Click here for a pdf copy of the Summer 2014 CONNECTION Newsletter

Healthy City Fall River Update 

June 23, 2014

Click here to read about and submit final comments on the 2014-2019 Action Plan

 
Mayor William Flanagan and Representative Carole Fiola were on hand to kick-off he 2014 summer season of Greater Fall River Re-creation programs and activities at a three-hour free celebration of music, food and fun for hundreds of people at Ruggles Park on June 21st. Activities included a rock climbing wall, pony rides, arts and crafts, games and prizes, face painting, and carnival games. A number of agencies offered information and give-aways to participants. Partners for a Healthier Community offered their Soda-free table, and free pizza and refreshments were provided by Seth Hockert-lotz of Domino's Pizza South Main Street. The event helps people learn about City safety programs as well as the summer Lunch and Park program and other summer offerings through Re-Creation. Click here for an five-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
As part of the process of developing an Action Plan for the 2014-2019 period, Partners for a Healthier Community held a public input session at the Greater Fall River Re-Creation Kick-off to Summer event at Ruggles Park on June 21, 2014. This event was one of several opportunities that residents had to review the Proposed Action Plan and make comments and additions before it is adopted at the end of the month. The Action Planning Process began in September 2013 with the designation of eight short-term Task Forces mobilized around a subset of issues related to the health of the community which met to review the available data on both needs and assets, including 129 Data Sources and 30 Videotaped Key Informant Interviews, and were then be asked to come up with a list of no more than ten recommendations, Click here for a two-minute video of the event and here for more photos.
Members of the Saint Anne's Neighborhood Association gathered with other friends on June 21, 2014 for the opening of a brand new handicapped accessible playground at Kennedy Park. Playground Committee Public Relations Director Greg Nawrocki thanked all of the contributors, including the Mayor and City Council who passed a $375,000 bond for park improvements. "To see it completed is nothing short of breathtaking," stated Narwacki, "If one child who is unable to play on a traditional playground can now play with their friends. . . then, yes, we changed the world," Other speakers included Mayor Flanagan, State Representative Alan Silvia, Fall River Commission on Disability Chairman Bill Fontaine, and Fatima Vieira of BayCoast Bank. The Bank and the Commission donated $25,000 each toward the playground along with  numerous local organizations who also raised funds.Click here for a 16-minute video of the event & here for more photos.
Students Together Empowering Peers (STEP), part of the B.O.L.D. (Building Our Lives Drug-free) Coalition, organized a Together 4 Tolerance event at North Park on June 20, 2014, to celebrate diversity and tolerance with the youth community in Fall River. Dozens of young people came to hear free music by local groups, eat donated pizza, and enjoy a bounce house, a Foam Pit. Information on local services was provided by BOLD, the Stanley Street Family Health Care Center, CFC's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, People Incorporated, Senator Keating and Representative Kennedy's offices, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. "Everyone had a great time," stated STEP Advisor Tyler Araujo, who helpd to plan the event. Click here see a two-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Participants in the second Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge Plus event gathered at the home of All Generations Fitness in Swansea on June 14, 2014 for an hour-long workout led by fitness trainers Kevin Ouellette and Eric Menchi. The event is part of a weekly series that extends the 2014 Challenge through September 27th for a suggested donation of $2 per session. "We've been getting about 30 people each week," noted Challenge Coordinator Annemarie Holly. "This is a great way to extend the benefits of regular exercise throughout the summer," she added.Along with Greater Fall River Re-creation, Saint Anne's Hospital, and Southcoast Hospitals, the Challenge includes programs provided by All Generations Fitness, the Diabetes Association, Inc., Fitness Fusion, FitWorks, General Fitness. Greater Fall River Re-creation, Striking Beauties, TKO Fitness, Wiggle Kids, and the Fall River YMCA. The Challenge offers low cost opportunities for those who live, work or attend school in the Greater Fall River Area. Click here for a  four-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc. celebrated the year-long accomplishments of SCI AmeriCorps Volunteer Brian Moses and Life Together Fellow