HDB is focused
In our third year, Healthier Delray Beach (HDB) has evolved from a start-up project discovering the behavioral health needs of the community (first year) to comprehending the root causes and social determinants affecting neighborhood health (second year) to “the” behavioral health initiative now determining how to best support residents in their journey towards their greatest health potential.
We focus on awareness…
In years past, the Delray Beach community chose behavioral health as HDB’s focus and looked inward to ask: What is behavioral health? How is it relevant to each citizen? How does it affect our community overall? Since then, HDB has answered with trainings (most recently with trauma workshops and Restorative Justice Practices instruction), events (Wrap Up Party and sponsored community activities), and marketing (monthly newsletters and social media news) that support education and understanding.
We focus on equity…
And HDB is learning too. Racial Equity Workshops and Reflections discussions challenge us to constantly look at our practices. Residents on the Steering Committee and Workgroups as well as relationships solidified with local resident groups (West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition) direct our work and encourage us to support further neighborhood leadership.
We focus on access and community capacity building…
The more we build our resident team, we in turn support the community to shape their own access to services and supports. HDB awarded a grant to a resident non-profit, EJS Project, to provide mentoring for youth and supported 2 more neighbors to realize their ideas (Movie in The Set and Better Delray music video) through the Build Our Blocks projects. While the Delray Beach Network (formerly the Delray Beach Collaborative) first hired residents at the helm, HDB supported its growth with a grant to expand clinical services. Finally, partnership agreements with 6 local agencies created an avenue for HDB to engage these partners in the same learning and resident guidance that HDB is immersed in.
In the end, HDB understands that to meet our strategic goal of a resident-driven initiative improving the behavioral health of Delray Beach, we must constantly engage community, offer opportunities for residents and HDB to learn, and focus on the “what” and “how” to move forward in an impactful way.
Please refer to previous Impact Reports for partners
- Delray Beach youth and families have improved behavioral health and well-being, with a focus on improving health equity and building community capacity.
Process and Implementation Outcomes:
See Early Years Impact Reports (Reports dated March 2015-March 2017)
Process and implementation outcomes achieved. Results can be viewed in Early Years Impact Reports.
Behavioral and Systems Changes:
Increased base of support in the community
June 2017: The HDB Team tracks new, unduplicated residents that they connect with and provide initiative and behavioral health information.Progress:
March 31, 2018
37 new residents are engaged on average per month from October 2017 thru March 2018.
- March 31, 2018
Shifts in awareness and understanding of issue area
January 2017: Social media analytics (Facebook) reports 47% engagement rate (liked, shared, and commented) out of 414 total residents.
May 2017: Retrospective surveys are developed to determine evidence-based training and workshop outcomes.Progress:
March 31, 2018
Social media reach has grown to 608 total followers on Facebook.
Survey outcomes from the Restorative Justice Practices Training, Groundwater Presentation, Racial Equity Workshop, and 2 ACEs (trauma) Trainings conclude that of 184 participants, 100% reported an increase in their knowledge. On average, 75% of participants felt more connected to their community as a result of attending the training.
- March 31, 2018
Increased organizational responsiveness to targeted community needs
June 2017: Key informants (people representative of different groups in the community and considered to have “a pulse on Delray Beach”) are identified to participate in ongoing interviews to establish trends in the community over time.
September 2017: Partnership Agreements were created as avenue to track data pertaining to resident participation and satisfaction with behavioral health services offered in Delray Beach.Progress:
March 31, 2018
10 of 10 (100%) key informants noted that there should be a greater emphasis on behavioral health with an increase in resource advertising so the community knows where to find services. Across all interviews, the Parkland school shooting was mentioned as a top of mind concern and directly linked to community mental health needs. HDB was recognized as an advocate and growth of resident-led services was perceived as a positive step for the community.
HDB Partnership Agreements were signed with the following agencies: Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County Inc; Community Partners; Families First of Palm Beach County; Boys Town South Florida; Achievement Centers for Children and Families; and Center for Child Counseling.
- March 31, 2018
HDB has focus, a place and a plan …
From October 2017-March 2018, Healthier Delray Beach (HDB) was alive with activity and determined to end its third year with a well-defined design for the future. The initiative – driven to be the resident voice for behavioral health – was challenged with how to ensure residents decided and developed each activity while contributing to the bigger picture of a healthier community. Resident leadership and a more focused approach was the heading of every HDB conversation, Steering Committee and Workgroup meeting. Finally culminating in the Sustainability Workshop in February, the HDB message was clear and a future took path.
HDB focus evolved into four areas where every effort fit right in:
- Community Capacity-Building
And all HDB activities followed…
Where residents learn and HDB listens
- Ambassadors connected HDB to more residents by walking the NW/SW neighborhoods, spreading the word door-to-door about Build Our Blocks, and encouraging neighbors to develop their own projects.
