gathered in the park. Click here for an eighteen-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
In an effort to foster unity and to show the public the men and women behind the blue uniforms, Fall River Police Chief Daniel Racine invited the public to a "Police and Public Palooza" event at Britland Park behind the police station on July 29, 2016. Officers were on hand to meet with a nearly equal number of local residents to enjoy some free pizza and a variety of activities including three-on-three basketball, a bounce house, face painting and the chance for youngsters to try on police equipment, see the police dog, and pose for photos in the driver's seat of a police cruiser. "The reason for this event, with of all of the tragic events happening around the country, . . .we thought we should get together and support the good community policing, the good community relations that already exist here in Fall River, Massachusetts" stated Chief Racine. His remarks were followed by remarks and prayers by Chaplains Sgt. Silva and Cantor Wolberg and remarks by Mayor Jasiel Correia II, State Senator Michael Rodrigues and Representatives Alan Silvia and Carole Fiola. Click here for a thirteen-minute video of the event and here for more.
Fresh produce is sold every Saturday morning from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm, from June to November at Kennedy Park in the City's South End. Farmers from Berkley, Dartmouth, Dighton, Rehoboth, Swansea and Westport bring their crops to Fall River's two farmers' markets, one at Kennedy Park and the other at Ruggles Park. The season began with spinach, lettuce and even strawberries and later includes corn, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, potatoes, sweet potatoes, peppers, onions, melons, plums, watermelon, grapes, peaches, apples and much, much more. Rachel Goldsby and her mother, Sue, coordinate the two markets.Click here for other farmers' market locations. Click here for a 90-second video of the Market set to Spanish music and here for more photos and text describing the market
Carlos Cesar and members of the Flint Business and Neighborhood Associations organized another in a long series of free festivals in the Flint Neighborhood on July 23, 2016. The event was planned with support from local businesses, including major sponsorship by Phoenix Marketing, to give neighbors a chance to enjoy some good food, music and fun in the Portuguese, Brazilian and Cape Verdean tradition. This year's theme was "Pleasant Island" and included a giant tropical water slide as well as live Minnie and Mickey Mouse characters as well as free food and beverages. Music was provided by Thalia & Dalton of Somerset. The event included face painting, a dunk tank, a bean bag toss, an inflatable bounce house, and booths from local organizations on the block-long street that was closed off for the event. "It's 92 degrees outside today, but the kids aren't noticing anything with plenty of water for them to play in today," said Mr. Cesar. Click here for a four-minute video and here for more photos and text.
AHA! Fall River celebrated Fun and Games on July 22, 2016 with a variety of events including life size board games, four solid hours of musical performances, and artist alley, a Home Depot Kids Workshop, and a variety of dance performances including one by the Chakra Dance Troupe and one by the Dance Academy, The events are designed to help foster an invigorated arts and culture scene in the City. AHA! Fall River was formed in June 2013 in collaboration with the New Bedford AHA! and the Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. AHA! stands for arts, history and architecture. The organization held its first event on June 21, 2013 and has held nine events since then. The purpose of the organization is to develop collaborative relationships in order to expand and sustain arts and cultural programming in the two cities. Click here for a seven-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the event.
Mass in Motion Fall River received a visit on July 14, 2016 from WalkBoston Program Director Stacey Beuttell to review the wayfinding signage that's being installed throughout the center of Fall River. The signs are part of an effort to direct more walkers to the new Quequechan River Rail Trail as part of a new "1422 Project" funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health designed to improve opportunities for physical activity and to help people at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure to become more active. Southcoast Health Diabetes Management Program has already begun to use the Trail to encourage patients to walk. SSTAR Community Prevention Coordinator Eric Andrade and WalkBoston Project Manager Adi Nochur sought public input on the signs at one of two public hearings. Eric has also overseen the installation of sidewalk signs also directing people to the Trail. Click here for a one-minute   video describing the project and here for more photos and text.
Staff from the Women, Infants & Children Nutrition Program (WIC) were on hand on at the HealthFirst Family Care Center on July 22, 2016 to distribute Farmers Market Coupons to eligible recipients. WIC participants were in line early in the morning to get over 500 sets of free coupons. Participants were offered samples of fresh vegetables and were invited to return to watch one of several cooking demonstrations by the WIC staff in the classroom. "Cooking demonstrations are just one of the many educational opportunities we offer program participants," commented Community Outreach Coordinator Lisa Alves. The program provides women and children in the Federal Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and elders with coupons redeemable at farmers markets for fresh fruits and vegetables. Click here for a two-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
The Fall River Housing Authority held one of its two annual Community Resource Fairs for the residents of the the Sunset Hill Housing Development on July 22, 2016. Representatives of local health and human service organizations were on hand to display information, hand out literature and answer questions for residents of the development. The event included a drawing for two bicycles provided by BMC HealthNet Plan, a major sponsor of the fair. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard was available to talk with adults and children about the problem with consuming sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition to the table displays, the Southcoast Hospital wellness van  and the Fall River Fire Department safety van were also open nearby to provide free health screenings and information about fire safety. Click here for a three-minute video and here for more photos and text about the event.
Following more than a year of construction, a $2.4 million park renovation project was nearly completed in July 2016 at Father Travassos Park enough to open a splash park and playground. Flint Neighborhood Association President Carlos Cesar was pleased when the City opened these facilities despite the fact that some of the park has yet to be completed. A new grass soccer field will not open until later in the season to give the grass a chance to become well established. A new dek hockey facility has also been completed. The project is part of a $10 million in improvements to Britland Park and the addition of a new rail trail that was constructed through the middle of the nearby Quequechan River to tie into the existing bike path that runs along South Watuppa Pond. "I'm glad to come down and to see the kids having a good time with their families," said Flint Neighborhood Association President Carlos Cesar who played a big role in getting the park to become a reality. The project was also advocated by Fall River Mass in Motion along with the adjoining Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Rail Trail that was also recently opened in the Flint Neighborhood.  Click here for a video and here for more.

