Click here for a pdf copy of the Spring 2017 CONNECTION Newsletter

Greater Fall River 
Health Update
June 1, 2017

Click here for the new WalkFallRiver web site

The Fall River YMCA held a birthday for longtime member Yvette Mancini who turned 100 on May 31, 2017. Yvette joined the Y when she was 13 years old and has been active ever since. She attributes her longevity to exercise and "good wine." Yvette has been a regular user of the pool at the Y, has led regular exercise groups for residents of the Borden East Apartments where she lives, and also has also been a Miss Senior Sweetheart contestant. Executive Director Frank Duffy emceed the event and called on Mayor Jasiel Correia II, City Councilors Ray Mitchell and Linda Pereira, Carolyn Burton and Yvette's son, Richard Mancini, to offer some recollections. Yvette responded in kind by reading a humorous list of things that happen as one ages and some recollections about using the Y pool when the facility was only open to women on Wednesdays. After she opened gifts and cards, the group all sang "Happy Birthday" before she blew out the candles on her cake. Click here for a 20-minute video of the first part of the event and here for more photos and text.
The Fall River School-Community Partnership held the last session of the school year in a series of educational presentations on May 31, 2017, this time on the Achievements and Experiences of Students in Massachusetts Whose First Language Is Not English. Youth whose First Language is Not English (FLNE) represent the fastest growing segment of the United States public school population. In Massachusetts, where one in five students is FLNE, the high school graduation rate for this key sub-group stands at just above 70 percent. The Center for Promise utilized multiple methods to analyze data from over 13,000 FLNE student across the state and in depth group interviews with Latinx students in five school districts to better understand the experiences that support or hinder FLNE student academic persistence. Click here for a ten-minute video and here for more photos and text.
The tenth annual Youth of the Year Awards were presented to six finalists and the winner at Mesa 21 on May 30, 2017. The award is presented every year by Partners and the Fall River Youth Violence Prevention Task Force to recognize youth who have demonstrated positive achievements and and have given back to the community. Judges and nominators were on hand as co-chairs Fall River Youth Services Coordinator Christian McCloskey and Greater Fall River Re-Creation Program Coordinator Annemarie Holly who read statements from each of the finalists on the theme of "Make It in Fall River", the City's new slogan. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia spoke for about fifteen minutes on the significance of the slogan in one's personal life and at the community level. The Mayor was the recipient of the Award in 2009. Durfee student Eleane Lema was selected as this year's Youth of the Year, and her name will be added to the plaque that resides at Government Center for all to see. Click here for a 23-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Children at the Citizens for Citizens Head Start Program on Robeson Street had the chance to visit the Seventh Street Community Garden on May 30, 2017. There they planted vegetables and then released two butterflies that they had raised from cocoons in their classroom. Head Teacher Sandy Peckham organized a trip to the Garden where children had the opportunity to plant squash, kale, green beans, and tomatoes. Mayor Jasiel Correia II stopped by for a visit and State Representative Carole Fiola came and read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to the children before they released their two butterflies. Following a chance to "get their wiggles out" with a song, the children enjoyed a pizza lunch before returning to their classroom. "The more we expose children to community gardens and encourage healthy habits, the more normal it  becomes and the more likely children will want the opportunity to grow food themselves," stated Peckham. Click here for a 19-minute video of the event and here for more photos and text.
Sponsored by the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, the Fall River Shannon Community Safety Initiative, Saint Anne's HospitalSouthcoast Hospitals, United Neighbors and Partners, this year's Peace by Piece event took place on May 26, 2017 at the Boys and Girls Club. The four-hour session offered an opportunity for students from B.M.C. Durfee and Diman Regional High School as well as participants in YouthBuild, to engage in a series of improvisation exercises led by members of The Bit Players of Newport, RI, that explored and expanded their interpersonal communication skills. At the end of the morning, groups were then invited to create a two-minute Public Service Announcement (PSA) with a message about an important issue that young people face. The day got participants engaged in getting to know one another in ways they never had before and learning about both verbal and non-verbal communication. Click here for a 31-minute video of the morning session, here for the group PSA presentations, and here for more photos and text..
Fall River Redevelopment Authority Chairman and City Planner Bill Kenney held a public input session with Mayor Jasiel Correia II in the atrium of Government Center on May 23, 2017. After people had the opportunity to look over large display boards depicting proposed plans for the Fall River waterfront and downtown areas, Senior Urban Planner Emily Keys Innes of Harriman described the plans and then solicited questions and responses from the audience. Joe Carvalho of the Coalition for the Responsible Siting of LNG Facilities and Green Futures suggested that the existing Weaver's Cove area be taken by eminent domain to be included in the plans. Retired city planner Al Lima asked about the possibility of daylighting the Quequechan River below Government Center. Patrick Norton of the Narrows Center for the Arts recommended cleaning up existing areas on the waterfront before anything else is done, and businessman Jim Rogers talked about plans for downtown development. Click here for a 33-minute   video of the session and here for more photos and text.