- Neighbors were invited to the 2nd annual Wrap Up Party in December 2017 where HDB hosted 75 people. The community get-together provided space for residents to hear about the Delray Beach Network (formerly the Delray Beach Collaborative) and to inform the Network about current resident service needs. Residents reviewed the community definition of behavioral health and worked in teams to build their own gingerbread villages as a fun nod to the Build Our Blocks construct.
- Teen Life in HDb students led the charge to educate more Delray Beach youth by organizing a few in-school activities. At Atlantic High School:
- Students presented “So Worth Loving” week in November – a week to honor self-worth and individual talents. The student body showcased mixed media art (poetry, photography, drawings and words of encouragement) on the “So Worth Loving” Wall in the school cafeteria, followed by a Teen Life facilitated workshop about self-esteem.
- In February, Teen Life and the Meditation and Mindfulness Club produced lunchtime 3-minute meditation sessions – held in the auditorium for students to learn easy practices for taking care of their brain health (as a feature of the Train the Brain campaign).
- At Carver Middle School:
- Teen Life participated in Club Rush in November to promote behavioral health awareness on campus. The next week, students created their own vision boards of health in a group activity at the end of the school day.
- Beginning in December, 3 student leaders stepped forward to plan for the second semester of activities for Teen Life. Following suit of Atlantic High School, Carver students have planned an encouragement wall and stress reduction activities to share on campus.
- At Village Academy:
- A brainstorming session with students led to great ideas for future awareness events. HDB is working with school staff to support students to develop the activities.
- Community learning continued with 2 trainings about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma-informed care. Participating staff from City of Delray Beach Parks and Recreation, local afterschool programs, and 3 schools (S.D. Spady Elementary, Orchard View Elementary and Pine Grove Elementary) reported 100% increased knowledge with more than 70% of participants intending to use new strategies with youth.
- Marketing for the initiative (social media posts, the monthly newsletter, mass email blasts, and website expansion) invited followers to know more about the 4 focus areas by sharing HDB goings-on, local behavioral health information, and national data.
- And HDB is proud to report significant growth in marketing reach:
- Facebook has 608 followers (from 414 last year)
- Instagram has 503 followers (from 183)
- Twitter increased to 189 people engaged (from 104)
- Monthly newsletter subscribers total 1220 (from 930)
- Website has average of 200 unique visitors each month
Where community goes deep and HDB follows
- HDB updated the mission statement to include “equity” – noting the importance of initiative conversation and action around health equity for every citizen.
- HDB continued work on the City of Delray Beach’s Comprehensive Plan, including strategies for equitable practices in the Healthy Communities element of the plan.
- Delray Beach’s new resident expert, Emanuel “Dupree” Jackson, co-hosted (with HDB and the Department of Safe Schools) 2 advanced Restorative Justice Practices training for a selected group of teachers and staff at Village Academy as part of the Pilot Project introduced this year at the school.
- In January, the Groundwater Presentation was facilitated by Racial Equity Institute to a diverse mix of residents and professionals (from different backgrounds and different system involvement) and provided national data and stories of structural racism.
- By the time the next 2-day Racial Equity Workshop was presented in March (3rd one hosted by HDB in the last year), community word-of-mouth filled registration for the training and a waitlist of more than 20 people had to be managed. Survey results supported the necessity of the training and overwhelmingly, participants “loved the experience.”
- In November and again in March, Reflections was held at Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and allowed a space for Delray Beach Racial Equity Workshop alumni to process and prepare for next steps.
- Reflections has inspired 3 additional efforts: 1 – more residents are leading discussion (as meetings have been run by a different volunteer each time); 2 – alumni have broken into groups to discuss Delray Beach-specific data and stories (that can provide local historical context); and 3 – at the request of participants, HDB developed a Facebook page for “Delray Beach Reflections” (where alumni can share articles and information and stay connected).
- And HDB is proud to report healthy attendance in every equity activity:
- Groundwater Presentation = 92 residents and professionals
- REI Workshop = 39 participants and 19 returning “observers”
- Reflections = 2 small group sessions hosted up to 20 people
- Already 30 people have joined the Delray Beach Reflections Facebook group
A note: A next natural step for HDB was to involve youth in the racial equity conversation. A 2-day youth training was originally scheduled for February. However, the team decided to postpone the activity when registration was lower than expected and the timing of the training coincided with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.
Where residents get behavioral health help and HDB builds support
- In November, HDB requested Partnership Agreements with the first group of local behavioral health organizations. The agreements outlined agency commitment to provide Delray Beach-specific services, work as a team with HDB to fill gaps where services do not exist, participate in best practices trainings that match resident needs, and track and share data. As part of the agreement, HDB pledged to connect residents to agencies, provide referrals, assist with advertising in the neighborhoods, and offer workshops for partnering staff.
