Opa-locka Childhood Obesity Prevention Project Community Activated with More Than $160,000 in Grants

By Christina Gordon….

City of Opa-locka Commissioner Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson and Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor, surrounded by Board Representatives, presented Proclamations to War on Poverty-Florida, Inc. and The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation.

The City of Opa-locka hosted a Mini-Grant Award Ceremony on Tuesday, May 26, 2011 at 11:00 AM for the War on Poverty-Florida (WPF) Building A Healthy Community Childhood Obesity Prevention Project, sponsored by Commissioner Dorothy “Dottie” Johnson with the support of Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor and the Opa-locka City Commission at the Municipal Complex Building 780 Fisherman St. Opa-locka, FL 33054.

War on Poverty-Florida began a partnership in July 2009, with Florida Memorial University (FMU) to reduce the risks of childhood obesity by addressing the issue of food access, increasing public awareness  and  engaging the community (youth in particular) in a range of activities in the interest of developing enduring solutions. A comprehensive approach was developed in the interest of building a healthy community and The Opa-locka “Building a Healthy Community Childhood Obesity Prevention Project” began in January 2010, supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation.

Opa-locka children and families will have access to activities such as Hip-Hop dancing, community gardening and healthy cooking, beginning this summer, as a way to prevent childhood obesity. These and other health initiatives received a total of $64,500 in grants from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Foundation (BCBSF Foundation) as part of the “Building a Healthy Community Opa-locka Childhood Obesity Prevention Project” and community “Call to Action” issued in October 2010 and led by War on Poverty-Florida. Combined with an additional $97,700 sustaining grant to WPF, also from the BCBSF Foundation, the community initiative to reduce or prevent childhood obesity today received more than $160,000 to implement its Call to Action.

Seven community organizations received grants for programs that address one or more of the four Call to Action focus areas: early learning, schools and after-school programs, community and faith-based organizations and built environment.

• The Portrait of Empowerment — $10,000 for its Back to Eden program, providing afterschool nutrition and physical education for 150 youth and their families at three community schools.

• Health Council of South Florida — $10,000 for its Miami Matters: Collaborating and Calculating to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Opa-locka program, creating a customized database to track and identify trends in health and quality of life in Opa-locka.

• Opa-locka North Dade Front Porch Council, Inc. — $10,000 for its Healthy Students, Healthy Family, Healthy Community program, serving youth and families at seven community schools with nutrition and exercise education.

• Family Christian Association of America, Inc. — $10,000 for its FCAA Healthy Kids Opa-locka program, engaging 180 students ages 3 to 12 in preschool and afterschool health and wellness instruction.

• The Miami Foundation with Youth L.E.A.D. — $10,000 for its Youth L.E.A.D. Activist Academy and Service Learning Projects program, training and empowering 30 Opa-locka teens as food justice activists to educate community residents on locally available, nutritious foods.

• Urban Green Works — $10,000 for its Opa-locka Farmers Market, educating and empowering youth and residents to purchase, grow and consume more locally-grown fruits and vegetables through community gardening, farmers markets and cooking classes.

• Carrie Meek Foundation — $4,500 for its Hip Hop 4 Health program, engaging 100 Opa-locka youth in weekly afterschool dance training and competition combined with nutrition and cooking classes.

War on Poverty-Florida, Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to the revitalization of minority communities in Florida. Through work in targeted Florida communities, WPF endeavors to help reduce poverty and racial inequality, close the wealth gap and ensure minority voices are heard in major policy debates. For more information visit waronpoverty.org.

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