Health Coalition recognized

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A videography crew roamed around the Brewton and East Brewton area Monday to capture images touting the successes of the Coalition for a Healthier Escambia County’s “Healthy Children, Healthy Community” effort.

Jenna Williams and Mark Wile with the National Institute for Child Healthcare Quality were on hand to witness the successes of the coalition in the Brewton area, including the community gardens and physical fitness awareness in the community.

“Our purpose is to capture the successes of the training offer by NICHQ,” Williams said. “Brewton’s biggest success is the community garden and we wanted to capture that. What we want to do is highlight the successes and display the videos on our Web site and incorporate them into our online training.”

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The funding for various projects in the area was made possible with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the Be Our Voice movement. The two-year program is nearing a close, and Williams said evidence shows the funds were put to good use in Brewton.

“We gave a reasonable amount of money to see what could be done with these kinds of projects,” Williams said. “I must say, Brewton has done very well.”

Amy Cooley and Dewayne Carroll were on hand at Ft. Crawford Park Monday to be a part of the video being compiled by the organization. Carolyn Jennings accompanied the reporting team to locations throughout the city.

Cooley said the success of the community garden at the park can be mostly attributed to a dedicated group of volunteers.

“Last year we didn’t have any money but, that didn’t stop us,” Cooley said.

“The volunteers we have are really excited about the community gardens and the hope of a community center. They deserve the credit for the success of our gardens.”

The harvest of the gardens has helped spark an interest in others in the community as well, Cooley said. “Volunteers have harvested the crops and given them to those who needed them and it has sparked additional interest from others. I hope we can increase volunteers because of the success we’ve already seen.”

The RWJ Foundation grant awarded to the local group is just one of hundreds of similar grants awarded across the country. The organization’s Web site stated the mission of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is to improve the health and health care of all Americans with one clear goal: to help society transform itself for the better.