Community Garden Health & Wellness Pilot Project
Providing Hope began to look at ways to create healthy communities for our youth by launching the Community Garden Health & Wellness Pilot Project. The program consisted of both hands on learning and lectures to include fitness/movement exercises, nutrition lectures, and hands on learning in the garden.
In the U.S. at least one out of five kids is overweight. The number of overweight children continues to grow. Over the last two decades, this number has increased by more than 50 percent and the number of “extremely” overweight children has nearly doubled. Children become overweight for a variety of reasons. Besides genetic factors, the two most common factors are lack of physical activity, and unhealthy eating patterns. The Community Garden Project engaged the students with getting involved in real-world learning outdoors. Some of the students’ reaction to seeing a vegetable grow from a plant was magic to their eyes!
It was apparent that these students were so disconnected from their food source which also enables poor eating habits. These poor eating habits develop early in life, so when the students learned how to eat healthy in the nutrition lectures the results can be life altering. By teaching the students about nutrition, it helped them understand the reasons behind choosing an apple or choosing a candy bar.
Each student completed a pre and post nutrition survey during the first and last nutrition lecture session. The survey tested knowledge concerning food labels, food groups, and serving size. The students scored 60% on the pre nutrition survey while gaining 25% of knowledge based on an 85% score on the post nutrition survey. The objective of teaching healthy eating practices was to provide the students with examples of healthy options. The nutrition lectures guided their choices and provided healthful foods which were available within the crops of the community garden.
“Restoring Dreams at the Jersey Shore” Campaign
During each weekly session the students participated in fun and interactive exercises. The students learned simple and effective ways to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. In addition, they learned how to exercise without going to the gym or having access to fancy equipment. Providing regular physical activity combined with healthy eating habits and hands on learning in the community garden provided a recipe for success for the students.
When Super Storm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore, Providing Hope mobilized to help in its recovery. Families and communities needed support to rebuild and lift them form the debris and despair that weighed heavy on each one of them from the storm. Providing Hope designed a commemorative beach badge as a symbol of hope: “Restoring Dreams at the Jersey Shore”. The universal symbol of access to our favorite beaches now became a unique fundraising effort for each family in need of our help to rebuild and gain access to life they once knew before Sandy.
Adopt a Family
In keeping with our mission, Providing Hope adopted families that were affected and/ or displaced by Super Storm. Providing Hope partnered with the Community YMCA and local school districts to bring assistance to these families during the holidays.