February was another amazing month for our Health and Wellness Program. Families from both our communities participated in our events and we look forward to serving more residents in Liberty City with our programs and Health Fair this month.
Liberty City Fresh Food Co-Op
MCI’s monthly Fresh Food Co-Op occurred on February 24th, 2017. MCI received feedback from residents claiming finances to be a major barrier to participating in the Fresh Food Co-Op. As such, this month shares were given away for free – MCI’s “Month of Love”. Participation was at the highest it has been since August 2016. 78 total shares were given away. For future Fresh Food Co-Ops, MCI is looking to implement the use of an EBT scanner to allow residents to pay for boxes using SNAP benefits. The intention is to help residents overcome economic barriers while still promoting self sufficiency. It also important to note that the expansion of MCI services to the Lincoln Fields apartments has also increased participation. Last month 3 Lincoln Fields families participated, and this month 10 families participated.
Family Healthy Cooking Lessons
In collaboration with Wellness in the Schools (WITS), on February 21st, 2017 from 6:00-8:00pm MCI hosted Family Fitness Fun Night at Charles R. Drew K-8 Center. The event consisted of three fitness group activites – yoga, dance, and kickball, and a healthy dinner. Children and families rotated between stations of their choice finding the activity that best suited them, or sampling all three. At the close of the event, all staff, children, and adults gathered together to enjoy salads, sandwiches, and wraps. There was technical issue with the sign in sheet, so the exact number of attendees is unkown. However, were were able to determine that a minimum of 22 families attended, and the dinner order for 130 people was all gone by the end of the evnt. MCI and WITS have both been contacted by families and Charles R. Drew staff requesting more of these events. The children were even asking for more salad in the days that followed. It was a successful event that encouraged a healthy lifestyle and facilitated family engagement. MCI has proposed to hold the event quarterly at a minimum.
The UFit Gym and Bike Share Program continue to operate from 2:30pm-5:30pm Monday through Friday, weather permitting. MCI recently received permission to move the UFit Gym into a permanent location at Charles R. Drew K-8 Center. The gym will be in an unused portable building, and will be open to the community as well as MCI and Charles R. Drew staff members. In addition, Fast Twitch Performance Training donated used gym equipment that will help furnish the larger gym space. Fast Twitch has also agreed to a site visit to help create the new gym space and train MCI UFit Gym staff. The new space is proposed to open mid-late March.
MCI’s community yoga classes continue to occur every Monday at 1:00pm. Per request of the community, an additional class has been added on Fridays at 4:30pm.
After-School Program Efforts
Nutrition and Healthy Cooking Education
The second round of Common Threads curriculum began February 15th, 2017. The children will be repeating the Small Bites Curriculum, but staff will utilize new activities and recipes. Through this redundancy, MCI aims to increase our children’s mastery of essential nutrition concepts.