Healthy Chelsea Launches New Website

Healthy Chelsea Launches New Website

The Healthy Chelsea Coalition has just launched a new website.

Heathy Chelsea was founded in 2010 when obesity was identified as the city’s top health concern through a community health needs assessment (CHNA) conducted by Mass General’s Center for Community Health Improvement.

Two years later, the coalition voted to expand its focus as residents and community partners identified substance use and its effects, including violence and public safety, as the city’s top health concern. From its inception, Healthy Chelsea has enjoyed substantial support from City leadership including the City Manager, Director of Health and Human Services, the School Department, Chelsea Police Dept. and others.

Through the new website, Jennifer Kelly, Director of Healthy Chelsea, is “excited to showcase all the great work that we are doing with our community partners. We also hope to educate residents about our programs and to encourage their participation in these important efforts.”

Coalition priorities featured on the site center around healthy eating and living strategies in both the schools and larger community; the Youth Food Movement (YFM) internship program, which allows high school and middle school students to advocate for higher-quality food in their school; promoting a trauma sensitive city; increasing community connection; and, a relatively new initiative focused on early childhood development.

Kelly is especially happy to talk about the recently funded youth substance use prevention work. Through a federal Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant and state Substance Abuse Prevention Collaborative (SAPC) initiative, the coalition has hired two new staff members who are engaging youth and parents while also working with various community partners to implement proven strategies to reduce substance use disorders.

Healthy Chelsea is supported by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI).

Mass General’s Vice President of Community Health, Joan Quinlan, said, “We are so proud of the work that Healthy Chelsea is doing and of our strong partnership with the Chelsea community. Now, with the launch of their new website, everyone can learn more about their programs and the significant impact they are making.”

Kelly added, “It’s wonderful to be able to promote what can happen when residents and community partners come together for the health and well-being of their community.”

Visit http://www.healthychelsea.org to learn more about their focus areas and programs; staff profiles; community partners; news and upcoming events; and, much more.

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Happy Passover

Happy Passover

We wish the members of the Jewish community a Happy Passover as the holiday begins at sundown Friday and continues for the next eight days.

The celebration commences with Jewish families sitting down for the traditional Seder meal. Children have a special role in the Seder, with the youngest child at the table being called upon to recite “the four questions,” in Hebrew, beginning with, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” There are also songs that help mark this significant holiday on the Jewish calendar.

The arrival of Passover also means that spring is here and warmer weather is on its way.

May all of our Jewish friends in the city enjoy a Happy and Healthy “Pesach.”

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Ring Out The Old….

Ring Out The Old….

The New Year always provides us with a time of reflection, both upon the year that has passed and upon the one to come.

The opening lines of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, Ring Out, Wild Bells, sums up what we all feel at this time of year:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Although the year 2014 by any measurable standard was a good one for America, there is a sense of unease in our country that no one — let alone the politicians — seem able to address.

We can only hope that as 2015 approaches, we will let go of our inner turmoil and move forward in a direction that benefits all Americans and people the world over.

We wish all of our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year.

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EPA Awards Chelsea $25,000 to Fight Asthma

EPA Awards Chelsea $25,000 to Fight Asthma

EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding presented stakeholders in the Chelsea Thrives initiative with a check for $25,000 to expand the work of coalition partners in the Shurtleff Bellingham neighborhood to include testing new methods to fight asthma. More than 30 collaborators, including city, state and federal officials, joined Spalding at Bosson Park to celebrate the award.

EPA Regional Administrator Curt Spalding presented stakeholders in the Chelsea Thrives initiative with a check for $25,000 to expand the work of coalition partners in the Shurtleff Bellingham neighborhood to include testing new methods to fight asthma. More than 30 collaborators, including city, state and federal officials, joined Spalding at Bosson Park to celebrate the award.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded a coalition led by The Neighborhood Developers with a $25,000 grant earlier this month to promote asthma health education.

The grant was one of 14 given in New England to fund community projects addressing environmental and public health issues in New England. The Chelsea grant will support a project to pilot and test three approaches to community-based asthma health education, targeting primarily low-income, largely immigrant households in the Shurtleff Bellingham Neighborhood.

“This Healthy Community Grant will get trained professionals working directly with residents to reduce asthma triggers in the home and help improve children’s health in Chelsea,” said Curt Spalding EPA Regional Administrator at the check presentation ceremony held in Bosson Park. “TND and its partners are working locally to protect human health and the environment here in Chelsea and I look forward to seeing the results of their efforts.”

Said City Manager Jay Ash, “Chelsea, and especially our children, is lucky to have EPA empowering us to make a difference in the lives of our families and maybe, through replication of what we hope is a successful initiative, families across the country. And, while the EPA financial commitment isn’t big, in terms of grant dollars, the impacts on the health and financial well-being of our families, both short and long-term, and the amount of additional funding we may be able to leverage as a result of our empirical work is sure to provide a return on investment that all of us would be pleased to have in our own portfolios.”

TND’s Melissa Walsh said she was glad to see the EPA get involved in asthma issues in Chelsea.

“EPA has meant such a great deal to the health and well-being of Chelsea already, and is now stepping up to help us help our youngest avoid an avoidable infliction: asthma,” said Walsh, Community Engagement Coordinator at TND. “Thanks to this latest EPA grant, we’ll be able to engage residents, train inspectors, develop programming and track our results in making our homes safer and our kids healthier. What could be a more worthwhile cause?”

Jeanette McWilliams, administrative director at MGH Chelsea Healthcare Center, said, “Through this Healthy Communities grant with a focus on Healthy Indoor Environments, EPA is helping three key partners to take a deeper approach to address the underlying causes of asthma symptoms among children. This funding will allow MGH Chelsea to test education strategies that are focused on patients’ and families home settings, with the additional aim to bring families together who are residents in the same neighborhood and are all facing the issue of childhood asthma. Our hope is that children will be healthier as a result of this collaboration, and that families will build lasting support systems in the place where they live.”

School Committeewoman Lucia Henriquez said she was glad to see EPA championing the cause.

“Families in this neighborhood need champions, and EPA is proving to be one. I’m grateful, we’re all grateful for EPA’s willingness to create healthier housing options and better health for all of us, and especially our children, in this neighborhood.”

The Healthy Communities Grant Program focuses on identifying projects in target investment areas, including areas with environmental justice, areas with sensitive populations, and areas that are vulnerable to impacts to climate change, stormwater runoff. Funding from the program benefits projects in communities that will, help communities understand and reduce environmental and human health risks, increase collaboration through community based projects, build institutional and community capacity to understand and solve environmental and public health problems like asthma and climate change, or achieve measurable environmental and public health results.

“It’s great to have a partner like EPA working in places like Chelsea and making such a huge difference on the health of our residents and the vitality of our community. I’m pleased to support such an effort and the overall work of TND, its partners and the City of Chelsea to continue to innovate and succeed in producing meaningful advancements in the Shurtleff Bellingham neighborhood and beyond,” stated Congressman Michael Capuano.

EPA’s grant coincides with additional work being performed in the Shurtleff Bellingham neighborhood under the community’s Chelsea Thrives program. That program, which is the local version of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge initiative, seeks to produce prosperity, quality of life and physical improvements to Shurtleff Bellingham. Thirty partners, including City government, are working on numerous initiatives and the development of a data system to track the local success.

“We’re on the leading edge of a new, more comprehensive and coordinated approach to lifting the status of once struggling neighborhoods throughout the state and country. We’re already seeing success on our local effort and believe that partners like EPA will deepen and accelerate that success,” concluded Ash.

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