- The Partnership Agreements formally showed HDB support for the organizations (Families First of Palm Beach County, Achievement Centers for Children and Families, Boys Town of South Florida Inc, and Center for Child Counseling Inc.) already a part of the Delray Beach Network (previously the Delray Beach Collaborative) and helped grow the Network to include additional providers (Community Partners and Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies).
- All 6 organizations joined HDB’s Programs and Practices Workgroup to continue monthly discussion around strengthening neighborhood care and meeting current needs in the community.
- Another result of the Partnership Agreements was HDB awarded a new behavioral health grant to Families First of Palm Beach County to provide clinical services on-site at Village Academy.
- HDB maintained membership on various citywide and countywide committees to ensure Delray Beach was well-informed, well-connected, and on the forefront of opportunities to benefit residents. Committees included the Delray Beach Homeless Taskforce, Palm Beach County Action Alliance for Mental Health, Delray Beach Drug Taskforce, School Health Advisory Committee, Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, Chamber of Commerce Non-Profit Council, Delray Beach Teen Leadership Roundtable, Birth to 22: United for Brighter Futures, Palm Healthcare’s Brain Health Advisory Council, Team Delray, and The Set’s Sustainability Committee.
- From these connections, HDB has been asked to collaborate on a small grant for training and clinical services (with Milagro Center and Families First of PBC), team up to offer 2 trainings the first of its kind in PBC (Mental Health First Aid’s new EMS/Fire Rescue module – with Delray Beach Fire Rescue; Mental Health First Aid offered in Creole – with the Palm Beach Substance Awareness Coalition), and coordinate the Get Your Green On campaign with We Heart Small Biz Month to educate the business community about behavioral health (with City of Delray Beach and Community Redevelopment Agency’s Economic Development Department, Downtown Development Agency, and Delray Beach Marketing Cooperative).
Where residents take the reins and HDB realizes our vision
- The development of Build Our Blocks (grant process for resident projects) encouraged the HDB Team to expand efforts to support resident leadership, build on current neighborhood projects and inspire new, creative ideas from residents – ideas that would not have been dreamt up by a traditional initiative.
- To promote the first Build Our Blocks grant proposals, Thrive Delray, Spady Cultural Heritage Museum and the Community Engagement Workgroup partnered to host the “Lunch and Launch” event in January. Forty-eight (48) people of all ages attended, ate lunch together, and cast their vote following 5 resident project pitches. This process allowed residents to get the word out about their ideas and gave neighbors an opportunity to choose the projects they would like to see. After votes were tallied:
- The residents with the top 2 projects – “Movie in The Set” and “Better Delray Music Video” – were awarded micro-grants to implement them.
- Three (3) additional concepts received HDB support in the form of sponsorship funding: Studio 404 Beautification Project, “Call It for the Culture” Resident Festival, and “Plant Grow Give” Garden Revitalization.
- With the HDB grant and a partnership with City of Delray Beach Parks and Recreation, the residents implemented “Movie in the Set” during Spring Break in March. The event was a family movie night held outside at Merritt Park. Approximately 50 children and adults enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers and a screening of “Coco” on a large inflatable screen.
- Beyond Build Our Blocks, HDB sponsored 4 more community activities that highlighted residents creating their own community awareness as each event was resident-run and very well attended: Walk Against Violence, Books and Bikes Festival, Let’s Move Delray Community Pep Rally, and the 4 Knowledge is Power College and Historical Tour.
- When deciding how to award the community liaison grant (previously funding Emanuel Jackson’s position with the Family Strengthening Program at Achievement Centers for Children and Families), the Steering Committee (ACCF included) agreed the funding should follow “the man and his skills” as Mr. Jackson moved his non-profit, EJS Project, into new office space and prepared to expand mentoring services and Restorative Justice Practices.
- And HDB is proud to be partnering with residents to increase our own capacity:
- The West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition (WARC) – the most prominent resident group in the NW/SW neighborhoods – has given their stamp of approval to HDB and requested to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the initiative.
- Freslaine St. Louis accepted the Community Engagement Co-Chair position when the last Chair stepped down.
- 5 new members joined the Community Engagement Workgroup.
- Rose Newbold, Davina Suffrard and Ferline Mesidort expressed interest in becoming a HDB Ambassador (and will be oriented to their new posts in April).
- Kirsten Sleeman completed her 2-year contract as an Americorps VISTA and was then promptly hired as HDB’s fulltime Outreach Coordinator.
- 5 additional Teen Life in HDb youth leaders have stepped up this year and taken over awareness activities – creating, implementing and collaborating with their own partners.
