En 2017, el personal de Growing Up Healthy y de la Ciudad de Faribault se valieron de un abordaje que dependía en la formación de relaciones para apoyar a los vecinos que habitan en casas móviles: colaboraron para ayudar a los vecinos a hacer las reparaciones necesarias para mejorar la seguridad de sus casas.
Por medio de un programa piloto—una asociación entre Growing Up Healthy, la Ciudad de Faribault y la Cuadrilla de Energía Hogareña de Xcel Energy—expertos en la eficiencia del uso de energía del Center for Energy and Environment (el Centro para Energía y el Medioambiente) visitaron los hogares para realizar asesoramientos gratuitos del uso de energía en dichos hogares. Reemplazaron bombillas ineficientes, examinaron calentones, instalaron termostatos programables y recomendaron otros mejoramientos. El personal de Growing Up Healthy acompañó en las visitas para proveer interpretación y para informar a los vecinos sobre programas adicionales por los cuales podrían reunir requisitos, tales como oportunidades de educación en la niñez temprana. [Read more…]
Now more than ever, parents and caregivers are stepping up to support children and youth as they manage the stress of heightened racial tensions, distance learning, and economic insecurity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Growing Up Healthy is working with bilingual therapist Adalinda Estrada, M.A., LMFT, to coordinate monthly virtual consultations for parents and caregivers by Zoom. Discussion topics will include: racial identity development in children; managing anxiety and depression in kids; supporting children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and supports for those caring for kids with special needs. [Read more…]
Since April 2020, Growing Up Healthy staff members have worked in coordination with 20+ partner organizations to distribute 7,000 boxes of food to households all across Faribault. Distribution efforts have included intentionally sourced cultural food options.
The nearly 60 distribution events, scheduled between April and the end of December, have included Trunk to Trunk events, mobile distribution events, and several one-time events in partnership with other community agencies. Mobile distribution efforts have served more than 1000 households and have focused on nine neighborhoods where need is greatest. The food access effort also partnered with Faribault Public Schools to distribute school meals along with the food boxes, to remove transportation barriers for families with school-aged kids struggling to access meals.
Growing Up Healthy surveyed a diverse group of community members to determine their wants and needs for a longer-term solution to address food access gaps in Faribault.
Families indicated that they appreciated the mobile distribution, liked having choices, and desired a food distribution center with a warm, welcoming atmosphere where there were no language barriers.
This information led collaboration partners to move forward this fall with plans to develop a choice-model food distribution center at 1400 Cannon Circle. The facility is next to the Cannon River Mobile Home Park and the GUH community trailer.Led by the Community Action Center, the partnership recently hired an interim food access coordinator and is seeking to hire a support specialist.
For more information about the food distribution efforts, or to volunteer, contact Becky Ford, firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the help of neighborhood leaders and volunteers, Growing Up Healthy staff distributed 450+ winterization kits to residents of mobile home parks in Faribault and Northfield in mid-November. The kits contained heat-shrink film window insulation, caulk, and other materials to help seal air leaks and keep homes warm this winter. A pamphlet was also included, with instructions in English and Spanish for how to use the materials. While distributing the kits in the neighborhoods, the team also gave residents a winterization checklist and flyers promoting local community resources and programs.
In 2017, staff from Growing Up Healthy and the City of Faribault took a relationship-building approach to supporting mobile home residents: they collaborated to help residents make necessary repairs to improve the safety of their homes.
Through a pilot program—a partnership between Growing Up Healthy, the City of Faribault and Xcel Energy’s Home Energy Squad—energy efficiency experts from the Center for Energy and Environment visited the homes to conduct free Home Energy Audits. They replaced inefficient light bulbs, examined furnaces, installed programmable thermostats, and recommended other improvements. Growing Up Healthy staff came along on the visits to provide translation and inform residents about additional programs they might be eligible for, like early childhood education opportunities.
The program expanded in 2019 to include Northfield. In both communities, it’s been successful in part because Growing Up Healthy has worked over the years to build trust among residents in the low-income neighborhoods it serves.
“This is a unique partnership with Growing Up Healthy. It’s something we would love to find in other communities, but it often doesn’t exist or it’s hard to tap into,” said Stacy Boots Camp, assistant outreach manager with the Center for Energy and Environment, which is based in the Twin Cities. “This relationship has been talked about throughout the country—it’s really a model.” [Read more…]
Growing Up Healthy is currently accepting applications for two part-time Neighborhood Organizer positions (one Spanish-speaking and one Somali-speaking).
Questions? Contact Growing Up Healthy at Leah@growinguphealthy.org.
Leah Eby, Growing Up Healthy
(507) 664-3527, Leah@growinguphealthy.org
Julie Ann Eastling, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation
(651) 662-6574, Julie_A_Eastling@bluecrossmn.com
Growing Up Healthy awarded grant through the Blue Cross Foundation
Grant helps create greater health equity in the community
NORTHFIELD, Minn. (July 7, 2015) — Growing Up Healthy received a $59,500 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation to help more community members reach their full health potential. The funds will be used to continue Growing Up Healthy’s social capital development work in five low-income neighborhoods in Rice County. The work will empower groups of leaders from historically marginalized communities to better advocate for their peers and foster important connections both within and beyond their neighborhoods.
