New Jersey Health Initiatives - A Better State of Health
A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program
The Survival Guide to a Healthier Community: A Look at What Perth Amboy’s Been Up To

The Emerging Leaders for a Healthier Community met in April to discuss their summer action plan. During the meeting, the Emerging Leaders finalized their project goals and verbalized their intended outcomes. By the conclusion of the meeting, the youth decided to center their action plan on increasing community engagement and expanding opportunities that promote the physical health, safety, and well-being of Perth Amboy residents. They hope to accomplish this goal by August 31, 2018.

For their goal to be realized, the youth outlined three workable objectives. These objectives include:

  1. raising awareness of traffic and pedestrian safety issues, and providing strategies that keep pedestrians and drivers safe,
  2. assessing Perth Amboy’s current pedestrian access network and identifying possible changes that would promote physical activity throughout the city, and
  3. promoting healthier eating habits by increasing access to fruits and vegetables in Perth Amboy. Follow the Emerging Leaders on Instagram to meet them on the road in the YMCA Veggie Van – Perth Amboy’s first and only mobile farmers’ market.  

Since April, the Emerging Leaders have begun to increase community engagement. The Emerging Leaders conducted a community safety and food insecurity survey. The survey is a part of their goal to improve street and traffic safety, as well as access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Survey respondents marked “More Education” as one of the most effective measures to address traffic issues in Perth Amboy. The Emerging Leaders also noticed respondents marked “Distracted Driving” as the biggest traffic and street safety issue in our community.

As a result, the Emerging Leaders will conduct daily workshops to educate Perth Amboy residents about street and traffic safety. They will also conduct walking audits of city streets where respondents said they feel unsafe.

Additionally, respondents were asked about their interest in accessible, affordable nutritious food. The majority of respondents indicated they were interested. Correspondingly, this summer, with the help of the Raritan Bay Area YMCA, the Emerging Leaders will sell nutritious fruits and vegetables from a mobile Veggie Van.

The YMCA Veggie Van is Perth Amboy’s first and only mobile farmers’ market. The Veggie Van runs year-round, making daily stops in many neighborhoods, ensuring that fruits and vegetables are available to people who otherwise have limited access to fresh produce. The Emerging Leaders team will sell locally grown, top-quality fruits and vegetables at reduced prices, and accept SNAP benefits.

Follow the Emerging Leaders on Instagram to meet them on the road in the Veggie Van. Track all of the Next Generation Community Leaders teams through the hashtag #NJLeaders2030.

The Grantee Blog publishes a different NJHI-supported community’s update every week. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Project
Author
Tobi Raji, Emerging Leaders Coach
Organization
The Jewish Renaissance Foundation