2015, What a Year

posted Dec 30, 2015, 11:27 AM by Blh Webber   [ updated Dec 30, 2015, 12:30 PM by Site Managers ]
We have reached the end of another fruitful year for the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative (CHVI), and as with every year we were able to learn, reflect and grow in 2015.   Although we’ve made a lot of progress in 2015, we know the real work has just begun.  The Claremont Healthy Village Initiative looks forward to aim higher in 2016, continually pushing the bar further.  In order to do so, it is always helpful to look back on what has been accomplished and what goals and exciting opportunities exist for 2016:

Mission, Vision and Core Values: When the CHVI was started in 2012 the intention was to change the health of the community by creating partnerships with private, public and community sectors.  It was realized going into 2015 that there was a need to refresh this goal and set a strong foundation that partners agreed to and could reflect back on that clearly stated the mission, vision and core values.  Accomplished in the first quarter of 2015, the mission, vision, and values are set to catapult CHVI farther in 2016.

  GrowNYC Food Box: The locally-grown pre-packaged produce program completed its third and most successful year as a partner.  Live cooking demonstrations reinvigorated the program.  In 2016 we anticipate new and exciting expansion in terms of location, marketing, cooking education for the community, and nutrition information dissemination.

·         Leadership Training: A group of prospective community and resident leaders were recruited and participate in training for community leaders.  The training aims to strengthen their leadership skills and teach how to develop a community vision, assess community strengths and needs.  This was made possible by CHVI partner Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba (MEDICC) and generously funded by a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJ) grant.  We are excited for the residents and community members to complete this training and take on more of a leadership role in 2016 and continue community capacity development.

 “What Can I Eat?”:  The Department of Family Medicine partnered with the American Diabetes Association National office in order to pilot an intense nutrition education program for people living with type 2 diabetes.  As one of the CHVI partners Family Medicine at Bronx-Lebanon extended the opportunity to community leaders to be trained as class facilitators and for residents to participate in the class.

Youth Council: One of the year’s biggest accomplishments was a new partnership with Directions For Our Youth (DFOY), who in partnership with the Claremont Neighborhood Center assembled a group of 45 youth to begin training in leadership, activism, advocacy, community responsibility, public speaking and presentation skills.  The CHVI believes community capacity and development are necessary for sustainability, and will be a focus for 2016 and beyond.

Senior Arts and Mental Health Program:  CHVI partners William Hodson Senior Center, Casita Maria and the Department of Family Medicine at Bronx-Lebanon were awarded a two-year grant by the The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation.  The grant, which kicked off in September brings arts programming, taught by Casita Maria artists, to the William Hodson Senior Center.  The group classes allow seniors an opportunity to pursue the arts while also engaging fellow seniors.  Family Medicine capitalizes on the captive audience of seniors to offer brief lessons on mental health and recruit those in need to participate in group therapy sessions with a licensed clinical social worker, as well as private appointments with a geriatrician.  The program saw large growth in the final quarter of 2015 and looks forward to a successful 2016 and beyond.

Protecting Neighborhood Environmental Beauty: A small grant, awarded via the Citizens Committee For New York City Neighborhood Grants in 2015, will be implemented in Spring/Summer of 2016 to fund the design and build of beautiful tree guards.  Even more exciting is the plan to have youth and seniors design and paint the tree guards together, connecting generations in an effort to beautify the community. 

 Youth, Food, Art and more: A huge achievement in 2015 was the awarding of a South Bronx Healthy and Livable Neighborhoods Grant by the New York Community Trust to the Claremont Neighborhood Center.  With many CHVI partners co-grantees, all are working together to increase access to fresh & healthy food, increase opportunities for physical activity by activating open spaces, expand the development of neighborhood capacity by growing the Youth Council, and increase access to the arts and cultural in the Claremont community.  2016 and 2017 are geared to experience tremendous growth and opportunity with the various programs and projects that will be introduced to Claremont.  

The Community’s Events: The Summer of 2015 saw another successful season of community activation and advocacy furor.  Organized by community leaders events such as National Night Out, Morris House Family Day, Stop The Violence Rally, RFT and Bringing In The Peace, Morrisania-Webster Family Day, HealthFirst Health Expo and more were happily supported by CHVI partner organizations and CHVI looks forward to another prosperous calendar of events in 2016 and for years to come.  The events provide a fun and subtle way to engage community members, provide health screenings, and disseminate health materials.

Youth Jobs and Work Experience:  MapCorps, created in Chicago offers youth an opportunity gain real-world experience while also learning more about the assets within their community.  Partnering with the Mt. Sinai’s Adolescent Health Center twenty Claremont youth had the chance to learn technology skills and comprehensive community mapping experience while also earning a stipend upon completion.  Youth worked for 6 weeks in Summer 2015 in various local zip codes mapping community assets by collecting, cataloguing and analyzing data about businesses and organizations.


With just a small sample of what has been accomplished in 2015, 2016 looks to be even bigger and better.  The continually growing and wide-ranging opportunities for community youth, adults and seniors will continue to improve Claremont, bringing the neighborhood closer to CHVI’s vision of:  A nurtured, sustained and vibrant community with empowered residents that have taken charge of their health and well-being.

Thank you to all who helped and contributed to 2015’s successes.  It is not possible without the support from each and every one of CHVI’s partners, both organizations and individual community members make immeasurable contributions to the success of the Claremont Healthy Village Initiative. In 2016 we look forward to collecting more data to show how successful a program like the CHVI can be, while also utilizing it to make smarter and more informed decisions for future strategies.  2016 will also bring an increased presence of community members and residents, as CHVI sub-committees are called upon to push forward the improvements and opportunities they envision for each and every resident.