An Update from our Neighborhood Connections to Health Work Groups!

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Neighborhood Connections to Health

Neighborhood Connections to Health has had a productive few months! Our four work groups: access to healthy food options, walkability/bikeability, inter-generational physical activity programs, and lead poisoning prevention, have met consistently to begin their work of building a healthier Freehold!

Our work groups also convened again as a larger coalition to share their progress, successes, and challenges thus far.

Here are a few updates from our work groups on their progress:

Access to Healthy Food Options

Members of this work group include representatives from the following organizations: Visiting Nurse Association, Freehold Open Door, Fulfill, Court Street School, Master Gardeners, Social Community Activities Network (SCAN), Meals on Wheels, and Emergency Housing and Advocacy Program (EHAP). The work group is planning for enhancing the community gardens within Freehold Borough as well as working toward a mobile Farmer’s Market supported by funding awarded to the Freehold Mayor’s Wellness Council from the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network. Other plans include ensuring there are feeding programs available every day of the week within the community and creating an educational campaign calendar to help community members learn about and access the feeding programs.


This work group has been reviewing the existing Master Plans for Freehold Township and Freehold Borough. A representative from the NJ Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) has been invited to speak with our larger coalition about the Freehold Transit Village Concept, which directly aligns with the goals and objectives of the work group. Work group members are hopeful for an opportunity to collaborate on this project. Group discussion has also brought forth the ideas of installing walk lines and signage on biking and walking trails, conducting walk audits of the community, and creating bike-friendly parking.

Inter-generational Physical Activity Programs

This group has a vision of bringing our community’s youth and seniors together through physical activity programs. This will not only increase opportunities for staying active but will also help increase socialization opportunities for the older adult population, which is commonly isolated from the rest of the community. The work group has identified several existing youth and senior groups within Freehold and is brainstorming ways to bring them together in a way that would be enjoyable for all. Most recently, members of this work group attended a family night carnival event at the Freehold Intermediate School. A survey was distributed to children and their families to get an idea of what types of programs would be of interest to community members, as well as the barriers that residents face to accessing programs that currently exist in Freehold. The same survey will be distributed to several senior groups within Freehold. The work group is hopeful that the survey results will help inform their next steps in the planning process.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Neighborhood Connections to Health and the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group are working on a grant proposal to the Nicholson Foundation for funding to support a primary lead poisoning prevention program in Freehold. The group has discussed plans to move forward in collaborating with the Freehold Borough schools for a screening program and is actively working to connect with landlords in the area. With support from Community Affairs and Resource Center (CARC), Casa Freehold, CentraState Healthcare System, New Beginnings Agape Christian Center, Freehold Area Health Department, Freehold Borough Superintendent, Court Street School, and potentially the Nicholson Foundation, the work group is confident in its ability to implement a primary lead poisoning prevention program in Freehold.

Learn more about each work group and get involved in this work to promote health and well-being in Freehold by connecting with project director Colleen Nelson and following us on Facebook: @HealthyFreehold.

Brett Nance
Freehold Area Health Department