Click here for a pdf copy of the Summer 2015 CONNECTION Newsletter

Greater Fall River 
Health Update
July 1, 2015

Click here to see the 2014-2019 Action Plan

Click here for the video, "Fed Up on the South Coast"

 
A crew from Biszko Contracting Corporation began work on the Quequechan River Rail Trail Project during the last week of June, 2015 to construct the final two stages of the current path that begins at the Westport Town line along South Watuppa Pond. The project will and will run over the former railroad bed to connect with Britland Park and Rodman Street. "It's been a long time in coming, and I think once this project is completed it's going to be a lot of fun, stated Mike Biszko, owner of Biszko Contractors who are doing the work. " It's going to be educational and a great benefit to the City, the bikers and the walkers, so we're looking forward to having this completed very soon," he added. The project is being funded by the Massachusetts DOT and will consist of a ten foot wide paved surface with three foot grass shoulders, as well as plantings and a fence over each of the five timber bridges that will be constructed. Pedestrian-actuated crossing signals will be placed on Brayton Avenue and Quequechan Streets to permit walkers and cyclists to cross traffic safely. Click here for a 3-minute video & here for more photos.
The Fall River Youth Violence Prevention Steering Committee joined forces with the Community Youth Fest on June 27, 2015 for an event to celebrate a peaceful summer. Jeremy Lavoie and Jason Springer organized the event at Britland Park at which dozens of young people gathered for six hours of peaceful activities. An Instagram contest launched the event which included basketball, face painting, a photo booth and dodge ball games. DJ Sammy Clawz provided the music while a five-on-five basketball tournament ran for middle, high school, and an unlimited older ran until 5:00 p.m. The Southcoast Energy Challenge was on hand with information and an energy bicycle, and younger children were invited to draw posters of what they will do to keep the peace this summer. Click here for a 3-minute video of the event and here for photos of last year's festival at Britland Park. Click here for more photos and text describing the event.
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the founding of Community Psychology in Swampscott, Massachusetts in 1965, the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association) held its biennial conference at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Long time SCRA member and psychologist Dr. David Weed was invited to present a session on "Organizing a community-wide coalition to improve health" on the opening day, June 25, 2015. Citing the Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Prize that the City of Fall River won in 2013, Dr. Weed went on to detail the elements that have made Partners for a Healthier Community one of the strongest Community Health Network Areas (CHNAs) in the Commonwealth. Dr. Weed then invited participants, who came from such divers places as Los Angles, Chicago, Oklahoma, and Italy, to address their own unique challenges and to problem-solve with the other group members. Click here for a three--minute video of the opening remarks and here for more photos.
Fifty-five students from the Talbot Middle School who own bicycles were able to receive a free bicycle helmet at an assembly on bicycle safety put on by Mass in Motion Fall River and the Fall River Police Department on June 24, 2015. The session began with a dramatic entrance by Officers Richard Saraiva and John Ruggiero, followed by School Principal Jacqueline Francisco, riding their bicycles down the aisles of the school auditorium to the applause of the entire sixty-grade class. The Principal and the Officers then spoke about the importance of bicycle safety, following the rules of the road, and always wearing a helmet. The students were then invited onto the stage to receive their helmets and to be properly fitted. "This was a wonderful way to introduce students to safe cycling with plenty of positive role models," stated Mass in Motion Coordinator Julianne Kelly. The helmets were donated by the Fall River Kiwanis Club whose primary mission is to reduce head injuries. Click here for a 26-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text
Students from the Maple Gardens Family Development who attend the Letourneau Elementary School have an opportunity to join a "Walking School Bus" every day of the week throughout the school year, thanks to School Vice-Principal David Assad who leads the daily one-mile walks. "Students have an enjoyable social experience and get some much-needed exercise so they arrive at school ready to learn," states Assad. Walking to school has been a primary objective of Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard who organizes walk to school events twice a year at all of the Fall River Public Schools. "With so much attention on academic achievement, children's physical health is too often ignored as an essential part of learning," stated Picard. "This group, led by Mr. Assad, and a similar daily walking group at the Doran Community School led by School Safety Officer Brenda Racine, demonstrate that it can be done safely and with lots of participation from children," she added. Click here for a 5-minute video & here for more.
