Long-Term Change has to Start with Local, Collaborative Commitment

The Hunterdon County Partnership for Health uses #SmallChangesBigImpact to describe their work. This couldn’t be a better descriptor for what grantees of New Jersey Health Initiatives, the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation are doing across the state to build healthier communities. A few examples:

In Hunterdon, the Hunterdon County Partnership for Health, led by NJHI grantee Hunterdon Healthcare Foundation, has engaged school nurses from the Hunterdon School District to implement a weekend backpack program, that quickly identified 70 students and now, in partnership with school nurses and NORWESCAP, supplies them with backpacks filled with nutritious foods every weekend.

In Plainfield, the Healthy Plainfield coalition identified high school graduation as an issue in their community. Coalition partners United Way of Greater Union County, the Plainfield School District and the Plainfield YMCA developed a program for high school seniors to reclaim their missing credits and graduate on time by participating in a school approved program at the YMCA outside of school hours. This program could improve the community’s graduation rate by 5%.

The Cape Regional Wellness Alliance is focused on raising awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and educating the entire community around Trauma Informed Care. Recently, the Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution naming November ACES Awareness Month in Cape May County.

NJHI is funding 20 coalitions, and there are dozens of others across the state, implementing small changes affecting local systems, policies, and environments that create bigger, long-lasting impact in their communities and across the state. We are always looking for more examples to add to our conversation to showcase and celebrate how communities in New Jersey are pulling together to build a Culture of Health. If you have a story we would love to hear it.

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