Healthier Glades “Mini-Grants” promote wellness and de-stigmatize mental health

Funding puts the power of change in the hands of residents and nonprofit agencies

Posted 2/7/23

Healthier Glades’ unique approach to behavioral health brings together residents, grassroots initiatives...

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Healthier Glades “Mini-Grants” promote wellness and de-stigmatize mental health

Funding puts the power of change in the hands of residents and nonprofit agencies


PAHOKEE — Healthier Glades, a Palm Health Foundation Healthier Together initiative, is beginning 2023 by investing in nonprofit organizations and residents to provide a range of programs to support behavioral health in Palm Beach County’s western communities, including Belle Glade, Canal Point, Pahokee, and South Bay. Mini-grants ranging from $2,000 to $3,000 were awarded to nine residents and four nonprofit organizations to implement their ideas for impacting behavioral health in the region. Each awardee received a congratulatory letter from Florida State Representative Rick Roth who is supportive of the program. Healthier Glades has awarded $99,000 in mini-grants since 2019.

Healthier Glades’ unique approach to behavioral health brings together residents, grassroots initiatives, and organizations to unlock community strengths, elevating and investing in the ideas that the community believes hold the most promise to change lives and the narrative around mental health.

“We believe behavioral health is how we cope with life stressors and what it means to be healthy and well physically, emotionally, and spiritually,” said Annie Ifill, Healthier Glades project director. “We work with the Glades communities by beginning with the area’s natural assets and resources, including family, faith, and friends.”

Healthier Glades mini-grant awardees will provide services in the following areas.

Promoting Health and Wellness

• Bettye Lawson, Belle Glade, Decreasing Risk of Metabolic Syndrome through Education, Screening, and Health Promotion Activities among Rural Glades Residents will test interventions such as neighborhood walking clubs and Zumba classes to increase physical activity, which has been shown to help delay cognitive decline.

• Jinga Oglesby-Brihm, Empower Healthcare, Pahokee, Walking In Your Joy Despite Diabetes will provide QuantaFlo testing to determine whether a patient has peripheral artery disease (PAD) within a matter of minutes.

• Gertavian Blake, South Bay, Stand Firm Outreach Healthy Meals Project will serve youth and adults hot, nutritious meals to promote health and wellness, cultivate positive relationships, inspire storytelling, and reduce crime rates.

• Yvette Branch, Pahokee, Village at the Glades, Food Pantry Supplies will expand the types of meals available to shelter guests with the addition of a juicer, blenders, and air fryers, allowing guests to diversify the types of meals they are able to make.

• Derrek Moore, Belle Glade, Emergency Preparedness & COVID-19 Prevention Program will provide homeless residents and youth aging out of foster care essentials for proper hygiene through partnerships with churches and local organizations.

• Ashley Davis, Belle Glade, Human Indulgence With Ashley will host health and wellness sessions that include food preparation as well as stress and relaxation techniques.

Storytelling and Changing the Narrative

• Lester Finney, Belle Glade, Glades Youth Exhibition of the Arts will provide students with artistic skills and talents the opportunity to channel their energy in a positive way and receive recognition by displaying their talents in music, spoken word, visual arts and/or performance arts.

• Kevin Brown, Belle Glade, Burn Down Media Group will teach youth audio/visual equipment operations and video production and create job opportunities for the youth to perform audio/visual services for organizations and non-profits.

• Veree Jenkins, Federation of Families, South Bay, Finding Your Super Powers Podcast is an extension of the Super Powers Support Group program. The podcast will be operated by residents of the Glades to shine a light on local health and wellness programs and testimonies of recovery and success in cooperation with the Glades STAR Community Partnership Group.

Developing and Nurturing Participation Channels

• Khadeidra Willis, Belle Glade, #WORK21 Townhall for Student-Athletes and Parents will host two events for student-athletes and their parents about the requirements needed for their successful journey to a professional athletic future/career and the importance of athletes maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including physical and mental wellness.

• Stephanie Dort-Brown, Belle Glade, Period Talk will increase awareness, educate, and inform pre-teens and teenage girls about the anatomy of the woman’s reproductive system, highlighting priority areas such as health, wellness, advocacy for teenage girls, and storytelling.

• Barbara King, Belle Glade, Children Business Fair will offer sessions to teach children how to be entrepreneurs and host a fair/showcase for the community and possible investors to support our youth businesses.

• Jinga Oglesby-Brihm, Empower Healthcare, Pahokee, PEARLS to End Loneliness will address social isolation of older adults in the Glades. PEARLS (Program to Encourage Active Rewarding Lives for Seniors) improves social and physical engagement through one-on-one coaching to build the skills to live happier, healthier, and more independent lives.

President and CEO of Palm Health Foundation Patrick McNamara sees the value of investing in the people and organizations closest to community. “We humanize health when we recognize that residents often have solutions for their own communities, they just need a little support to get them off the ground,” he said. “The Healthier Glades awardees have a wide range of unique assets and expertise for promoting brain health and well-being from youth to seniors.”

behavioral health, mini grants