Philip York along with UMass-Dartmouth Intern Colby Bergeron and BCC Intern Zainab Abbas. The lunchtime event was held held at the home of United Neighbor of Fall River Executive Director Wendy Garf-Lipp on June 13, 2014. Mr. Moses served at the outreach and technology coordinator at United Neighbors and was principally responsible for publication of the MyFallRiver.org web site. Mr. York worked with the Greater Fall River Health and Wellness Coaliton to provide  homeless families in local motels with food and other essentials. Students Colby and Zainab worked on updating the Healthy Dining listings among other tasks. School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard honored their contributions with a poem that highlighted their time with the organization on a 4-minute video. Click for more.
Members of the Southcoast Worksite Health & Wellness Collaborative were introduced to Jason Colberg, DPT, CEAS, and Josh Clare, DPT, CSCS of PT Health and Safety Solutions at the June 12, 2014 meeting of the Collaborative held at Family Service Association in Fall River. As the PT Health and Safety Solutions web site states, their business specializes in personal health evaluation and education to give consumers the tools to prevent both acute injury as well as chronic disease. Chairperson Angela Bras introduced both of them to the group for a description of their services.  The Collaborative holds regular monthly meetings at a variety of locations, usually on Thursday mornings starting at 8:30 a.m. Each session begins with a thirty-minute presentation on a particular topic. Past meetings have focused on healthy eating in the workplace, ergonomics, CPR, and on substance abuse. Click here for a video and here for photos and text.
Senior citizens at the Niagara-Maplewood Senior Center had the opportunity to take a walk on the Watuppa as part of a Fall River Mass In Motion Healthy Aging Initiative Project to get more seniors walking. The Project began with two walks along the South Watuppa Pond Bicycle Path, one with the Flint Senior Center on June 5th and the second one on June 11, 2014 with participants from the Niagara Center. "We're starting by getting some ideas from seniors from the Center on how to encourage more seniors to walk," stated Fall River Mass In Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly. "The walk really stimulated discussion on what some of the barriers are and what motivates people to walk," she added. Newly-hired Healthy Aging Initiative Coordinator Eric Andrade joined the group and helped Ms. Kelly poll the walkers. Eric will be working over the summer with seniors at the Niagara Center and the Flint Senior Center to encourage walking on the part of those who attend the Centers on a regular basis. Click here for a six-minute video of the walk and here for more photos and text.. 
Staff of the SouthCoast Healthy Housing and Workplace Initiative (SCHHWI) Project invited trainers from The Institute for Health and  Recovery (IHR) in Cambridge to provide a day-long training at the YMCA Southcoast headquarters on June 11, 2014. The Tobacco, Addictions, Policy and Education (TAPE) Project on understanding tobacco/nicotine addiction and its impact on overall health and recovery from other substance use disorders. Project Director Janet Smeltz and Tobacco Education and Treatment Specialist Louise Katz  spent the day with SCHHWI staff members as well as another twenty people involved in cessation or related activities. SCHHWI was created in 2012 when members of Voices for a Healthy SouthCoast were granted a $1 million Community Transformation Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop smoke-free housing and worksites in the South Coast, Click here for a video of the meeting and here for more photos and text.
As part of the process of developing an Action Plan for the 2014-2019 period, Partners for a Healthier Community held a public hearing at Fall River Government Center on June 10, 2014. This event was one of several opportunities that residents of Fall River, Somerset, Swansea and Westport had to review the 59-item Proposed Action Plan and make comments and additions to the Plan before it is adopted at the end of the month. The Action Planning Process began in September 2013 with the designation of eight short-term Task Forces mobilized around a subset of issues related to the health of the community which met to review the available data on both needs and assets, including 129 Data Sources and 30 Videotaped Key Informant Interviews, and were then be asked to come up with a list of no more than ten recommendations, listed in order of priority. A comprehensive data assessment for the four-town area was published in January 2014, and additional meetings were then held in January, February and March with representatives of populations who are at greater risk. Click for more.
