ATLANTA (September 29, 2017) The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership (ABP) and Kaiser Permanente of Georgia (KPGA) are pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural Westside Trail Community Health Grants, a funding initiative to improve health outcomes and quality of life in Atlanta’s Westside communities through utilization of the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail, which opened to the public today.
Through generous financial support from KPGA, ABP worked closely with community leaders and technical experts to develop award criteria. In the fall of 2016, ABP solicited grant proposals from eligible organizations to develop and deliver innovative programming that increases physical activity levels, promotes trail usage, and improves health outcomes in the communities surrounding the Westside Trail.
“The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership sincerely appreciates the significant investment Kaiser Permanente of Georgia has made in the Atlanta BeltLine’s Westside neighborhoods,” said Rob Brawner, ABP’s Executive Director. “Giving $2 million to fund construction of the Westside Trail and $500,000 for the Westside Trail Community Health Grant program, KPGA has demonstrated a deep commitment to the promotion of healthy, active lifestyles for residents of Westside communities.”
“Our support of the BeltLine is one of many ways we help Atlantans live out the KP vision for community health,” said Jim Simpson, president of Kaiser Permanente of Georgia. “We want everyone to be well, live well and thrive.”
Eight applicants will receive either a one-year or two-year grant:
Atlanta Community Foodbank
The Atlanta Community Foodbank is spearheading the Georgia Food Oasis – Atlanta initiative, a community-driven, cross-sector group of residents and partners working to systematically improve fresh and healthy food access in underserved neighborhoods in Atlanta. This initiative helps communities develop innovative and affordable ways for residents to access, experience and learn about food. This program will appeal to a broad range of residents, including youth, adult and senior populations, as well as provide access to healthy food through partnership with Aluma Farms, located at the southern end of the Westside Trail.
Atlanta ContactPoint will provide the community with weekly Play Day classes at Washington Park and Adair Park, as well as quarterly community Play Day events. A Play Day coach will conduct sports and fitness classes for children and bring them onto the Westside Trail. Quarterly events will be free, fun filled days of sports, fitness, arts, and nutritional education where local coaches and organizations are invited to come together to facilitate a wide variety of activities, drills, and games.
Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run has partnered with Atlanta Public Schools to provide a physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade. The Westside Trail will be used for the girls’ bi-weekly running practices and practice 5k runs. The program aims to increase physical activity and encourage use of the Westside Trail for fitness by students and their families.
Grady Health System
Walk the Line is a 10-week program that celebrates the opening of the Westside Trail. Each week participants from Westside neighborhoods will meet to walk the line, enjoy a healthy meal, and have some real talk about making health a priority. They will also receive health screenings and dedicated support from volunteer health coaches throughout the program.
Truly Living Well
Truly Living Well will utilize the Westside Trail as a means for residents to access nutritious food available at the Collegetown Farm and Education Center. This program aims to increase residents’ access to healthy foods and encourage healthy eating lifestyles by providing nutritional education.
The Georgia Conservancy and REI Westside Trail Community Engagement Initiative will work with neighborhood schools, community centers and other partners to conduct hiking, biking and yoga education on the Westside Trail, as well as provide outreach and education. Service projects to clean up parks, maintain the trail and cultivate a sense of ownership will take place along the Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail and in 17 community parks and gardens. Planning workshops to address issues of safety, physical connectivity and barriers to usage will take place at schools, community centers and local churches.
Insight Cultural Tourism
WE Tours aims to increase residents’ physical activity levels by utilizing the Westside Trail through the tour and partnership programs. The tour program will educate residents about the benefits of eating healthy and making informed decisions about food choices. They will also include information on the community’s historical, artistic, and agricultural assets, reinforcing community pride.
Wholistic Stress Control Institute
The Wholistic Stress Control Institute and its community partners will provide health education sessions, stress education tips, wellness festivals, and healthy living tips via social media postings for individuals, families, and seniors over 65. Wellness activities and classes are free and open to the public. Project Wellness will also include community forums, consisting of neighborhood organizations (churches, schools, health centers, and small businesses) to ensure the program effectively addresses the community’s health needs.
The grantees were introduced as part of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Atlanta BeltLine Westside Trail held September 29 at Gordon White Park.