Click here for a pdf copy of the Fall 2013 CONNECTION Newsletter
Click here if you would like to join one of eight Task Forces who will work on the 2014-2019 Partners for a Healthier Community Action Plan
|Participants in each of eight Community Needs and Assets Assessment Task Forces began meeting in late September to begin putting together preliminary recommendations for the 2014-2019 Action Plan for Partners for a Healthier Community, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health designated Community Health Network Area of Fall River, Somerset, Swansea and Westport. These groups of between five and twenty people have been convened to review the available data on both needs and assets and will then be asked to come up with a list of no more than ten recommendations, listed in order of priority. Additional public meetings will be held in early 2014 with representatives of the three towns of Somerset, Swansea and Westport. These lists will be presented at a Community Health Assessment Forum in March where representatives of all eight Task Forces will convene to present their findings. Click here for more photos and text.|
|Staff and volunteers from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA) and United Neighbors of Fall River gathered at St. Luke's Episcopal Church on November 23, 2013 to assist immigrants complete their applications for U.S. citizenship. Eligible applicants who had immigrated from Brazil, Portugal and the Azores, Cambodia, and Central America came to the clinic from all parts of Southern New England. Volunteers, many of them UMass-Dartmouth School of Law students, worked with applicants to ensure that all of the necessary forms were completed with appropriate documentation. "This is part of a statewide and nationwide campaign to make the citizenship process more accessible to immigrant communities and especially low-income communities," noted MIRA Citizenship Program Coordinator Julia Schuseter. Though the application fee is currently $680, a portion of the fee can be waived with proper documentation of low-income status. Click here for a 90-second video and here for more photos and text..|
|Residents of Ships' Cove Apartments had the opportunity to have their blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and blood sugar checked by staff from the Southcoast Hospital Cardiovascular Prevention Program on November 22, 2013. This program, which has been operating for the past eleven years, has given thousands of South Coast Area residents the opportunity to learn the early signs of cardiovascular disease and to get valuable referral information that can help to reduce the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack or stroke. NHP Foundation Residential Services Coordinator Pam Anderson-Livingston brought the team to the large residential facility that houses hundreds of low-income persons, many of whom do not see a physician on a regular basis. This is part of an on-going effort to bring resources to the people who live in this building. Click here for a brief video about the benefits of the Cardiovascular Prevention Program and here for more photos and text.|
|Members of the SouthCoast Healthy Housing and Workplace Initiative (SCHHWI) Leadership team inducted nine former smokers into the Ex-smokers' Hall of Fame at White's Restaurant on November 21, 2013, the date of the Great American Smoke-Out. The event opened with a renditon of America The Beautiful" by the South Coast Community Chorale before YMCA Southcoast Vice President of Operations and VOICES for a Healthy SouthCoast Co-coach Nancy Bonell and SCHHWI Project Director welcomed everyone. Following comments by Partners for a Healthier Community Executive Director Dr. David Weed, VOICES Co-Coach Donna Querim of the Southcoast Cardiac Prevention Program presented "Tar Wars" about the harm that smoking causes.A new video about SCHHWI was also aired before the program ended with awards given to each inductee and to New Bedford Interchurch Council's Rev. David Lima as the Honoray Wellness Champion for his recent weight loss of nearly 100 pounds. Click here for a one-hour video and here for more photos.|
|The Fall River Homeless Service Providers Coalition held its annual candlelight vigil on the steps of St Anne Shrine on November 20, 2013 in recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. The event highlighted the increasing numbers of people seeking food assistance and shelter in the City over the past year. Inspirational stories were offered by four people who themselves experienced homelessness and received assistance from the many services in the City. Led by Mary Camara of the Community Development Agency, the program also included singing by Kate Marin and Maddie Keyes, a statement by Mayor William Flanagan, and an inspirational message by Soloman's Porch Pastor Tom Mello. A final prayer was offered by Rev. Jeremi Colvin of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Spirit. Shelter is available to homeless individuals through the First Step Inn on North Main Street and overflow volunteers starting in January. Click here to see a video of the event, including Kate Marin and Maddie Keyes leading the group in song, and here for more photos.|
|Over 200 parents, children and providers joined Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard at the Spencer Borden Elementary School in Fall River for a Family Fun Night on November 20, 2013. 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 education role-play by Southcoast Hospitals Dietitian Amanda Raposo and Cardiovascular Nurse Donna Querim, a fun workout with Suzanne Ramos, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of over twenty agencies including the AT&T Mobility Store, BMC HealthNet Plan, BOLD Coalition, Early Childhood/Family Community Engagement, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, Child and Family Services,and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for an 11-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.|
|The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth LeDuc Center for Civic Engagement presented its Annual Service Showcase at the Marine Museum in Fall River on November 19, 2013. The event featured the Fall River City of Service presentation, a panel on "Volunteerism as a Pathway to Employment", the Southcoast Volunteer Superstars, and the SouthCoast Community Service Recognition Awards. Local organizations that were recognized included Our Sister's School, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, Southeastern Massachusetts Time Exchange, United Neighbors of Fall River, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, and the Veteran's Transition House. The panel on volunteerism was presented by Lindsay Snyer of the MASS Service Alliance, Mariano Pimentel of Bristol County Savings Bank, Linda Quinn of the United Way of Fall River, and Dr. Shannon Jenkins of the UMass-Dartmouth Political Science Department. Click here for more photos and text describing the event..|