The Bristol Community College's (BCC) Civic Engagement Program is designed to enhance student learning through the integration of academic learning in courses or through participation in community service, while encouraging civic engagement, social responsibility, development of workforces and community leadership skills and the ability to reflect on the connection between civic engagement and academic achievement. Over 650 students participated during the 2016-2017 academic year in 39 courses taught by 28 different faculty members working with more than 75 community partners. Projects included students doing real-life SWOT Analyses for local community agencies and nursing students engaging a variety of populations in health and wellness activities. The Advisory Board met on May 23, 2017 following the annual award ceremony to share their thoughts about students, faculty and their community partners who are participating in Civic Engagement. Click here for a 21-minute video and here for more photos and text.

Over ninety parents and children from Fall River with little access to transportation were invited by members of the Church of Our Savior in Somerset to visit the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence on May 21, 2017. Some of the comments from those who went:

  • "We could not have done this without you. What a great day" (Valerie)
  • "My son has not seen the zoo before, Thank you" (Jenny)
  • "It's such a beautiful day to do this, thank you so much" (Maria)
  • " This is such a nice thing to do.  We are having such a good time" (Ann)

Partners Community Outreach Manager Jack Shipley organized the event with the help of volunteers from the Church and transportation funding from a Vela Foundation grant. Click here for more photos and text.

Investigators working for the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) and the MIT CoLab organized a meeting with representatives of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative office in Dorchester, MA on May 17, 2017 to review progress to-date on a research study that is tracking environmental conditions and health in nine Eastern Massachusetts neighborhoods. Voices for a Healthy South Coast has been collecting survey data in Fall River and New Bedford over the past year as part of the project. The study will track neighborhood changes across multiple domains to include economic, social, behavioral, environmental, and health outcome indicators. Taken together, it is expected that these indicators can help predict and track neighborhood change over time, and provide important new insights about the connections between the built environment, opportunity, behavior, and health. Click here for a 49-minute video and here for more photos and text.


The seventh Family Fun Night of the year took place at the Macomber Primary School on May 17, 2017. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard welcomed 141 parents and children to participate in a program that engages them in some healthy movement 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 with Chef Jessica Williams of Creating Healthy Solutions and one on moving to music with Fitness Leader Annemarie Holly of Greater Fall River Re-Creation. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives of a twenty-two agencies, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Sugar-Free Challenge. Click here for a 29-minute video and here for more photos and text.
The American Heart Association of Southern New England held their annual Heart Walk at Mass-Dartmouth on May 13, 2017 to raise much-needed funds and to give people a chance to get some heart-healthy exercise in the process. "My son, Blake, had open heart surgery when he was born, and he's going to be four, and he's doing fantastic" stated Michelle Eugenio. "So, I'm very happy for the American Heart Association for what they do," she added.  iHeart Radio’s Kristin Lessard,emced the program before the walk began around the UMass-Dartmouth Ring Road. Another heart walk will be held in downtown Providence on June 4th. Besides being great opportunities to get some heart-healthy exercise, the walks provide a vehicle for the Heart Association to raise much-needed funds for research and education. According to New Bedford Cardiologist Mike Rocha of the New Bedford Wellness Initiative,  the walks are also a great opportunity for those who have made lifestyle changes to celebrate and to encourage others to take the pledge to live healthier lifestyles. Click here for an eight-minute video and here for more photos and text.
Fall River Substance Abuse Grant Coordinator Michael Aguiar and Stanley Street Treatment and Resources CEO Nancy Paull invited a number of people to a four-hour session held at Blount Fine Food headquarters on May 12, 2017. This initiative was designed to develop a substance abuse strategic plan for the City of Fall River. "We have developed many plans for different grants targeting substance use over the years but have not worked on an overall plan inclusive of all the existing efforts many different groups and organizations are working on," stated Aguiar. Richard H. Dougherty of DMA Health Strategies and BasicNeeds US, Inc., who has led strategic planning engagement on substance abuse prevention with the City of Boston, was invited to lead the planning process. Click here for a  video of the morning session and here for the afternoon and here for more photos and text.


