In 2007, a group of teens at the Center began the Health to Know Committee (H2K). They identified health problems in the Crotona section of the Bronx and decided to focus on the health crisis around diabetes and obesity. For two years they worked with youth and families at the Center to help families make healthy decisions. They told people to “Eat one more Fruit and Vegetable each Day”, they held a health fair, they ran a Walk for Health and the teens received training through many sources including Hunter College Health Equity Project. The Center established a “Zero Tolerance for Crappy Food” policy to support their effort and began serving meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat milk. Children grew their own food at a local community garden over the summer and the Center sponsors a Farmers Market in the neighborhood. Once we get our kitchen certified by the DOH, community gardeners will be able to make value-added products at the Center out of food that they grow. We continue to try to find ways to promote eating healthy food and regular exercise.
Outcomes for the Community
Children in the after-school program eat healthy food every day and participate in fitness activities at least twice per week.
Hundreds of families purchase healthy food from the Farmers Market.
20 children learned to grow food and ate the food they grew.
The staff of the Center are aware of the health crisis in the community and are working together to promote and increase good health and healthy decisions.
Teens at the Center have a leadership role in addressing a community health crisis.
The Center is developing ways to increase access to healthy food, encourage healthy choices and increase education for the broader community.
There are 5 components of the Mary Mitchell Health Initiative:
Healthy Lifestyle Policies
No junk food during events, take the stairs and no Smoking near the building.
Workshops, Daily fitness class and healthy meals.
Family Health Challenge
An eight-week program in partnership with CIR to promote: water, low-fat milk, fruits/veggies, whole grains, right portions, eating at home and daily exercise.
Youth Leadership Fitness
Annual Walk for Health and Healthy Tremont.
Fresh produce to purchase at La Familia Verde’s farmers market and La Canasta.
Hunter College Health Equity Project provided training for youth. The NY Botanical Garden provided supplies and curriculum for our gardening activities. NYC Land Trust provided space in the garden. La Familia Verde provided management for the Farmers Market. Just Food provided assistance for the Farmers Market and a VISTA intern. The NYC Department of Health provide statistics and training for the children and staff of the Center. Montefiore Hospital and St. Barnabas Hospital provided information about making health choices. The Health Alliance provided staff for a community meeting about health. Cornell Cooperative Extension provided staff training.