The City of Miami Gardens Gets Healthier
Already a vibrant, dynamic city, the City of Miami Gardens has plans to become even healthier, thanks to a $3.75 million investment from the Health Foundation of South Florida. The funds are being used to create the Healthy Community Partnership, geared to make the city a healthier place to live.
The Partnership is a six-year initiative that began in 2014 with the first year devoted to planning. During 2014, the City worked with stakeholders to bring the community together, develop a plan of action, increase coordination, and pinpoint specific programmatic and policy strategies to improve residents’ health. “Our initiative has adopted a comprehensive approach to community change. We have been working according to community building principles that value resident engagement and community capacity building,” said Thamara Labrousse, Program Director of the initiative.
The overall health/wellness campaign is called “Live Healthy Miami Gardens,” and it will focus on impacting five areas that have substantial effects on community health: increasing physical activity, access to healthy foods, access to primary healthcare, access to mental health services and a reduction in alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse.
“We recognize that there are many ways to improve community health,” said Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert. “As we move into action, we are creating a solid plan that allows us to maximize resources through community engagement and grant making.”
For more information on the HCP, contact the City of Miami Gardens at 305-914-9072.
(Include at bottom of article) Health Foundation of South Florida, a nonprofit grant making organization, is dedicated to improving health in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. By advancing health solutions, the Foundation makes a measurable and sustainable impact in ensuring access to affordable, quality health services for all residents. Since 1993, the Foundation awarded more than $104 million in grants and program support. For more information, please call 305.374.7200 or see their website, www.hfsf.org.
Who is Involved in ‘Live Healthy Miami Gardens’?
Live Healthy Miami Gardens (LHMG) is the health/wellness initiative created by the City of Miami Gardens in partnership with the Health Foundation of South Florida. Behind the initiative are a number of dedicated people who care about the betterment of the City.
City staff and leadership called for residents, community stakeholders and organizations to join the effort. The City of Miami Gardens serves as Host Agency for the project and ensures that program policies are implemented. The Host Council is the planning and decision-making body for the initiative. The Host Council is a cross representation of residents, non-profits, businesses, government agencies, grass-roots organizations, faith-based organizations, police, schools and universities, and parks and recreation. Community stakeholders and residents are engaged in every part of the process and hold leadership roles within the initiative. Additionally, there is an Advisory Committee that contributes to the project’s efforts to raise awareness, raise resources and engage the community. And finally, there are the LHMG Sub Councils, which are working committees formed to identify and recommend strategies for the selected Health Impact Areas of Healthy Eating and Nutrition; Physical Activity; Mental Health; Primary Care; and Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs.
Together, the Host Agency, Host Council, Advisory Committee and Sub Councils represent more than 90 people, who live, work and play in Miami Gardens, all committed to lending their ideas and energy toward making the city a healthier place.
To get involved in Live Healthy Miami Gardens, please call 305-914-9072.
Close Up on Live Healthy Miami Gardens: Reducing Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
One of the Health Impact Areas of Live Healthy Miami Gardens is reducing access to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs throughout the City.
The misuse and abuse of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) affect the health and well being of millions of Americans and many residents living in Miami Gardens. In addition, to the direct impact on the individual and family, there are many factors related to ATOD that affect the community environment, as well as its norms and values.
Working closely with For the Children’s Sake Campaign, the City is focused on creating a healthier, safer environment for residents of all ages by addressing the prevalence of substance-related products. For the Children’s Sake Campaign is a coalition of organizations, nonprofits and city departments dedicated to changing retail practices and consumer acceptance of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
Charles Ridley, Executive Director of For the Children’s Sake Campaign, chairs the Sub Council for Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs, as part of Live Healthy Miami Gardens, and he sees this issue as particularly meaningful to the younger generation of residents.
“A large percentage of our students are focused on the right things – their education, future, friendships and family – but there is a distracting element in Miami Gardens that they cannot avoid and that is the abundance of tobacco, drugs and alcohol,” Ridley said. “From the corner stores to the parks, Miami Gardens’ young people are surrounded by messages and products that take them away from their focus. It is my mission, and that of the For the Children’s Sake Campaign and Live Healthy Miami Gardens, to make it more difficult for retailers and business owners to market these products to our children.”
For the Children’s Sake Campaign and Live Healthy Miami Gardens are working together to provide resources to families, caretakers and young people who want to remain drug- and alcohol-free, while discouraging businesses from building this market in the City.
To learn more about For the Children’s Sake Campaign, call 561-577-5416.