A “Juicy” Investment: Partners HealthCare supports health and nutrition of young children with $100K grant
BOSTON - Ripe. Select. Scale. Sautee. Spices. What do these words have in common? They are "Juicy Words", new vocabulary that young children are learning on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons at the Dudley farmers market in early language and literacy building activities led by Dudley Children Thrive, one of five Boston Children Thrive communities supported by Thrive in 5 and a grant from Partners HealthCare.
Thrive in 5, Boston's early childhood movement, is using a $100,000 grant from Partners HealthCare to support health and nutrition-focused activities for families with young children in its five Boston Children Thrive communities. The funds build on Partners longstanding commitment to healthy eating and active living and addressing these issues as early in life as possible. Research is clear that a proper balance of nutrition in the first years of life is crucial for brain development and helps prevent childhood obesity.
"Good health and nutrition are critical building blocks to a child's healthy development," said Matt Fishman, Vice President for Community Health, Partners HealthCare. "But too often eating healthy is a challenge for many of the families in the neighborhoods we serve. Through our strong partnership with Thrive in 5 and the Boston Children Thrive communities we are working together to fulfill one of our top priorities in our community health work: prevention, and to find creative strategies that enable children and families to make healthy choices that ensure good health and well being.
"In Boston, we know the value of helping youth and families develop good habits early - from reading and literacy to health and wellness. With the support of Partners HealthCare, we can engage more families around the importance of good nutrition and further our goal to ensure access to healthy food for all our residents, regardless of their zip code," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Launched in 2010, Boston Children Thrive is Thrive in 5's on-the-ground effort to engage parents as their children's first teachers and as neighborhood-wide change agents for school readiness. In Allston/Brighton, East Boston, South End/Lower Roxbury, Dudley, and Fields Corner, Thrive in 5 and its partners have created networks of parents, community organizations, and neighborhood businesses that plan and carry out activities and provide opportunities that support young children's healthy growth, development and school readiness.
"Juicy Words", part of Dudley Children Thrive's WordBuild campaign, is just one example of the creative ways that Boston Children Thrive neighborhoods are bringing health, nutrition and wellness to life while providing rich learning opportunities and resources for families to help young children be ready for kindergarten. With Partners funding, Boston Children Thrive communities are:
- Conducting community events and workshops for families and child care providers on health issues, including asthma and nutrition;
- Sponsoring play groups and other opportunities like open gym and playground visits for children to encourage physical activity and build gross motor skills;
- Partnering with community-based organizations, such as the Food Project in the Dudley neighborhood, to support healthy eating through reserving spaces in community gardens for families with young children and providing vouchers to families to use at local farmers markets; and
- Piloting efforts to provide more information to parents about school readiness at well-child visits at local health centers.
"We're grateful to have Partners support for Boston Children Thrive. Children's health and nutrition are a critical part of their development, helping ensure their readiness for success in school and life. Partners funding makes it possible for Thrive in 5 and our community-based partners to support Boston's young children and their families with health information and resources, right where they live," said Jane Tewksbury, Thrive in 5's Executive Director.
In addition to Partners HealthCare, Boston Children Thrive is also supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Boston Children's Hospital. For more on Thrive in 5 and the community-based agencies receiving funding please visit: www.thrivein5boston.org.
About Thrive in 5
Thrive in 5's mission is to ensure that children of all races, ethnicities, incomes, abilities, and languages have the opportunities and support they need for success in school and beyond. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley launched Thrive in 5 in 2008 with the goal of ensuring universal school readiness for Boston's children. Designed through a year-long community planning process involving a diverse team of 65 professionals and 35 parents, Boston's School Readiness Roadmap outlines the vision and strategies that drive Thrive in 5's work. For more information, visit www.thrivein5boston.org.
About United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley
One of the region's largest nonprofits, United Way's work ensures that children enter school ready to learn, youth stay engaged in school so they graduate with options for the future, and parents attain financial stability. No other single organization has the scope, expertise, and influence to bring together hundreds of human services agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.
About Partners HealthCare and Partners Community Health Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health-related entities. Partners is one of the nation's leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization.
Partners Community Health leads the organization-wide commitment to improve the health and well being of low-income and vulnerable populations. Partners commitment to the community is the largest of any health care provider in Massachusetts, representing over 80 programs benefiting 115,000 residents. Partners Community Health works closely with Partners hospitals, 21 licensed and affiliated community health centers serving more than 350,000 patients, and local organizations to enhance health care access for patients, increase economic opportunity, and improve the health of communities through prevention initiatives and by addressing longstanding health disparities.