The Fall River Housing Authority teamed up with the Joint Tenants Council and the Career Center to hold a job and education fair at the Boys and Girls Club on June 22, 2015. Organized by Family and Youth Services Coordinator Joseph DaSilva, the event ran for three hours with with first hour open exclusively to veterans and recent high school graduates. The idea of a job fair comes from the Authority's commitment to help people find jobs and better their lives. People were on hand to help people write their resumes and to give interview tips and advice on what to wear. "We have over thirty employers here ranging from General Dynamics, United States Navy, Papa Ginos, SER-Jobs, Citizens for Citizens, Bank Five, and Roger Williams University," stated DaSilva. "We have several education institutions: Roger Williams, Bristol Community College, Rob Roy Academy, PTI, and New England Tractor Trailer, all recruiting to get people educated and in new positions," added Joint Tenants Council Service Coordinator Ed Gagnon. Click here for a three-minute video of the fair and here for more photos and text.
Residents of the Chor Bishop Eid Housing Complex on Quequechan Street in the Flint are enjoying the first harvest of vegetables from their community garden that is growing near the 54-unit apartment building picked by resident Katie Goldman who oversees the garden. It's wonderful to see people eating wonderful food that they had a hand in growing and without any expense to them," commented Goldman. The garden has been constructed with donations of wood, soil, compost and seeds from the Housing Authority, Partners for a Healthier Community, and other sources. Two raised beds were constructed two years ago with the help of now State Representative Carole Fiola and her husband, Ken, who did much of the original construction. The garden gives residents the opportunity to plant and raise their own fruits and vegetables, including beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions. The produce is shared among the residents of the complex, many of who are physically unable to work in the garden, and some is donated to community food pantries and soup kitchens. Click here for more photos and text.
Hundreds of adults and children gathered under the elms at Ruggles Park on a gorgeous June 20th for t he 2015 kick-off to the summer season of Greater Fall River Re-creation programs and activities. The free three-hour celebration offered music, food and plenty of fun activities for hundreds of people including a rock climbing wall, arts and crafts, games and prizes, face painting, bouncy houses, and the popular Wiggle Kids bouncy balls. A number of agencies offered information and give-aways to participants, and Partners for a Healthier Community offered their Soda-free information table along with giant bubbles. Mass in Motion Fall River arranged for a SRTA bus to demonstrate how to load bicycles on the bus for longer trips. Free pizza was provided by Seth Hockert-lotz of Domino's Pizza South Main Street who helped to sponsor the event. Click here for an eight-minute video of the event. Click here for the Herald News article. Click here for more photos and text.
Members of the Fall River Bicycle Committee organized a special ride on June 20, 2015 in collaboration with David Jennings of the Fall River History Club to visit several key sites in the City's history. The group began at Bristol Community College, where everyone could park their vehicles, and proceeded south on Elsbree Street and Eastern Avenue to the Maquis de Lafayette statue at Lafayette Park. Following a description of the key role that the General played in the American Revolution, local historian David Jennings guided the group further down Eastern Avenue to the Prince Henry the Navigator statue at the corner of Pleasant Street. After detailing the role of the Portuguese explorers in opening up the world to trade, Jennings took the group to Britland Park along the shores of the Quequechan River where he described the role of the river in developing the mills and the daily life of the mill workers. After a brief stop to describe the Revolutionary War Battle of Fall River at Gromada Plaza in front of Government Center, Jennings invited the group to the Lafayette-Durfee House on Cherry Street for a final lesson before returning to the College. Click here for more photos and text.
