The Blue Hills Community Health Alliance has awarded 13 grants to local community organizations in the South Shore with the hope of improving wellness in the area.
The alliance is one of 27 Community Health Network Areas across Massachusetts, and is a partnership between the Department of Public Health, residents, hospitals, and local agencies addressing community needs.
Over the last 10 years, the Blue Hills alliance; covering Braintree, Canton, Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, Milton, Norwell, Norwood, Quincy, Randolph, Scituate, Sharon, and Weymouth; has given out these small grants to organizations that can show how the money would make the greatest impact.
“[The process] was extensive,” said Stephanie Nitka at the Regional Center for Healthy Communities. “They had to come to meetings to find out what we were looking for, the priorities we had, they had to come back and write a grant and there were 10 people on the committee and four to five reviewed each grant. There was a really extensive grant process.”
This most recent award gave out no more than $3,500 to 13 South Shore companies, totaling over $39,000 in funding.
Among the recipients was the Nurturing Families in Recovery program through Quincy’s Germantown Neighborhood Center.
The center received $2,500 for the program, which focuses on mothers who have been affected by abuse, alcohol, drugs, or mental health. “The program core is based on the premise that mothers can better nurture their children when they learn to nurture themselves,” Nitka wrote in an email.
Point Webster Middle School received $1,500 for Substance Abuse Prevention with the Improbable Players, which affords eighth grade peer advocates to work with the Improbable Players to write, act, and perform in an original play to depict the assertive skills and healthy alternatives to alcohol and drugs.
Quincy Asian Resources received $3,500 for Quincy Public Schools Special Education Interpreter Training & Placement Program. According to Nikta, Quincy Public Schools has a severe shortage of interpreters to serve the 24 percent of Quincy residents of Asian heritage.
With this funding, QARI will create an interpreter training program to provide special education-trained interpreters to QPS for a below-market rate.
Manet Community Health Center will spend their $3,500 on their Health Equity and Healthy Eating program, which seeks to reduce health disparities by focusing on healthy eating within Arabic and Brazilian communities within the alliance’s area.
Meanwhile, Braintree Public Schools will receive $3,488 to institute a new edition of the Second Step violence-prevention program to students in grades K-3. The program focuses on following directions, being respectful, focusing attention, and listening.
Among the other organizations receiving grants were Healthcare Options, Inc; HESSCO Elder Services; Norfolk Advocates For Children; Weymouth Fire Department; Weymouth Public Libraries; Randolph Board of Health; South Shore Hospital Home & Health Resources; and The Arc of South Shore.