2nd Annual Fatherhood Barbecue Competition

Jun 28, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

The smell of burned apple-wood began to fill the air at Pearl Plaza as fathers and their children lit their grills to produce some of the best tasting barbecue at the Second Annual Fatherhood Barbecue Competition. Six teams competed in an atmosphere that was filled with smoke, laughter and bonding presented by the Fatherhood PRIDE program, an initiative of the Coalition.

The Fatherhood Barbecue Competition began in 2016, as a way for fathers to bond with their children. Fathers play a critical role in a child’s development. Studies show that children with early father involvement are more likely to be healthy and stay healthy. Men have an innate desire to protect, care and provide for children. The barbecue provided the perfect platform to do so.

The barbecue kicked off at 7:30 a.m. as fathers and their children begin to slow cook their beef brisket, dry rub their ribs and season their chicken.

As fathers and their children grilled, the parking lot filled with over 100 participants and community leaders taking part in the festivities. Children enjoyed crafts and face painting, while partner agencies provided information on their services.

On the heels of Father’s Day, the barbecue competition provided a family-friendly atmosphere that allowed fathers to bond with their children and community members to be exposed to local services while raising awareness about infant mortality.

 

Mother of the Month: May 2017

Jun 1, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  2 comments

The Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition would like to congratulate Keandra Simmons on being selected as the May Mother of the Month.

Keandra, a mother of one and participant of the Magnolia Project, was nominated by her case manager, Anna Matthews.

“I nominated Keandra as the mother of the month because of how much she has grown this past year,” Anna said. “She is truly a great mother who loves her son, and wants to give him the life that she didn’t have.”

Keandra grew up in Jacksonville, where as a child she witnessed her mother be domestically abused.

“I just remember him (her mom’s boyfriend) hitting her and kicking her,” Keandra said. “I told myself that I would never allow myself to go through that or allow my children to go through that dramatic experience.”

When Keandra found out that she was pregnant at the age of 17, she quickly reached out for assistance from the Magnolia Project. Since joining the Magnolia Project, Keandra has become more independent and capable of providing for her son. She has found employment, housing and has big plans for the future.

“I plan to become a Certified Nursing Assistant and then go back to school to hopefully become a nurse,” Keandra said.

On behalf of the Coalition and our Mother of the Month sponsor, Nothing Bunt Cakes, we would like to congratulate Keandra on being chosen as the Mother of the Month.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Mother/Father of the Month, click here.

Father of the Month: May 2017

May 31, 2017  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 11.43.19 AMThe Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition would like to congratulate Mark Johnson on being chosen as the May 2017 Father of the Month.

Mark, who is a participant of the Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E. program was nominated by his case manager Kathy Irvine.

“It was recommended that I take the 24/7 Dad class that Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E. offers because I was having a baby at my age. It was a refresher course for me,” Mark said.

Mark, 50, and his wife Joyce have a one-year-old son together. Mark says that because of Fatherhood P.R.I.D.E., he now knows how to communicate with his wife better and even with his son.

“The class taught me how to actually communicate with a one-year-old. How to understand his wants and his needs. I strongly recommend this program for any fathers. You’re never too old to learn something new.”

Mark is a handyman who has dealt with his fair share of life’s ups and downs. After losing his mother suddenly, Mark fell into a depression and began abusing drugs.

“It’s not something that I am proud of, but it’s life,” Mark said. “We all go through our own trials and tribulations in life. Mine just happened to be drugs.”

Mark, who quit drugs cold turkey, has been in recovery for six months and does not plan to look back.

On behalf of the Coalition and our Father of the Month sponsor, Nothing Bunt Cakes, we would like to congratulate Mark Johnson on being chosen as the Father of the Month.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Mother/Father of the Month, click here.

Make a Difference! Leadership Academy: Why eat healthy?

Oct 19, 2016  •   Written by Jerail Fennell   •  no comments

While healthy eating is vital to an overall healthy life, the challenge many people face is knowing where to purchase healthier eating options. The Make a Difference! Leadership Academy Fall 2015 graduating class  created a year-long plan to inform different communities about the benefits and where to find healthier eating choices.screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-2-45-31-pm

The Leadership Academy is a 16-week course, that trains grassroots leaders to make an impact in their communities. The goal of the Leadership Academy is to inspire everyone in the community to make better decisions when it comes to health.

There are two cohorts of the Leadership Academy per year. After graduating from the course, each year members chooses a community project to work on collaboratively. The Leadership Academy fall 2015 members chose to focus their efforts on helping individuals and families who receive SNAP/EBT understand the benefits of eating healthier. The members also wanted to inform the community of the local farmer’s markets and produce stands that accept SNAP/EBT benefits.

The members created and distributed posters and information cards that outlined the benefits of eating healthy and list different locations that accept SNAP/EBT benefits. The posters were given to members at each site, to be given to clients and participants. These locations include: The Magnolia Project, Jacksonville Housing Authority, the local libraries, Clara White Mission Center, United Healthcare and UF Health Jacksonville.

To learn more about the Leadership Academy and how you can become a leader, contact 904-723-5422