Hundreds of members and supporters gathered at the Venus de Milo Restaurant in Swansea on June 19, 2015 for the Coalition for Social Justice's (CSJ) Twentieth Anniversary Banquet and Awards Ceremony. The event was emceed by Carl Nilsson, Coordinator of Rise Up Massachusetts, and highlighted Keynote Speaker Ellen Bravo who directs the Family Values @ Work Consortium, a network of coalitions in twenty-one states working for policies such as paid sick days and family and medical leave insurance. The Ceremony included awards and recognitions of dozens of volunteers who have worked on this and other issues over the past year. Led by Executive Director Deborah Fastino and organizers including  Marlene Pollock and Dan Gilbarg, the Coalition for Social Justice is dedicated to building grassroots movement for progressive social change, rooted in low-income communities and communities of color that have been excluded from the economic benefits of the current system. Click here for a two--minute video of the session opening and here for more photos and text..
Mass in Motion Fall River Coordinator Julie Kelly. Senior Champion Volunteers Kathy Duclos, Kathy Lowney, and Laura and Richard Lopes organized a group at the Niagara Senior Center in the South End of Fall River to walk to Ventura's Meat Outlet on June 18, 2015. Part of a project funded by the Mass Council on Aging to explore ways to encourage walking among senior citizens in Fall River, the event included fifteen residents who walked to the market to purchase meat, fish and other items. The market is only four-tenths of a mile away but few had ever been there, and none had walked before from the Center. "It was awesome" remarked Nancy Gallagher. "They were kind; they were friendly; we got our gift certificate; this whole trip was awesome." Residents were offered a $5 gift certificate that they could use at the market any time, and some said they would definitely come back. It is hoped that the walk will inspire residents to do more walking to the market, either individually or in groups. Click here for an eight-minute video & here for more.
Agency providers spoke with parents and children at the final Family Fun Night of the school year at the Greene Elementary School on June 17, 2015. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard welcomed the audience and prepared them to participate in a program that engages them 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 sessions on nutrition by Saint Anne's Hospital Nurse Rose Couto along with a fun workout with Fitness Leader Soklim Chhean. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives of sixteen agencies including, BMC HealthNet, the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Child and Family Services, Children's Advocacy Center, Fall River Schools, Greater Fall River Re-Creation, People Incorporated, Saint Anne's Health, Southcoast Energy Challenge, United Neighbors of Fall River, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Soda-Free Challenge. Click here for a 31-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Mass in Motion Fall River Coordinator Julie Kelly organized a group of senior residents at the Doolan and the Bates & Tower Apartments in the South End of Fall River to walk to Amaral's Central Market on June 17, 2015. Part of a project funded by the Mass Council on Aging to explore ways to encourage walking among senior citizens in Fall River, the event included fifteen residents who walked to the market to purchase produce. Doolan Apartments are eight-tenths of a mile away and Bates & Tower three-tenths.. "Everyone had a great time," stated Kelly. "It was very enjoyable," commented Tenant Council Vice-President Farn Dailey who went on the walk. Residents were offered a $5 gift certificate that they could use at the store, but most purchased items in addition to that amount. It is hoped that the walk will inspire residents to do more walking to the market, either individually or in groups. Click here for a three-minute video of the walk and the residents' reactions and here form more photos and text.
Fall River and New Bedford social service directors and youth serving agencies were invited to a Summit at the Fall River YMCA on June 17, 2015 to learn about a new initiative undertaken by the South Coast Child Safety Task Force. This group, which includes representatives of the Children's Advocacy Center (CAC), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the District Attorney's Office (DA), the Inter-church Council, Southcoast Health, the United Way of Greater New Bedford, and YMCA Southcoast, has undertaken an effort to reach 5% of the adults living on the South Coast with information about steps that can be taken to protect children from sexual advances and abuse by adults and other children. DA Assistant District Attorney Rudman, CAC Executive Director Michelle Loranger, Fall River DCF Area Director Elaine Lucas, YMCA Executive Director of Education Kathy Treglia and CAC Education and Outreach Coordinator Nasha Macedo then introduced the group to the "Darkness to Light" curriculum that the Task Force plans to roll out.. Click here for a 22-minute video & here for more photos and text.