|The third season of the Winter Farmers' Market opened on November 16, 2013 at Re-Creation located at 72 Bank Street, Fall River. The event included the Nuevo Duo band playing live music and eight vendors, including Charlie Peixe of Paradise Hill Farm in Westport and Mary Merhi of Quansett Gardens in Dartmouth along with a variety of crafts vendors. "This is a great opportunity for people to shop for gifts for the holidays along with a chance to purchase some locally-grown produce," stated Market Manager Brittany Bertone. "Our next event will be on December 14th and then on every second Saturday until April," she added. Ms Bertone will be available each week to exchange EBT SNAP benefits for tokens that can be used with a number of the farmers at each of the markets. Click here for a brief video and here for more photos and text describing the session.|
|The Greater New Bedford Allies for Health and Wellness (GNB Allies) held its second Health Equity Summit at the Fort Taber Community Center on November 15, 2013. Allies Chairperson Barbara Asksen welcomed about fifty people to the four-hour gathering before Kerry Mello of Southcoast Hospitals introduced Kikki Burnett of the American Heart Association who gave the keynote address. The group who crafted Allies' Resolution to Promote Health Equity then read the document. The presentations concluded with a panel introduced by Southeast Area Department of Public Health Regional Director Ron O'Connor that included Ms. Kerry, New Bedford School Superintendent Dr. Pia Durkin, Inter-Church Council Executive Minister Rev. David Lima, Immigrants' Assistant Center Director Helena DaSilva Hughes, and New Bedford Housing Authority ROSS staff member Maria Mojica. The program conclued with small group discussions and lunch. Click here for a two-hour video of the Summit and here for more photos.|
|The Diabetes Association Inc., a program of People, Incorporated collaborated with Fellowship Health Resources to celebrate World Diabetes Day at PI's headquarters on South MainStreet, on November 14, 2013. Representatives of a number of agencies and vendors were on hand to provide information about their services, and Adult Services Coordinator John Quintas, who organized the event, demonstrated how to make a healthy fruit smoothie for the assembled guests. "Our goal today is to provide in the community with information about what the Diabetes Association and our partners are doing for them in the community," stated Katje Fuson, Director of Community, Child and Family Program Services at People, Incorporated. Staff and clients from Fellowship Health Resources were there from much of the morning asking questions and learning about the disease and its treatment. Saint Anne's Hospital certified diabetes educator Rose Marie Couto, RN, CDE, was also available to help people understand how to control their blood surgar. Click here for a short video of the event and here for more photos.|
|About seventy-five parents, children and providers joined Partners School Wellness Coordinator at the Kuss Middle School for a Family Fun Night on November 7, 2013. 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 education role-play by Southcoast Hospitals dietitian Amanda Raposo, a fun workout with Suzanne and Mike Ramos, as well as the chance to speak with representatives of agencies including the AT&T Mobility Store, BMC HealthNet Plan, BOLD Coalition, CFC Family Planning, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, Child and Family Services, Family Service Association, HealthFirst Dental Program, Katie Brown Educational Program, People Incorporated, Time Exchange, United Healthcare, United Neighbors, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 14-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.|
|Local professionals and community advocates attended the Annual Breakfast meeting of the Greater Fall River Child Protection Council (CPC) at White's Restaurant on November 6, 2013. Awards were given to Boys and Girls Club Executive Director Peter McCarthy and HealthFirst Family Care Center CEO Julie Almond. A special award was given to Linda Hennessey of HealthFirst for her advocacy on behalf of children. The keynote presentation on Food and Nutrition Tips to Prevent Childhood Obesity was given by Kathy Ireland of the Boston Medical Center. Formed in 1976 as a project of the Clinical Social Work Department of St. Anne's Hospital, the Child Protection Council deals with issues and problems related to the network of children's protection care. The Council also provides cash assistance to single parents in need through Gammons funds. Click here for a video of the awards presentation, click here for a video of Ms. Ireland's presentation, and click here for more photos and text..|
|Over 100 officials, board members, volunteers and people involved in the project assembled in a tent behind the Fall River YMCA on November 6, 2013 to celebrate a groundbreaking for the construction of a revitalized building. The existing century-old facility on North Main Street will be undergoing a $10 rennovation over the next year thanks to the contributions of dozens of donors, including a $1 million donation from the Earle P. Charlton, Jr. Charitable Fund, a $4.5 million community fundraising campaign and about $5.5 million in new market and historic tax credits.Speaking about the decision to rennovate the existing building vs. constructing a new facility elsewhere, YMCA Southcoast CEO Gary Schuyler stated "we felt that it was a great anchor for this end of downtown and the downtown business district and also that it provided valuable services to the immediate neighborhood." Construction is expected to be completed in January 2015 and will include two floors dedicated to healthy living and youth development and a fourth floor dedicated to an education achievement center. Click here for a video of the ceremony and here for more photos..|
|Members and friends of NAMI Greater Fall River gathered at the Corrigan Mental Health Center on November 4, 2013 to learn about NAMI's Hearts and Minds Program, an education wellness initiative promoting the idea of wellness in both mind and body. The program focuses on medical self advocacy, smoking cessation, substance abuse and alcoholism, healthy eating, and exercise. NAMI president Brenda Venice encouraged family members to support healthier choices at home for their mentally ill family member, including regular exercise. She encouraged looking into joining the upcoming Greater Fall River Fitness Challege either individually or as a team. Partners Executive Director David Weed also told family members about the nutrition education that is available through the Challenge and smoking cessation services at SSTAR and HealthFirst. Click here for more photos and text describing the session.|
Don't miss the next Partners'
Winter Farmers' Market
Saturday, December 14th
at Re-Creation, 72 Bank St.
1:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Featuring local produce and crafts!
The Fall River Police Department is currently recruiting and accepting applications for volunteer Auxiliary Police Officers.
Anyone interested in volunteering are requested to contact Deputy Police Chief Charles J. Cullen, Commander, Auxiliary Police Division, at telephone 508-676-8511, extension 173, for information. Applications will be accepted until January 31, 2014.
Click here for the full press announcement.
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-related13.html. In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.