- At the Sustainability Workshop in February, everyone involved with HDB had a chance to discuss current activities, natural next steps, and potential partners to support the initiative in years to come.
Another note: With all six Healthier Together communities now up and running, Healthier Delray Beach (HDB) takes responsibility as one of the first initiatives very seriously. From sharing governance documents to advising on lessons learned in the process, HDB supports the newer communities to build their capacity while working alongside Palm Healthcare Foundation to continue to “build the plane as we fly it.”
With residents leading the way and the initiative finding greater focus, HDB isn’t just another community-driven initiative. It is setting the stage to become the resident behavioral health movement it set out to be in Delray Beach.
HDB builds on lessons from the past to address strategies in the future…
1) Community knows best. Continuing in year 3, HDB remembered that to be a successful grassroots initiative, residents need to inform every step. HDB rescheduled the Youth Racial Equity Workshop when timing wasn’t right, created more space for equity conversation at community request, and supported Build Our Blocks projects that expanded traditional scope.
2) Membership has its privileges. Regular participation on community committees provided HDB with new opportunities for collaborative grants, service expansion, and business engagement in Delray Beach.
3) Retreat and Refresh. HDB took time to further examine efforts, ensure everyone on the same page, and continue to focus the overall plan. The Marketing Workgroup participated in a retreat. The Director met with Steering Committee members and Workgroup Chairs 1:1 to check-in. And the entire HDB Team caught up with each other at the Sustainability Workshop.
Top three things you are proud to have accomplished through your work with Healthier Together:
- The community is building capacity. HDB is partnering with residents to offer their own services, supports and activities. HDB has provided the first Build Our Blocks grants, sponsored 4 resident events, and helped EJS Project grow its mentoring program.
- The community is supporting HDB growth. Relationships strengthened with WARC and other resident leaders, creating another avenue for HDB to gain community perspective.
- The community is having hard conversations. HDB is welcoming uncomfortable, disruptive conversations (i.e. racism, health inequity), and partners (from residents to government to local providers) are stepping forward to talk.
Top three challenges you have faced with your work with Healthier Together:
- While the community is building capacity, HDB needs to figure out how it all fits together. HDB spent considerable time determining how initiative activities supported community growth while also working to remove barriers standing in residents way.
- While the community is supporting HDB growth, the initiative needs to sustain the team. HDB paid attention to the needs of the Steering Committee and Workgroups (i.e. convenience of meeting times, avenues for keeping in touch), built new relationships with additional community groups, and discussed who and how to sustain leadership for the good of the initiative.
- While the community is having hard conversation, HDB needs to bring it back to behavioral health. HDB was challenged by the community to connect equity conversation to behavioral health needs. The Groundwater Presentation and Reflections helped conceptualize how health disparities are a product of systematic racism.
What will Healthier Delray Beach do next?
Ambassador Orientation – 3 additional residents will join the HDB Ambassador Team following an informal welcome reception and instruction.
Teen Life in HDb – Students will host stress reduction activities for Stress Awareness Month and a school assembly in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. In addition, Teen Life youth will have the opportunity to present their great work countywide as they have been invited to participate on workshop panels about youth civic engagement.
Workgroup Sustainability Plans – Each group will determine activity and budget needs for year 4 of the initiative. Workgroup recommendations will be made to the Steering Committee to feed the overall initiative plan.
Reflections – New facilitators will lead conversation, the groups will craft a timeline of history and data, and participants will offer reading and responses on the Delray Beach Reflections page on Facebook.
Get Your Green On campaign – All month-long, residents, schools, organizations and businesses can participate in mental health awareness events across the county – beginning with City of Delray Beach adopting a proclamation and concluding with social media ablaze with people wearing green on May 24th.
Mental Health First Aid for EMS/Fire Rescue – Palm Beach County MHFA Coalition and Delray Beach Fire Rescue will partner with HDB to provide the new module training on May 23rd.
Partnership agreements – With Programs and Practices Workgroup developing a concentrated support plan for Delray Beach schools, more partners will be invited to the table.
Build Our Blocks – A local youth will produce and unveil the “Better Delray Music Video” with HDB support.
Community Sponsorships – HDB will support a festival, a luncheon and so much more.
June, July and beyond in 2018
Mental Health First Aid for the Haitian community – Bethel Evangelical Baptist Church will team up with Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition and HDB to host Mental Health First Aid training – provided in Creole.
Teen Summit – Teen Life youth and HDB will help deliver the annual summit – this year emphasizing social and emotional wellness.
Racial Equity Workshops – The youth training will be rescheduled and HDB looks to co-host additional 2-day workshops with partnering organizations.
Community Connections – Residents unite again to advise HDB and celebrate neighborhood talents and achievements.