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More than half of all deaths in Mecklenburg County are due to chronic disease conditions. Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners approved funding for grassroots community initiatives in Mecklenburg County that benefit communities through a shared sense of collective action to create health change.
Community organizations applied for the grassroots funding for small-scale programming and capacity-building resources. Twelve awardees were chosen to initiate new programs or increase sustainability from last year's initial programs. These organizations addressed chronic disease prevention and/or management in communities experiencing health disparities in Mecklenburg County Public Health (MCPH) Priority Areas. These areas are linked with higher rates of chronic diseases, infectious diseases, and deaths related to these conditions.
The 12 awardees focused on projects that expand access to physical activity, encourage healthy eating, and offer multiple opportunities to monitor and boost physical and mental wellness among their clients, customers, and stakeholders. The awardees moved quickly and decisively to implement their plans and utilize the funding during the spring and summer. More than 5,550 residents have greater opportunities to pursue healthier lifestyles, and our partner organizations have enacted 23 changes that impact their policies, systems, or environments that make it easier for clients and stakeholders to make healthy choices.
Health disparities are preventable differences in disease, injury, and opportunities to achieve good health. Race or ethnicity, sex, age, disability, socioeconomic status, location, and other factors contribute to a person's ability to avoid chronic disease and stay healthy.
Anuvia Prevention and Recovery Center
Funding supported yoga instruction and the purchase of 158 wellness journals for individuals to engage in meditative journaling. These mind-body approaches have been shown to support substance use recovery and relapse prevention.
Arthritis Patient Services
Funding supported the certification of 10 instructors for GERI-FIT and FIT & STRONG, evidence-based fitness programs for older adults. In addition, tablets were purchased so that individuals could maintain connections with families enrolled in Arthritis Services programming.
Gryphon Group Advisory and Consulting, LLC
Funding supported jusHEALTH, a 3-day Afrofuturist symposium, and pop-up events centering on complete well-being care. The program engaged 479 individuals in mindfulness sessions, Kemetic yoga classes, free blood pressure and diabetes screenings, and other varying health practices.
Funding supported Pat's Promise: The Mind-Body-Health Initiative. This initiative included virtual cooking classes, yoga and dance activities, and a tobacco recovery group for 277 individuals accessing mental health services.
Harvesting Humanity, LLC
Funding supported the development of Cultivating Healthy Eating and Living (H.E.A.L.I.N.G.) Communities, a five-month training program that empowers 10 Grassroots Community Leaders to become better agents of change. These leaders were trained in topics such as yoga and mindfulness, environmental stewardship, nutrition, and CPR.
Funding supported LEG Up on LIFE, a mentoring program that prepares 20 young adults in foster care for college, careers, and an overall healthy and financially successful lifestyle. The program's curriculum consisted of weekly mental wellness meetings, fitness challenges, and healthy cooking classes. Participants were also matched with college student mentors.
Funding supported the purchase of new equipment for their outdoor recreation area, which offers more opportunities for residents to engage in physical activity. In addition, funding was used to support the creation of a resident garden club to serve over 300 residents.
Learning Help Center of Charlotte
Funding supported Families in Wellness Training, which included weekly physical activity classes, yoga and Zumba classes, and healthy cooking classes for 1466 Latino adults and children. In addition, vital health assessments were conducted biweekly, allowing participants to monitor their progress towards better health.
The Life Project
Funding supported food access for 46 individuals living in motels off Sugar Creek Road. This was completed through healthy cooking demonstrations, healthy food distribution, basic health screenings, tobacco information sessions, and nutrition education.
Metrolina Association for the Blind
Funding supported a four-week telehealth series to educate 20 diabetic individuals with vision loss. Participants received a healthy heart kit containing adaptive medical equipment and were involved in diabetes counseling, nutrition education, cooking demonstrations, and yoga classes. In addition, an adaptive medical equipment station was built at Lions Services, serving employees with vision loss.
Mecklenburg County Public Health is grateful to our awardees for their tireless work in encouraging healthy living among those in our community who are most at risk for chronic disease. Stay tuned for more news about FY23 funding opportunities.
View or download an infographic to be shared with your communities and networks.
Allison Nelson, Senior Health Manager, Office of Policy & Prevention, 980-314-9065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.