Members of the Fall River Bicycle Committee teamed up with Bike Newport for a trip along the Blackstone River on a clear, dry and warm June 7, 2014. The riders gathered in Lincoln,RI, and rode the trail along the Blackstone River, pausing at several of the falls along the way. "It was a picture-perfect day," reported Bike Fall River Chairman Brian Pearson, who organizes bicycle trips in and around Fall River for the group on most weekends during good weather. Bruce and the group are also active in support of the South Coast Bike Way, a route that is planned to go from Providence to Provincetown. The group is also advocating with Mass in Motion for more bike routes in Fall River. Click here for an article about bike safety, here for and article about commuting by bicycle, and here for an editorial in support of biking in Fall River. Click here for pictures of a South End history tour. Click here for photos of a bike history ride of the City's North End held over the 2012 Memorial Day weekend. Click here for more photos and text.
Members of the young adult group at Calvary Temple in the City's North End held a volleyball tournament on June 7, 2014  to raise money for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic later in the summer. Each member has to raise $1,500 to pay for their expenses, and the tournament was one of several project designed to bring in sponsor dollars. Under Associate Pastor Mike Montag's leadership, the group split into five five-member teams and played a round-robin of games to determine the winning group. "This was really a great way to bring the youth together for some heart-healthy exercise while raising some much-needed money for the trip," commented Rev. Montag who invited other groups who might like to use the volleyball court for their own activities to contact him. Click here for a two-minute minute video from the event and here for more photos and text.
The New Bedford Wellness Initiative is an effort to raise health awareness with the goal to help prevent disease and recover from illness through healthy living and not just medications. Dr. Michael Rocha has been leading a monthly wellness walk around Buttonwood Park on the first Saturday of each month since April 2014. The group headed off on its third walk on June 7, 2014, to the accompaniment of trombone, trumpet and guitar music on a gorgeous spring day. Over one hundred people joined the two-mile walk around the park which ended with the opportunity to participate in a yoga class led by Pam Teves of South Coast Yoga and offered by Laura Broekel and Catherine O'Berry from Down to Earth Natural Foods. The walks are open to anyone and are scheduled on the first Saturday of every month at 10:00 a.m. at the Buttonwood Park Zoo. Click here for a for a six-minute video of the walk and here for more photos and text..
Hundreds of people volunteered for a day of cleaning in all sectors of the City on June 7, 2014, more than a month after rain delayed the original April 26th date. Set in motion by Mayor Flanagan, Fall River Park Advocates, volunteers from neighborhood associations, schools, local employers and home owners joined City Department of Community Maintainence and Parks Department workers on a beautiful June day to pick up litter, rake and spruce up public areas. Park Advocacy Coordinator Sandy Dennis organized a number of volunteers who pitched in for the morning. Greater Fall River Re-Creation staff hosted a noon-time cook-out at Kennedy Park for all of the volunteers following the event that also included some heart-healthy dancing. Click here for a three-minute minute video from the event and here for more photos and text describing the clean-up effort.
Senior citizens at the Flint Senior Center had the opportunity to take a walk on the Watuppa as part of a Fall River Mass In Motion Healthy Aging Initiative Project to get more seniors walking. The Project included two walks along the South Watuppa Pond Bicycle Path, one with the Flint Senior Center on June 5th and the second one on June 11, 2014 with participants from the Niagara Center. "We're starting by getting some ideas from seniors from the Center on how to encourage more seniors to walk," stated Fall River Mass In Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly. "The walk really stimulated discussion on what some of the barriers are and what motivates people to walk," she added. Newly-hired Healthy Aging Initiative Coordinator Eric Andrade joined the group and helped Ms. Kelly poll the walkers. Eric will be working over the summer with seniors at the Niagara Center and the Flint Senior Center to encourage walking on the part of those who attend the Centers on a regular basis. Click here for more photos and text.