Mass in Motion Fall River Coordinator Julie Kelly and  SSTAR Community Prevention Coordinator Eric Andrade, both of whom are working on the "1422 Project" funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to improve opportunities for physical activity, invited staff from WalkBoston to Fall River to conduct a walkability audit around the Greene Elementary School in the Niagara Neighborhood on May 10, 2017. Fall River Police Department School Resource Officer Chris Gibson, Principal Lourdes Santiago, Fall River Traffic Director Laura Ferreira, Adjustment Counselor Robin Thorpe, St. Luke's Episcopal Church Pastor Rev. Susan Lee, Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard, Erin Reed of MassDOT's Safe Routes to School Program, and SRPEDD Director of Highway Planning Lisa Estrela-Pedro joined Eric, WalkBoston Project Manager Adi Nochur and Senior Project Manager Dorthea Hass for the audit. Together they reviewed some of the ways that walkability can potentially be improved and then walked through the neighborhood so they could make note of both problems and assets that affect the ability of children, parents and others. Click here for a 40-minute   video and here for more photos and text.
Seven Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize winning communities in the Northeast gathered at the UMass Center at Springfield on May 5, 2017 for their second learning/sharing session. The newly-awarded prize-winning community of Manchester, NH, joined Cambridge, Everett, Fall River and Lawrence, MA along with Bridgeport, CT, and The Bronx, NY, for the day-long session. Carrie Carroll of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute welcomed the group before Jose Wendel and Claude Jacobs of the Cambridge group introduced regional public health leaders and then divided participants into five repeating breakout sessions for discussions related to the current opioid crisis that each community is experiencing. Click here for a 70-minute video of the opening, here for a video of the breakouts, here for a  presentation of the Manchester Safe Station Program and here for more photos and text.
The sixth Family Fun Night of the year took place at the South Elementary School on May 4, 2017. Partners School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard welcomed eighty parents and children to participate in a program that engages them in some healthy movement 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 with Rose Couto, RN from Saint Anne's Hospital and one on moving to music with Fitness Leader Mike Ramos. Participants also had the opportunity to speak with representatives of a dozen agencies including the  BMC HealthNet Plan, Children's Advocacy Center, DCF Foster Parenting, Family Service Association, Katie Brown Educational Program, People Incorporated, Road to Healing, Saint Anne's Hospital, Samaritans, South Elementary Alphabest, Southcoast Health, WIC, and Partners for a Healthier Community covering its Sugar-Free Challenge. Click here for a 30-minute video of the event, here for a longer video of Ms. Couto's session and here for more photos and text.
The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program promotes healthy alternatives for children and parents in their travel to and from school and educates students, parents and community members on the value of walking and bicycling. About 6,000 students from all eight of Fall River's elementary schools, two community schools, all five of the middle schools, and the two high schools participated along with South Elementary School in Somerset in the Massachusetts Walk and Bike To School Day on May 3, 2017, by walking either to or around their respective schools. "This event encourages students to find ways to incorporate exercise into their daily routine, whether by walking to school or by getting regular exercise during some other time of the day," stated School Wellness Coordinator Marcia Picard who helped to organize the events along with school officials. Click here for a ten-minute   video and here for more photos and text.
The bi-monthly Community Partnership meeting organized by United Neighbors of Fall River invited two speakers to its May 1, 2017 meeting in the chapel at St. Vincent's Home. Executive Director Wendy Garf-Lipp introduced Emily Timberlake, Domestic Violence Specialist for the Southeast Region of the Mass. Department of Transitional Assistance and Cheryl Opper, Founder and Executive Director of Schools on Wheels Massachusetts, to speak about the services that they each offer. Ms. Timberlake described the support that she can offer to victims of domestic violence even when they are not eligible for specific programs. Ms. Opper described the Schools on Wheels program that educates children impacted by homelessness by providing academic support and one-on-one mentoring so children can reach their full potential. Both guests took questions and brainstormed ways of connecting their services with those in need. Click here for a 24-minute video of the presentation and here for more photos and text.


Healthy City Fall River Update is sent to over 4,000 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 To see all of the web pages describing Healthy City activities, go to In order to send announcements of Healthy City events or to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, contact the Coordinator at 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.