Creative Asbury Park: Moving Toward a Culture of Wellness

NJHI 2016: Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey – Communities Moving to Action, Round 2 Building a Healthier Asbury Park

On January 11 & 12, I was invited to attend the Creative Asbury Park Call to Collaboration Conference which brought together a diverse group representing all areas of the city. This gathering was part of Creative New Jersey’s statewide series of community-based meetings, aimed at helping to fuel current efforts and to foster creativity, collaboration, and inclusion by facilitating cross-sector conversations and partnerships.

Over the course of the two-day meeting, participants were invited to spontaneously develop workshop sessions that fell under a central guiding question: How can we work more creatively and collaboratively to build our local economy, strengthen ties across our culturally rich community, and leverage our diverse assets, so that all who live, work and play in Asbury Park can benefit from our city’s renaissance?

Thirty-eight breakout sessions took place on topics as varied as the skills and interests of the 125+ participants.

I was excited to lead two sessions on behalf of the Alliance for a Healthier Asbury Park:

  • How can we make Asbury Park a healthier place to live, work, and play using policy, environmental change and people power?
  • How can we make Asbury Park healthier by improving access to physical fitness in public spaces or by improving current spaces?

Overall, I met several people who have since joined our coalition and I hope to partner with a faith-based organization willing to open its gym to more community residents to help residents get more exercise. I was also thrilled to engage Mayor John Moor in my first workshop and to hear him share with the entire conference at day’s end that he is committed to start a Mayor’s Wellness Campaign Committee and be a champion for health in Asbury Park!

Other workshops from the conference resulted in these exciting outcomes:

  • A new Mayor’s Youth Council (the result of a session led by local High School students);
  • More collaboration to help the homeless;
  • Social service organizations working across sectors to bring services to clients in need;
  • An arts & culture and tourism collaboration to plan a multicultural city-wide festival;
  • Partnering to increase the reach of existing re-entry programs and help more people

It was an intense and productive two days, and I invite all residents of Asbury Park to join us in moving our community toward a Culture of Wellness!

Hear Building a Healthier Asbury Park project director Lisa Lee share highlights from Creative New Jersey’s Creative Asbury Park Call to Collaboration convening on January 11 & 12, 2017. (video courtesy of Creative New Jersey)

Lisa Lee
EZ Ride/Meadowlink