Growing Up Healthy is a program under the organizational umbrella of the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) and works in close partnership with Rice County’s largest social service, educational, and health organizations.
The Growing Up Healthy grant is one of 24 awarded across the state through the Foundation’s “Healthy Communities: Health Equity in Action” initiative. The projects all focus on one or more of the following social or economic factors that have a great influence on health: education, employment, income, family and social support or community safety. A total of $1.5 million was awarded.
“We’re pleased to support the great work of Growing Up Healthy — a community asset that is truly making a difference in helping people have better options for good health,” said Foundation Executive Director Carolyn Link. “Growing Up Healthy demonstrates a commitment to broadening the way we look at health.”
“This grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation allows Growing Up Healthy to continue the powerful work it is doing in neighborhoods in Northfield and Faribault,” said Erin Bailey, Community Services Director for Northfield Public Schools and Growing Up Healthy Advisory Board co-chair. “The Northfield Public Schools is excited to continue to be a Growing Up Healthy partner as they support children and families in Rice County.”
For more information on Blue Cross’ grantmaking programs, visit bcbsmnfoundation.org or call (651) 662-3950 or toll free at 1-866-812-1593.
Growing Up Healthy works with partner organizations and immigrant and refugee families to transform communities through cultivating neighborhood leadership, fostering community connectedness, and collectively advocating for change in neighborhoods and systems.
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation exclusively dedicates its assets to improving health in Minnesota, awarding nearly $41.5 million since it was established in 1986. The Foundation’s purpose is to make a healthy difference in communities by advancing health equity and improving the conditions where people live, learn, work and play.
By BRAD PHENOW
Low-income families now have access to local produce at a reduced price, thanks to a Carleton College student who teamed up with Growing Up Healthy to help break down the barriers of food access.The Farmer to Family program was developed by a Carleton College senior, Tori Ostenso, who has spent the summer focusing on breaking down food access issues in Rice County, including cost, transportation and nutrition education.Ostenso, who is from Ladysmith, Wisconsin, received a Phillips Scholarship which not only helped with tuition costs but supplied additional funds for the Family to Farmer program. One of the requirements for the scholarship was designing a summer project that worked toward a community need.
It didn’t take Ostenso long to decide where she wanted to use the funds, as she was already familiar with local farmers and had a strong interest in food access issues. She has been involved with several agriculture groups on Carleton’s campus including the Carleton organic farm, the gleaning program and FireBellies cooking club.
As part of the gleaning program, members visit local farms to gather produce, after which they donate it to the food shelf. With the FireBellies cooking club, a group of Carleton students go to the middle school and give cooking demonstrations. Thanks to these different organizations, deciding on a summer project was simple for Ostenso, with help from Growing Up Healthy.
“I noticed most of the people who are getting the local produce in Rice County were the upper-class people who could afford it,” she said.
After getting in touch with the coordinator at Growing Up Healthy, Ostenso discovered there were already events planned for low-income neighborhoods in Rice County.
Growing Up Healthy Coordinator Leah Eby said she and Ostenso went out and talked with neighborhood leaders to identify a community need in those neighborhoods.
After talking with neighborhood leaders, and determining cost and transportation being two of the barriers, Ostenso decided to make an effort to bring local produce to low-income families at an affordable price.
“They had already established some communities, and had planned to do these events in the park,” she said. “So we hooked up with them and now we attend all those events and set up the vegetable market.”
To add a little more fun to these events and to tackle the third barrier, she decided to educate the community members by providing healthy cooking demonstration. Ostenso said with the help from another FireBellies cooking club member, Emily Pence, they were able to bring the kitchen to these communities.
“The kids and the moms are really taking a liking to these cooking demos,” Ostenso said.
Eby said the cooking demonstrations have become the main attraction.
“Some people are wary to buy a whole bag of vegetables if they aren’t familiar with how to cook them,” Eby said. “But they (Ostenso and Pence) find a way to relate it to both the parents and the kids.”
Ostenso said at the beginning of the summer things were slow, so she reached out to Becca Carlson at Seeds Farm, who grows the vegetables. Carlson reassured Ostenso that it took time when she first began selling vegetables, too.
You have to be patient, Ostenso said she remembers hearing.
Now, Ostenso said she is selling between 10 and 20 bags of local produce at each event.
“We sell them for $5, and the customers get to pick what they want to put in the bag,” she said. “Each week more people are starting to come.”
Looking back, Ostenso said it’s incredible how an idea she had in her head turned out the way it did.
“I think the best part is when the moms come over as every one is getting ready to leave. They are so thankful for us coming to their neighborhood,” she said.
Eby added that the event has had such a positive impact on the neighborhoods that she plans to continue offering the vegetable market after Ostenso’s project is completed.
“Even though our events in the park days will end in August, we are talking about ways to continue Farmer to Family into the fall,” she said. “And definitely in future summers.”
Eby added that students and community members who are excited about breaking food access barriers help make these event possible. If you wish to help out in the future, contact Growing Up Healthy at 507-664-3527.
Brad Phenow covers Rice County government, townships and arts & entertainment. Reach him in Faribault at 333-3135 and in Northfield at 645-1122.