Women Helping WomenA Story of SuccessLake Worth West Resident Planning Group, Inc. has been able to provide educational workshops to the community for many years. We have been blessed to have great community partners who facilitate capacity building workshops about a variety of topics to educate the Lake Worth West families and raise awareness regarding physical and mental health, nutrition, safety, and child development, among others.In 2016, the Lake Worth West staff realized the need to offer a safe space for the Lake Worth West women to share with other women their own experiences, challenges, and successes as mothers and wives in the community. The women wanted to create a net of support. That is how the Womens Club began. Before the pandemic, we were able to do sessions in our building, go out to parks for walks and picnics, to museums, botanical gardens, restaurants, and other places. Through this program women have been able to visit places they have never been before, or will never be able to afford, that serve to reduce lifes stressors. Despite the pandemic, 2020 has brought us many blessings, including the Be Well Do Well grant for LWWs Womens Club/Women Helping Women behavioral health and wellness initiative. With the funding we were granted, the participants have been able to participate in new weekly wellness and stress reduction activities like Zumba and Yoga classes. The group also added a weekly cooking class named Lets Get Cooking. The facilitator of this amazing class is a professional nutritionist who comes up with healthy and easy recipes to teach to Women Helping Women participants about eating for good emotional and physical health. In a recent session of the Women Helping Women program, some participants expressed their gratitude and appreciation for all the activities offered. Some of their comments were: The zumba class has helped me and my daughter to relief some stress in these times of craziness. The Yoga class is my time to relax after a busy day at work. The yoga class has taught different ways to breathe to calm myself down when I am anxious and stressed out. I have learned how to cook healthy recipes for me and my family.Thank you for that excellent cooking class, my family and I enjoyed this delicious and healthy recipe.Our most recent accomplishment happened during the November Women Helping Women session when two of the moms took the lead of the class, showed a well-prepared Power Point ant talked to 18 more participants about womens empowerment and beauty stereotypes. They facilitated a great session, allowed other women to share their experiences and opinions and encouraged everyone to love and appreciate themselves the way they are. They reminded everybody how important and valuable they are and the importance of believing in themselves to be able to reach their goals and dreams. After seeing these women leading that class, we, as organization, felt proud of them and their accomplishments. We confirmed that this program has touched the lives of women for good and that we want to keep women empowering more women to become self-sufficient and great community leaders. With the Be Well grant, we have been able to incentivize womens participation and motivate their leadership skills through gift cards and kitchen utensils helpful to preparing the recipes learned in the cooking class. Thank you very much to Be Well Do Well for your support!
Behave Healthy Riviera Beach will focus on teaching school aged children the benefits of healthy eating and making healthy decisions. This program is an community initiative created by Smoothie Me Please, a local smoothie bar in Riviera Beach. Students will be able to virtually attend live workshops and cooking classes. The classes will explore how to wash and prep/cut fruits and vegetables. The students will be empowered to make their own smoothie meal prep kits for themselves and the family.
As a veteran teacher working with students that have emotional and behavioral challenges, I always wanted to create a program that could impact students by developing healthy habits with skills that can be used throughout their lives to manage stress and maintain healthy bodies. When Covid shut everyone down in the spring, I knew that this needed to happen more than ever – my students were isolated and not engaging as they did in the classroom. I read Activate by Katherine Mills Hernandez this summer and was pleasantly surprised to find that much research has been done showing the positive impact movement has on learning – as a teacher, it’s logical to try something as simple as adding movement to improve student focus and success. Other research shows that exercise is beneficial for mental health as well. There was no way that I wasn’t going to add movement to my lessons and conduct my own “research.” How to convince the students became my challenge.THEN, I stumbled upon an email from Palm Beach Health about the Be Well PBC Mini-Grant! After the Mini-Grant Workshop, I felt confident enough to apply for my first grant, keeping my students in mind. The program idea involves students getting fit, creating obstacle courses at home, designing an obstacle course for school, and finally creating the course on-site so that students can compete for personal goals and bragging rights. At the end of July I was surprised to learn that $3,000 had been awarded for the idea! I was thrilled and wanted to order the fitness equipment for everyone to start getting stronger a.s.a.p., and was disappointed that the process was a little time consuming with the School District, BUT that turned out to be beneficial.Instead of students having the exercise gear for the first day of school, they got to design a logo for the materials and choose the items for purchase after a lesson on budgeting! While we waited for the items to arrive, we worked out for a few minutes every day in class, exploring different websites and videos. Student engagement grew as their skills improved!When the items arrived, they were eager to take them home and start using them. They are required to log 30 minutes of activity every day. I hold a virtual workout session three times per week! Almost every day someone tells me a story about something they are able to do now that they couldn’t a few months ago. Now that most have “bought into” fitness, we are going to start the fun part of designing the obstacle courses at home over the winter break, and then on campus in January and February.The process is taking longer than I envisioned, but the results so far are greater than I dreamed! This would not be possible without the BeWellPBC Mini-Grant!