Twenty-five local and statewide panelists were invited by State Representative Carole Fiola to participate in a forum held at the Morton Middle School on June 16, 2015 to discuss the substance abuse crisis in Fall River and the Commonwealth. Panelists included representatives of the court and judicial system as well as those representing addiction treatment and prevention efforts. Joining Representative Fiola was Representative Elizabeth Malia of Jamaica Plain who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse as well as representatives of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Attorney General's Office, and U.S. Congressman William Keating. "People are afraid to talk about it," noted Michael Jackman, of Keating's office. Following remarks from the panelists, the public was invited to comment and ask questions. Click here for a two-hour-forty-seven-minute video of the session and here for more photos and text.
Old Colony YMCA is one of six Ys from across the nation selected by the Y of the USA to participate in the Pioneering Healthy Communities (PHC) initiative as a result of the work they have all done collaboratively in our community. Since 2005, 128 PHC communities have been funded to convene high-level representatives from local government, public health, and private sectors to focus on changing the environment in a way that reduces community barriers for health living. About fifty representatives of Southeastern Massachusetts organizations were invited to the "Bridging the Clinic-to-Community Gap" Listening Forum held on June 15, 2015. These stakeholders have the opportunity to create a community partnership roadmap for improving access to healthcare and, ultimately, help people live longer and healthier lives by addressing policy, system and environmental approaches to impact chronic disease. Click here for a 1-hour-47-minute video & here for more.
Students at the Letourneau Elementary School get a special treat every Friday after lunch. Known as Fun Friday, the 15-minute event invites students to move to a series of music videos produced by Kidz Bop, a brand of compilation albums featuring kids performing contemporary popular songs. The songs are performed by kids and are notorious for the heavy lyrical edits to make the songs more appropriate for children. "This is something that we started maybe way back in October to help the kids get more active during the school day and have some social skills develop during lunchtime," stated Vice-Principal David Assad. "We like to have the kids have some kind of fun during the school day, so we allow the children, in a structured manner, to get up and dance during lunchtime," he added. Mr. Assad was joined by Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard for the event on June 12, 2015 soon after she learned about them. "This is an absolutely wonderful way for children to be active and have lots of fun without taking any additional time during the school day," noted Picard. Click here for a 9-minute video & here for more.
Nepalese students, family members and supporters from around the Fall River Area gathered at Fall River Government Center during the evening of June 10, 2015 for a prayer walk in support of the victims of Nepal's recent earthquakes. Matina Tuladhar and Alija Kanki have organized an effort to raise money to repair a small schoolhouse in Nepal that suffered major damage in the earthquake earlier this year. "We are trying to make people aware of the conditions in Nepal," stated Ms. Tuladhar. "We are going to gather in the First Baptist Church and pray for the people in Nepal." She would like to raise $20,000 so the school can reopen and continue to provide education to the children. She is encouraging people to donate any amount, large and small, over the coming weeks, and donations can be make to "First Baptist Church - Nepal Earthquake Relief" and left at the Church office at 228 N. Main Street where the group gathered after the walk to see pictures of the earthquake. Click here for a 2-minute video of the walk and here for a 33-minute video of the service that followed and here for more photos and text..

 

Check out the

Downtown Farmers' Market!

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

Tuesdays, 3:30 - 6:30 p.m., June 30th to Sept. 29th

Free Parking in the City lot across the street!

 

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


 
  

Join Dr. David Weed and Registered Dietitian Amanda Raposo for a monthly Low-carb Support Group!

Psychologist David Weed, Psy.D. will join Registered Dietitian Amanda Raposo for informal discussion and support for those following or interested in low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss without hunger or to either control or prevent Type II diabetes.

The group meets every first Wednesday of the month at the Diabetes Management Program, Southcoast Health, 1st Floor of Durfee Union Building, 1, 283 Pleasant St. Fall River.

There is no charge to participate in the group. Participants are free to join the group at any point, though regular participation is encouraged. 

For more information, contact Dr. Weed at 508-324-2411 or by e-mail at drweed@cox.net.


 

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.