 

Kids on the Block is a nationally recognized puppet program that provides an unforgettable, educational experience.  The “Kids” teach children about disabilities and a variety of other topics important to children’s learning in today’s world.   Programs for all venues and age groups are available. The Fall River The Arc of Greater Fall River offers educational programs for about 5,000 children and adults throughout the Greater Fall River Area using Kids on the Block puppets. Presentations are offered in schools, libraries, day care centers, and a variety of other settings using funding provided by the United Way of Greater Fall River. Arc staff members Jeffrey Griffin and Libby Schap were on hand on July 19, 2016 at Kennedy Park to offer a Kids on the Block presentation to the children who were there to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) provided by Greater Fall River Re-creation established to ensure that children in needy areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer months that are comparable to those served under the National School Lunch Program. Click here for a 14-minute video of the event including the Kids on the Block puppet show and here for more photos.
Dozens of adults and children gathered in Lower Kennedy Park near the pavilion on July 15, 2016 to get everyone moving Designed to provide two hours of healthy activity for younger children, the Women Children and Infants (WIC) program's second field day did just that. With music provided by Sammy Rodrigues of Upbeat Entertainment, dozens of kids bounced on WiggleKids exercise balls and beat out tunes during a Drums Alive session that followed. Other played under a giant parachute, engaged in a clothing change relay race, created giant bubbles, learned some yoga moves, played with frisbees provided by the District Attorney's Office, and  who sponsored much of the event. Before the event ended with a four-year-old girl and a five-year-old boy winning a new bicycle donated by Benny's. "Though it was hot, everyone had a great time, and we finished just before a thunder storm began" stated WIC Community Coordinator Lisa Alves. Click here for an eight-and-a-half-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Fall River School physical and health education teacher Jason Springer offered the first of seven sessions of the Project ALERT curriculum to a group of young people at the Pleasant View Apartments on July 12, 2016. The Project ALERT curriculum was created and tested by the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. Developed over a ten-year period, Project ALERT addresses the pro-drug mindset of today’s teens and effectively increases their likelihood to remain drug-free. Through a series of comprehensive lessons, Project ALERT motivates students against drug use, cultivates new non-use attitudes and beliefs, and equips teens with the skills and strategies they’ll use to resist drugs. The same program is also being offered each week at the Father Diaferio Family Development. Both programs follow one of the daily Summer Lunch Programs. Click here for a 27-minute video and here for more.
Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Peter McCarthy, members of his board, and representatives of about a dozen Fall River organizations for a Community Conversation at the Club on July 14, 2016. The visit was part of a day in which the official met with the Fall River and New Bedford Chambers of Commerece and attended the opening of the new Sbrega Health and Sciences Building at Bristol Community College. The Conversation covered a wide range of topics and opened with the Lt. Governor asking four high school student who work as staff members of the Club about future educational and employment opportunities in the Greater Fall River Area. Then, as she went around the room, she asked people to express their concerns about a variety of issues related to youth, employment, and health and human services. Many commented about the central role that the Boys and Girls Club plays in the lives of young people in Fall River, many of whom do not have the family resources that can help them succeed. Click here for a video and here for more photos & text.
Mass in Motion Fall River arranged for the installation of wayfinding signage related to the new Quequechan River Rail Trail opening in the center of the City adjacent to the Flint Neighborhood. The project is part of a new "1422 Project" funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health designed to improve opportunities for physical activity and to help people at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure to become more active. SSTAR Community Prevention Coordinator Eric Andrade, who is working on the project with Mass in Motion Fall River Coordinator Julianne Kelly, and WalkBoston, joined Cory McCarty of Seaport Graphics to install several sidewalk signs directing people to the Trail. Additional signs will be mounted on poles directing people to the Trail and to other nearby destinations. The signs all designate the number of minutes that average walker will spend getting to the destination rather than a mileage estimate. Click here for a two-and-a-half minute   video of the installation. and here for more photos and text.
The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) received a two year planning grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to collect baseline data and design a longitudinal research study that will measure the impact of environmental conditions, particularly mixed-income, mixed-use, transit oriented real estate development (“TOD”) projects, on health in a variety of Massachusetts neighborhoods. The research study will track environmental conditions and health in neighborhoods targeted for investment in such TOD projects compared to environmental conditions and health in control neighborhoods with similar demographics, built environments and health outcome characteristics over a five- to ten-year period. The study will track neighborhood changes across multiple domains to include economic, social, behavioral, environmental, and health outcome indicators. Click here for a 25-minute video of the first part of the presentation and here for more photos and text.
