Miami Gardens Faith and Wellness Initiative Conference

The Miami Gardens Faith and Wellness Project, in partnership with Live Healthy Miami Gardens, Trinity Church, and FLIPANY, was established to build the capacity of Faith-Based Organizations (CBOs) to increase health promotion efforts through the adoption of Policy, System, and Environmental (PSE) and programmatic changes. The project began two years ago, focusing on developing a vision, strategy, and action steps towards improving health and wellness in the City of Miami Gardens. Through the project, ten (10) Faith-Based Organizations were recruited to receive technical assistance and financial support to join this initiative in hopes of seeing a more significant impact made for the overall health and wellness of residents in our community. In honor of the accomplishments made by these Faith-Based Organizations, we held our first annual Miami Gardens Faith and Wellness Conference, Faith in Action, on October 7 at Trinity Church.

After months of preparing for this conference, amidst the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we were excited to finally showcase the efforts achieved by these organizations. With Debra Toomer, WMBM, serving as our MC, the conference was held both in-person and virtually to accommodate those who could not participate in person. Guest speakers included Dr. Steven Marcus, former CEO of Health Foundation of South Florida provided a historical overview of the project, and Thamara Labrousse, Live Healthy Miami Gardens Program Director, presented on Collective Impact. The Live Healthy Miami Gardens Initiative, Collective Impact, uses the model to bring people together in a structured way to achieve social change. It starts with a common agenda.

Also, during the conference, each organization had the opportunity to display its accomplishments through a poster symposium and testimonial videos. Furthermore, there were two master workshops held, including Grant Writing Overview and Developing Your Action Plan. We were honored to have Linda Freeman, the Executive Director of Peacemakers Family Center, lead the Grant Writing Overview workshop and Lana Chehabeddine of FLIPANY lead the action plan workshop. And finally, the event was closed with an award ceremony to celebrate and honor the work and participation of each Faith-Based Organization.

Considering the challenges brought on by the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is pleasing that the efforts to increase health and wellness in the City of Miami Gardens have been a success. Much has been accomplished thus far, and we look forward to the continued hard work of those involved in this initiative in making Miami Gardens a healthier city for everyone to live, work, and play. As we move into another year for the project, we will be recruiting five (5) additional sites.

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