Thirteen recipients to launch a broad range of programs benefitting
residents and behavioral health professionals.
Jennie Carter and Saidy Garzon, Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group
August 10 2020 – BeWellPBC, a countywide behavioral health initiative engaging residents, providers and systems to advance behavioral health and wellness, announced the recipients of their inaugural “Be Well Do Well Mini-Grants” during a celebration on July 29, 2020. Thirteen awardees, including residents, nonprofit organizations, the faith community, and schools received grant awards between $1,000 and $5,000 to launch their innovative ideas for improving mental health in the coming year.
Over 100 grant applications were received from Palm Beach County residents and organizations with ideas to build more equitable and inclusive behavioral health support, promote workforce wellness and focus on residents most in need. The thirteen recipients will provide a broad range of behavioral health support benefitting youth, seniors, homeless and underserved individuals, behavioral health professionals, and individuals in the arts community. Recipients participated in the high-spirited celebration by safely congregating outside of BeWellPBC’s offices in downtown West Palm Beach to receive their grant checks, gifts, and balloons while others participated via Zoom and Facebook.
“The outpouring of innovative ideas from people in every area of our county who want to create opportunities for people to improve their mental health so they can thrive has been an inspiration,” said Lauren Zuchman, BeWellPBC executive director. “We are so excited to see these creative projects come to life to touch the lives of people of all ages and serve as a catalyst for long-term positive change in individuals, communities, and workplaces.”
A panel of seven community panelists of lived and learned experts in behavioral health selected the following thirteen grantees to benefit a wide cross-section of Palm Beach County:
Florenzia Davis and Health Ministry: “Tech Savvy Wellness Solutions for Seniors”
Addresses isolation and loneliness among senior residents by providing technology-based interventions and training to improve communication and social connections with their families and the community.
Lisa Cobb of Youth Empowered 2 Prosper: “Prepare Our Youth for Tomorrow”
Designed to empower and instill confidence in teens and youth of color who come from under-served/low socioeconomic backgrounds by preparing them to thrive as adults, including resume writing, interview skills, leadership development, financial literacy, and internship/apprenticeship opportunities.
Robin Russo and Dean Glorioso of Palm Beach State College: “Sister to Sister Project”
Advances behavioral health and wellness of 50 Black, Brown and Hispanic women who are first-time college students by pairing participants with peer mentors, engaging students in a series of health education topics, including mental health counseling, and offering life skills sessions.
Katie Bortniak and Altavia Evans of Vita Nova Inc.: “Celebrating Diversity”
Palm Beach County youth ages 18-25 impacted by homelessness will come together to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion through artistic expression. Youth will work on projects leading to a month-long celebration in June 2021 for Pride Month, a Juneteenth celebration, and a multicultural performance and art showcase.
Laura Winston of Indian Ridge School: “The Obstacle Course That Leads to Serenity”
School staff and students will create an obstacle course leading to a serenity garden to promote healthy habits with opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving, creativity, and reflection. The program aims to improve attendance, perseverance, self-esteem, physical fitness, and mental health while strengthening school community.
Behavioral Health Workforce
Sarah Palmer of Dovecot Farm: “Self Compassion Matters”
Dovecot Farm will host Palm Beach County caregivers, medical professionals, and those who sustain the medical workforce at their equestrian retreat in Loxahatchee Groves for a much-needed self-care day and to build resilience.
Dominika Nolan of Center for Child Counseling: “Healing the Healers”
A workshop series designed to support front-line mental health therapists. Topics will include stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, burnout and trauma among Black healers, and self-care strategies.
Underserved and Homelessness
Karlene Stevens of Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church: “In the Garden with Tabernacle”
A community garden organized, planted, and harvested by the community and distributed freely to people living in homelessness and in the food desert encompassing West Palm Beach’s Northwest Historic District. The garden provides food security, nutrition education, and mental health respite.
Marchele Courtney of Family Promise of South Palm Beach County: “Sharing Survival Stories Saturday”
The program will target families living in homelessness, helping mothers gain strength and motivation through listening to the stories of single mothers who have survived the challenges of being homeless.
Kenyon Link of BRIDGES at Riviera Beach: “It Starts with Me”
A 16-week educational series that will encourage participants to make changes in their lives and the lives of their friends and family. The goal is to educate and empower the participants with tools and skills which will afford them better opportunities.
Carlos Edwards, a Palm Beach County Resident: “I See You”
A safe outlet for men to come together and understand trauma and how it affects the lives of African Americans, feel safe sharing with each other, and learn new ways to deal with emotion and other internal issues that are taboo to the African American community.
Rhonda Rogers of Lake Worth West Resident Planning Group/BRIDGES at Lake Worth West: “Women Helping Women”
A program engaging 25 under-served Hispanic/Latina women to help each other overcome stress, anxiety, and depression. Activities will include Zumba, yoga, cooking, group sessions to build peer support, and connections to treatment and resources.
Deon C. Jefferson, a Palm Beach County Resident: “Express Yourself” Fashion Art Ball
Uniting artists and individuals that have dealt with mental health/behavioral health challenges. Ten artists will be encouraged to submit original related artwork to be showcased at the event. The ball will open with a behavioral health/mental health-themed fashion show and end with a dance party.
BeWellPBC will support the thirteen awardees during the coming year through creating community among the mini-grant recipients, sharing program progress, providing support, and sharing resources along their journey. For more information about BeWellPBC, please visit BeWellPBC.org.
BeWellPBC, launched in 2019, is a behavioral health initiative committed to supporting community solutions from the residents themselves while increasing and improving interagency coordination and alignment for advancing behavioral health and wellness in Palm Beach County. Its unique model brings together community members directly impacted by behavioral health with foundations, government and nonprofit agencies, faith-based organizations, health care providers and the school district to create integrated, comprehensive solutions that are most responsive to the needs of every resident. For more information, visit www.bewellpbc.org or call 561-837-2277.
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