Participants in a community-based partnership involving New Bedford and Fall River and led by the City of New Bedford Health Department, the Southeastern Health Initiative for Transformation (SHIFT) Program, were invited by Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) officials to attend a Learning Session on June 3, 2014 at the Double Tree Hotel in Westboro, MA. The project is part of the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund (PWTF), a new, first-in-the-nation, $60 million grant opportunity created by the MA Legislature to reduce health-care costs related to tobacco use, hypertension, pediatric asthma, and falls among the elderly. The SHIFT Program will focus on two ZIP codes in New Bedford and Fall River with some of the highest incidences of these conditions in the Commonwealth. The partnership includes more than 25 different clinical, community and municipal partners. Click here for a 14-minute video of a presentation on falls prevention by Drs. Nancy Dluhy of UMass-D and Jonathan Howland of Boston Medical Center and here for more photos and text.
The Highland Park Neighborhood Association sponsored a 3-on-3 basketball tournament on June 1, 2014 at the new park facility located at Robeson Avenue and President Avenue in the City's North End. Part of an overall health fair that included the Southcoast Health Van and health specialists available, including a dentist, an audiologist and an opthomologist, to consult with participants. The tournament also offered six $1,000 scholarships to the winners from each of the City's three high schools: Durfee, Diman and Connolly. Children from the 4th through the 10th grade were eligible to participate. "It was a wonderful day for everyone in the community and for Fall River," stated Esther Charves, Vice-President of the Association. Click here for a 3-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text describing the neighborhood event.
Yajaira Medeiros of People Incorporated joined Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard to put on a Funderful Family Fitness Night at the Letourneau Elementary School on May 29, 2014. This program, similar to Family Fun nights, engaged students and their parents in some healthy fun while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Participants were offered a nutrition session by Chef Jessica Williams of Creating Healthy Solutions, a fun workout with Mike Ramos, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of agencies including the HealthFirst Dental Program, WIC, Mass in Motion Fall River, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 23-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.. 
Nearly 100 parents and children joined Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard at the Westport Elementary School on May 20, 2014 for the first Partners' Family Fun Night held in Westport. This program engages students and their parents in some healthy fun while learning about nutrition and a range of community resources that they can access to maintain or improve their health. Participants were offered a nutrition session by Chef Jessica Williams of Creating Healthy Solutions, a fun workout with Suzanne and Mike Ramos, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of fifteen agencies including Child and Family Services, Family Service Association, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, Katie Brown Education Program, People Incorporated, Saint Anne's Hospital, Southcoast Hospitals, Southcoast Energy Challenge, Time Exchange, United Neighbors, WICSouthcoast YMCA and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for the  video and here for more photos.
Over 6,500 students from all nine of the City's elementary schools, all three of the middle schools, and the two high schools were invited to celebrate the Massachusetts Walk and Bike To School Day on May 7, 2014, by walking either to or around their respective schools. Because of MCAS testing, some schools had to delay their walks. At the Silvia Elementary School, Physical Education Teacher Terry Mahjoory made a special day of walking in her classes by having students pose for photos with their feet in a circle and then viewing a series of signs related to walking as they walked the perimeter of the school athletic field. "Terry always does an extraordinary event to motivate the children about walking," stated School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard who helped to organize the events along with school officials. Click here to see a two-minute video of the event and here for more photos.

 

Check it out!

Fall River's new Farmers' Market location

at the corner of Columbia and Canal Streets across from the Santo Christo Church

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6:30 p.m., July 1st to Sept. 30th

Free Parking in the nearby City lot!

 

Locally-grown produce, crafts, cooking demonstrations and live music every week!

Click here for the schedule of all farmer's markets


 

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-related14.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.