Healthier Lake Worth Beach
Many heads, hearts, and hands working together for a Healthier Lake Worth
Following a community engagement grant with fiscal agent Community Partners of South Florida, Healthier Lake Worth Beach launched as the fourth Healthier Together community in summer 2017. The target area is focused on four voting districts in the 33460 ZIP code in the eastern section of the city and engages the neighborhood associations of Pineapple Beach, Whispering Palms, Royal Poinciana and Tropical Ridge. Healthier Lake Worth Beach focuses on improving behavioral health by addressing the physical environment including the cleanliness and safety of Lake Worth Beach’s neighborhoods in order to increase community pride, unity and sense of belonging.
Healthier Lake Worth Beach seeks to improve behavioral health by improving the cleanliness, environment and safety of Lake Worth Beach neighborhoods and to promote health behaviors that impact the overall health and well-being of its residents.
Healthier Lake Worth Beach envisions a proud and unified Lake Worth Beach where youth are thriving, families are engaged and neighborhoods are healthy environments for all residents.
Healthier Lake Worth Beach is focused on the four voting districts in the 33460 ZIP code in the city of Lake Worth Beach. The initiative seeks to identify and work with neighborhood change agents, youth and families as well as the neighborhood associations of Lake Worth Beach, specifically Pineapple Beach, Whispering Palms, Royal Poinciana, and Tropical Ridge. Healthier Lake Worth Beach aims to connect traditional decision makers and neighbors.
High leverage opportunities have been identified and maximized incorporating existing efforts. During the readiness phase, Healthier Lake Worth Beach supported Community Partners of South Florida, a nonprofit member organization of NeighborWorks America who received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for community engagement work. In year two, Healthier Lake Worth Beach became a key partner for a Department of Justice grant with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office focused on violence prevention in the Lake Worth Beach area.
Based on the clean-up efforts in the Whispering Pines neighborhood, a defunct neighborhood association was revived. Healthier Lake Worth Beach supported their advocacy efforts and as a result, momentum is growing, community assets are being uncovered and civic muscle is being enacted.
The Healthier Lake Worth Beach initiative has attracted many diverse individuals. An annual celebration is a recognition of efforts and brings people together for a shared purpose.
With the support of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant provided to Community Partners of South Florida through the NeighborWorks network, Palm Health Foundation partnered with Community Partners and the community for an extended readiness process. Community Partners has well-established relationships throughout the city among government officials. The engagement of strong neighborhood associations representing very diverse and distinct neighborhoods were part of establishing readiness.
Where We Stumbled
Because of the incredible diversity throughout the city, collectively we had expectations that all pockets would be represented. Over time, the initiative and the foundation came to understand diversity in how people participate is extremely important. It doesn’t mean that individuals will attend meetings. They contribute in other ways. Still, some of the most isolated and marginalized communities are not engaged in this process.
Where We Thrived
Early on, Healthier Lake Worth Beach’s value was evident among city government officials. Based on shared interests, the initiative was able to leverage the relationship to impact a number of policy wins including the city’s first Adopt-A-Street program, new trash and recycling policies for this particular part of Lake Worth Beach and partner in the code enforcement process resulting in a policy change.
The Tipping Point
After a rocky start given the diverse vantage points, individuals eventually found their roles and places that best suited their interests, gifts and talents. Since that time, the initiative has grown more comfortable in experimenting with ideas and exploring creative solutions to address the environmental factors impacting behavioral health.