The Greater Fall River Re-creation program kicked-off its annual Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) on July 5, 2016 and this year is including a variety of fun activities in addition to a nutritious lunch at no charge to any child who shows up. Free lunches are available to children 18 years of age and younger, Monday through Friday, from July 5th through August 26th. Administered nationally by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Massachusetts Department of Education, the program was established to ensure that children in needy areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during the summer months that are comparable to those served under the National School Lunch Program"We have all sorts of game equipment like whiffle ball and soccer balls at each of the parks to be sure that children get plenty of exercise along with a healthy lunch”, stated Summer Program Director Annemarie Holly. Click here for a schedule. Click here for a 3-minute video of a giant bubble chase event. and here for more photos and text.
As part of the statewide Mass in Motion Project, "1422 Project" funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, three speakers were invited to present their recommendations on how best to understand and work with large food retailers at a workshop held on June 20, 2016 at the Tower Hill botanic Garden in Boylston, MA. Mass in Motion Fall River Coordinator Julianne Kelly and SSTAR Community Prevention Coordinator Eric Andrade, who is working on the project with Ms. Kelly, suggested the workshop following some initial work that Eric had done with consultant Susan Phinney (known as "Phinney"). The two of them were joined by Michael Rozyne of Red Tomato and Lola Omolodun of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council for the half-day event. Strategies for building cooperation with large grocery chain stores to achieve some of the food-related goals of the 1422 Project were presented and discussed. Click here for a 12-minute video & here for more photos and text.
While most people walk or bike the new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail, the newly-created park is also an ideal location for kayaking or canoeing. Partners Executive Director David Weed took advantage of that opportunity and kayaked the length of the open river on July 1, 2016. "As fabulous as the views from the Trail are from land, the view from the water is even more spectacular," he noted. From the water lilies to the wildlife -- including birds, turtles and muskrats -- frequent the area, which has been untouched for over 100 years, is a genuine piece of nature right in the center of the City. "People who have had little access to the natural world are now able to walk a few blocks to escape the man-made world and enjoy nature," added Weed. The project  created a bicycle and walking path that runs over a former railroad bed to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street. Click here for a three-and-a-half minute video taken from the kayak.  Click here for more photos and text.
Walking along new Alfred J. Lima Quequechan River Trail offers the opportunity to view the natural world up close just by opening your eyes. Bike Fall River Chairman Brian Pearson took a walk on July 2, 2016 and used his camera to record some of the flora and fauna that lives in that remarkable space including  woodpecker, snails on a log, turtles and even catfish. "The diversity of plant and animal life along the path is incredible," said Pearson. "Do yourself a favor and check it out." The area, which has been untouched for over 100 years, is a genuine piece of nature right in the center of the City. The Rail Trail project created a bicycle and walking path that runs over a former railroad bed to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street. Click here for a three-and-a-half minute video of the River taken from the kayak. Click here for more photos and text.
WiggleKids, a non-profit organization located in the Swansea Mall, was thrilled to have received a Hathaway Grant this past year to use to help better health and wellness for some low-income Somerset families. The organization originally submitted to do a four-week healthy habit and fitness program at the Swansea Mall studio, but, with the collaboration and help of  folks at United Neighbors of Fall River and Partners for a Healthier Community, they were able to extend the grant to six events held both in Mall studio and out in the community that involved many resources for families in need. WiggleKids shows families very inexpensive and creative ways to move and have fun in any type of residence. The organization has re-applied for funding with an added element with the Somerset Council on Aging. Click here for more photos and text describing the project.

 

 

Healthy City Fall River Update is sent to over 500 participants in Healthy City Fall River, a partnership between the City of Fall River and Partners for a Healthier Community with a mission to improve the health status of all those who live or work in the City of Fall River. For further information about Healthy City Fall River, go to www.healthycityfallriver.org. To see all of the web pages describing Healthy City activities, go to http://www.gfrpartners.com/HealthyCity-related15.html. In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at drweed@cox.net. Agencies: please add this e-mail address or our fax number (508-324-2429) to your standard media notification list so we can cover your event on the Healthy City Update.