So far the Celebrating Diversity project has been able to conduct the first two workshops of the year long project. As one of the facilitators it has been amazing to see the artwork that that the have created by the youth during the workshops. So far we have been able to discuss topics related to using art to express you inner self and how art can be used as social commentary. During the last project a majority of participants reported that they learned something new about themselves, learned something about expressing themselves through art, and feel that they can express themselves better then they could before the workshop.
Sister to Sister had it’s first Mentor Training Experience. We had 3 staff, 17 Mentors (black, Hispanic, Asian, and mixed race) of women and a trainer through Zoom to learn about how to work with their mentees. It was discus what techniques Mentors could use to connect with their mentees. In addition, Mentors were informed that they would have a folder that they could access to review what was discuss during the training with further resources. Actually, a comment was given by a participant that it was well organized and they felt that it would help them with being a good Mentor to their mentee.
While coordinating the Outreach breakfast program, I asked for volunteers to work in our community garden on Saturdays from 7-9am. On the next Saturday 3 people showed up, 2 of whom were homeless. We worked together putting bricks around new garden beds, watering the entre garden, and planting vegetable plants and harvesting produce to be given out on the next day at breakfast. They enjoyed it so much they asked to come back the following Saturday. They continue to come and have spread the word in the community. We are up to 7 volunteers on a regular basis. We give them a $20 stipend donation each Saturday. It’s not much, but they appreciate the money and have told us it gives them a sense of having done something good. As a result of their feedback, we made the commitment to find additional grants in order to bring more homeless volunteers on board. Our volunteers are helping us to grow a garden on Saturdays that feed people on Sundays when they come for breakfast. It’s truly a win win for everyone. God is blessing our ministry and mission to feed our community.
Our community garden is flourishing. One of our regular volunteers who is partly responsible is Frank, who volunteered for about 2 months every Saturday. He also made himself available for other handyman jobs around our church to keep busy. He saved up the money he earned as he was trying to get housing. Recently, we found out he was able to find permanent housing and get off the streets. He still does not have personal transportation and his new home is not on a bus line where he can continue to work in the garden. His energy, hard work, and enthusiasm will be missed. This is truly a “Praise Report”. We are proud of him for working toward his goal of ending his homelessness and finding a home.
Family Promise of South Palm Beach County through the BeWell DoWell mini-grant began our series of speakers for “Sharing Survival Stories Saturday” on November 7, 2020. The purpose of the series of eight speakers over the next twelve months is for formerly homeless mothers to share their story of how they overcame extreme adversity and challenges and draw from their strength to become successful women, business leaders and mothers.Our first speaker was Shandra Stringer, who left the care of her grandmother at 16 years old, to escape a harsh life and to focus finishing high school. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Management and then a Masters in Non-profit Management all the while raising her daughter. She worked two jobs and at one point she had to make the financial decision of either paying her rent or her car payment. Since she needed a way to get to work, she decided they would have to live in the car for a few weeks. Shandra stressed that she never felt like a victim and that through her village – her church and her friends, Shandra went on to become a successful motivational speaker, an entrepreneur of three companies and above all else an excellent example of what one can do in life. Her motto is .If I Can Help Somebody along the Way then My Living is not in Vain
Family Promise of South Palm Beach County is very excited about our first event “Sharing Survival Stories Saturday” on November 7th. It is through the BeWell DoWell mini-grant that our idea of sharing stories of single mothers surviving homelessness to thrive as successful women, mothers and entrepreneurs. The goal is to motivate and support the moms as they journey on their road to success!