This month ended our mini grant experience. I am so grateful and thankful to have been chosen as a grant recipient. This was my first time writing and applying for a grant so I am extremely happy that I was able to have this experience. I originally went into this with thinking that I was going to have a partner to help with implementing/executing the project but my partner ended up leaving the agency so I was the main one in charge throughout the majority of the grant. It was very stressful and tiring at times to try to coordinate and plan everything on my own. I did have some support from co-workers for my events in June which was very appreciated as I don’t think these events would have been able to be pulled off without them. The final monthly workshop of dancing to drums was one of the better workshops that we have have throughout the series. The youth seemed to really enjoy it and be engaged. It also had one of our larger turnout of participants for our events. I really enjoyed watching the youth smile and interact with the facilitators. The changes in some of their affect was noticeable throughout the workshops. I hope to be able to partner with these facilitators again at some point. The June events went well overall. I wish there had been more participation and turn out from the youth but otherwise I think it was successful. I definitely had to pivot on half of my original ideas due to lack of participation from the youth. The LGBTQ event with the t-shirt making night and pride event turned into a tie dye t-shirt making night and going to the Palm Beach Pride Market. We had a good turn out for both of these events and the youth seemed to be overall happy and involved during the events. The multicultural event turned into partnering with Jeannette Brown who runs the Utterance Open Mic. Nights. This was to provide an opportunity for any youth who wanted to preform any of the skills they had worked on throughout the year a space to do so. There was one youth who attended and they have been talking about it every since. The Juneteenth event of having people turn in art or photos related to Black Lives Matter turned into attending a Juneteenth concert put on by Spady Museum at the Art’s Garage in Delray. There were no youth that attended but I enjoyed the experience. The Spot Anniversary event stayed pretty true to the original idea of having a lunch type event to celebrate the anniversary of the Spot building at Vita Nova. There were some youth that were able to attend and it was great to have the opportunity to show them the building and have them actually see some of the resources we have available for them in the building. I am optimistic that even though throughout the project there was limited participation that some seeds were planted and some memories were created for the youth. Even if the impact at this time seems small I am hopeful that it will grow over time and a ripple has been made in the water that can possibly turn into a wave. I know that my first grant experience won’t be one that I forget anytime soon.
AYSO (American Youth Soccer Organization) As a recipient of Healthier Jupiter’s first mini grant, we are happy to share our story of success. Within our “Charter Neighborhoods” there was, and is, a need for an opportunity for the youth to come together and play; Soccer was the preferred sport. I applied to AYSO to open a region in Jupiter. When the request was approved, we began playing soccer at the Jupiter Elementary School field on weekends. In the second year of play, HJ awarded AYSO Region 1639 a mini grant of $2500 for continuation of our soccer program with an emphasis on improving health among the mothers of the players. For 10 weeks we used the track at the school as a Walk/Run contest, the mothers improved their health and won Publix gift cards and had a great time! As our season came to a close, the families were treated to an evening of fun, food, and education at the Jupiter High School cafeteria. The JHS chefs prepared a typical Mayan dinner, with a healthy twist. Kathleen Waddell arranged for a Spanish-speaking educational speaker who gave us tips on improving our nutrition and provided a better understanding of the detriments of poor nutrition on the lives of our families. Our local marimba band played music while we all danced. HJ’s interest in us helped solidify our program in its second year. This soccer program, by the grace of God, continues to provide exercise opportunities to low income, high risk youth. Thank you for your part in this. As the years go on, some of our players have been invited to participate in the JTAA and Jupiter United programs where they make significant contributions to the success of Jupiter teams. Go Healthier Jupiter!