The Cambridge Public Health Department is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the Health Promotion Mini-Grants Program. This year, the Cambridge in Motion Healthy Eating, Active Living mini-grants and the Youth Mental Health and Wellness mini-grants combined to become the Health Promotion Mini-Grants Program.
“This year’s mini-grant program was a great collaboration between our units,” said Sarah Lincoln, Youth Wellness Coordinator at the Cambridge Public Health Department. “Both healthy eating and active living and youth mental wellness are vital to the overall health of our community and we look forward to this combined program in years to come. We are also excited to have partnered with the Sasaki Foundation, as this expanded the number of projects we could support with increased funding.”
The 2023 mini-grant awardees for Healthy Eating, Active Living and their projects:
- East End House will purchase and install gross motor skill equipment to promote physical activity and social-emotional wellness for toddlers and preschoolers.
- Windsor Preschool will secure balance boards, tumble mats, jumping balls, and sports nets to provide the opportunity for children to engage in motor skill development that they may not have access to at home.
- The Community Art Center will buy equipment to build obstacle courses for inside activity and garden tools to maintain their plot at Squirrel Brand Community Garden for outside activity.
- Living Well Network plans to support positive mental health and healthy aging by reestablishing in-person tai chi classes for Cantabrigians aged 55 and over.
- YMCA Cambridge will host a mental and physical wellness event to teach local residential clients how to include healthy eating, physical activity, and self-care in their lives.
- Cambridge City Growers will execute new projects as part of their Community-Based Urban Agriculture program to address food insecurity. These will include the expansion of gardening and food access space at the Cambridge Community Center, collaborative events with more partners, like Just-A-Start, and creation of more residential raised beds.
- RECESS will engage adults aged 18 to 35 and build community by using the funds to continue paying staff, purchase healthy snacks and water, and fund basketball, schoolyard games, yoga, meditation, jam sessions, and art making workshops.
- Green Streets Initiative will uplift the voices of Cambridge teens by collecting and showcasing their perspectives on active transportation options available in the city.
- Homeowner’s Rehab Inc. will lead a community cooking program during the summer and fall months where residents of Finch Cambridge will harvest vegetables and herbs from their garden and enjoy a healthy cooking class.
- Transition House will participate in a summer wellness program that will remind staff to take a well-deserved break, educate on healthy snack options, and encourage movement with a friendly competition.
- Miramelinda Montessori School will create a miniature garden for and with the children for planting, observing, and learning about the growth of fruits and vegetables before their consumption.
- Soca Fusion will host the Soca Sundays series, a public dance and wellness program offered free of charge to the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) community that exposes people to knowledge of their anatomy, health, spatial awareness, and social emotional expression.
- Lesley University students and Health Service staff will be involved in the creation of a community garden for promotion and education about healthy eating, physical activity, building positive social connections, and stress reduction for the community.
The 2023 mini-grant awardees for Youth Mental Wellness:
- Cambridge Camping Association will increase their capacity to support the mental well-being of campers ages 5-13 by adding an experienced, full-time youth and family social worker to their team. With a social worker dedicated to working directly with campers and families, the program aims to uplift the experience of both campers and staff, and effect positive change in camper outcomes.
- Agassiz Baldwin Community will include two Counselor-in Training (CIT) Mentor Teachers this summer to provide targeted support to the specific needs of the 7th-9th grade CITs. This follows the successful addition of a CIT Mentor Teacher funded from the 2022 Youth Mental Health and Wellness Mini-Grants. CIT Mentor Teachers will regularly meet with CITs to focus on healthy sleep habits, identity and anti-bias, stress management, and developing healthy self-care habits.
- JOYweavers will plan multiple events with some including workshops that educate parents and caregivers about Individualized Education Plan (IEP) services so that they are empowered to advocate for their children going through the IEP process in school.
- Congregation Eitz Chayim will host two events that foster greater connection between Jewish youth in Cambridge, while providing an engaging forum for participants to discuss challenges they have faced related to their Jewish identity as well as learn healthy coping strategies.
- The Mental Health Advancement of Culturally Competent Education to Stop Stigma (ACCESS) will add a program specialist to their team to support college and career readiness, and to schedule high-quality educational opportunities for internship participants. ACCESS aims to increase the number of BIPOC mental health providers by cultivating BIPOC teens’ interest in mental health-related professions through a paid summer internship.
- East End House will invite a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) educator to facilitate a curriculum series where each day will focus on a new social justice or advocacy oriented topic, an art medium, and relevant SEL objectives. Middle school participants will build concrete SEL skills, express themselves creatively, and feel empowered to increase their civic and social engagement.
The mini-grants are a partnership between the Cambridge Public Health Department and the Hideo Sasaki Foundation, a Boston nonprofit. The mini-grant program was primarily funded by the Cambridge Public Health Department, with a $5,000 contribution this year from the Hideo Sasaki Foundation.
The grants were awarded through a competitive process and reviewed by representatives from nonprofits, city departments, residents, teens, and staff from the Cambridge Public Health Department.