June 23, 2023

2023 Health Promotion Mini-Grants Awarded for Cambridge

2023 Mini-Grants Awarded for Cambridge Youth Mental Health, Healthy Eating, and Physical Activity Projects

The Cambridge Public Health Department’s annual Health Promotion Mini-Grant Program, in partnership with the Sasaki Foundation, awarded $25,000 to projects that promote healthy eating, physical activity, or youth mental health in Cambridge, MA. 

Eligible groups for mini-grants include community organizations, schools, businesses, garden and farm programs, and government agencies that serve Cambridge. 

Project proposals must address one of the following categories: 

  • Healthy Eating and Physical Activity. $1,000 mini-grants for projects that promote healthy eating and/or physical activity in children and adults.
  • Youth Mental Health and Wellness. $2,000 mini-grants for projects that promote mental health and wellness in Cambridge youth, with a focus on youth ages 12 to 18.

The health department launched the healthy eating and physical activity mini-grants in 2011 and the youth mental health mini-grants in 2021. The mini-grants are competitive. All applications are reviewed by representatives from the Cambridge Public Health Department, the Hideo Sasaki Foundation, and other organizations and groups. This year’s funded projects include the following:

Healthy Eating and Active Living

  • Finch Garden to Table Community Cooking Program, Homeowners Rehab Inc. (HRI). HRI will lead a community cooking program during the summer and fall months where residents of Finch Cambridge will harvest vegetables and herbs from their garden and enjoy a healthy cooking class.
  • Soca Sundays, Soca Fusion. Soca Fusion will host the Soca Sundays series which is a public dance and wellness program offered free of charge to the BIPOC community that exposes people to knowledge of their anatomy, health, spatial awareness, and social emotional expression.
  • Community-Based Urban Agriculture to Address Food Insecurity, Cambridge City Growers. Cambridge City Growers will execute new projects as part of their Community-based Urban Agriculture program to address food insecurity. These will include the expansion of gardening and food access space at the Cambridge Community Center, collaborative events with more partners, like Just A Start, and residential raised beds.
  • RECESS, Cambridge Community Center. This holistic health program based at the Cambridge Community Center is designed to engage young adults in safe, communal activities centered around the intersection of athletics, art, music, wellness, and mindfulness.
  • Community Garden to Promote Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Positive Social Connection, Lesley University. The Lesley University students and Health Service staff will be involved in the creation of a community garden for the promotion and education about healthy eating, physical activity, building positive social connections, and stress reduction for the community. 
  • Miramelinda Toddler Vegetable Jardin, Miramelinda Montessori School. The Miramelinda Montessori School will create a mini garden for and with the children for planting, observing, and learning about the growth of fruits and vegetables before their consumption.
  • School Age Child Care Program: Movement and Play and My Healthy Garden, Community Art Center. School Aged Child Care (SACC) is a program from the Community Art Center for youth aged 5 to 12 that provides interdisciplinary art lessons alongside essential child care for families. With this grant, they will buy equipment to build obstacle courses for inside activity and garden tools to maintain their plot at Squirrel Brand Community Garden for outside activity. 
  • Holistic Healing Day, YWCA Cambridge. YWCA Cambridge will host a mental and physical wellness event to teach local residential clients how to include healthy eating, physical activity, and self-care in their lives.
  • Let’s Get Moving: Play through Motion, Windsor Preschool. Windsor Preschool will secure balance boards, tumble mats, jumping balls, and sports nets to provide the opportunity for children to engage in motor skill development they may not have access to at home.
  • Healthy Snacks and Movement Challenge, Transition House. Building wellness, Transition House staff will participate in a summer program that will remind them to take a well-deserved break, educate them on healthy snack options, and encourage movement with a friendly competition.
  • Gross Motor Equipment for Child Care Program, East End House. East End House will purchase and install gross motor skill equipment to promote physical activity and social-emotional wellness for toddlers and preschoolers.
  • Tai Chi for Health and Balance: The Reboot!, Living Well Network. Living Well Network plans to support positive mental health and healthy aging by reestablishing in-person Tai Chi classes for Cambridgeans aged 55 and above.
  • What Moves Cambridge Youth, Green Streets Initiative. Green Streets Initiative will uplift the voices of Cambridge teens by collecting and showcasing their perspectives on active transportation options available in the city.

Youth Mental Health and Wellness

  • Summer Social Worker Position, Cambridge Camping Association. The Cambridge Camping Association will increase the capacity to support the mental wellbeing of campers ages 5 to 13 by adding an experienced, full-time youth and family social worker to their team to effect positive change in camper outcomes.
  • The Mental Health Advancement of Culturally Competent Education to Stop Stigma (ACCESS), Cambridge Community Center. The Cambridge Community Center will increase the number of BIPOC mental health providers by cultivating BIPOC teens’ interest in mental health-related professions through a six-week paid summer internship.
  • Arts and Activism: A Creative Community-Based Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Curriculum Series, East End House. Designed by participants in the Middle School Program, The East End House will invite a creative-expressive-based SEL educator to facilitate a curriculum series where each day will focus on a new social-justice or advocacy-oriented topic, art medium, and relevant SEL objectives. 
  • JOYweavers Family Engagement, JOYweavers. JOYweavers will strengthen the support provided to Cambridge youth impacted by trauma, social-emotional disabilities, and those facing school challenges by equipping parents and caregivers with additional resources and support. JOYweavers will plan events to build community between staff and parents and guardians, so that they are empowered to advocate for their children going through the IEP process in school. 
  • Connecting and Empowering Jewish Cambridge teens experiencing anti-semitism, Congregation Eitz Chayim. Jewish teens in Cambridge feel alone when they encounter anti-semitism, ignorance, or difficult questions about Judaism from people in their school and broader communities. Congregation Eitz Chayim will host two events that foster greater connection between Jewish youth, while providing an engaging forum for participants to discuss challenges they’ve experienced related to their Jewish identity and learn healthy coping strategies.
  • Mental Wellbeing for Counselors in Training (CIT), Agassiz Baldwin Community. The Agassiz Baldwin Community will include two CIT Mentor Teachers this summer to provide targeted support to the specific needs of the 7th through 9th grade CITs. CIT Mentor Teachers will regularly meet with CITs to focus on healthy sleep habits, identity and anti-bias, stress management, and developing healthy self-care habits.

The mini-grant program is primarily funded by the Cambridge Public Health Department, with a $5,000 contribution from the Hideo Sasaki Foundation. Starting this year, the Hideo Sasaki Foundation will serve as the fiscal agent for the mini-grant program. 

To learn more about the mini-grant program, contact Dawn Olcott (+1 617 665 3809) at dolcott@cambridgepublichealth.org or Sarah Lincoln (+1 617 665 3874) at salincoln@cambridgepublichealth.org.

Cambridge Public Health Department

The Cambridge Public Health Department (CPHD) protects and promotes the health of everyone in Cambridge through services, information, policies, and regulations. Main focus areas are communicable disease prevention and control, emergency preparedness and community resilience, environmental health, epidemiology, population health initiatives, regulatory enforcement, and school health.

The Hideo Sasaki Foundation

The Hideo Sasaki Foundation believes design has the power to address the most urgent challenges facing us, from social equity to environmental resilience. Design is an agent of change. And yet, access to design—for communities who need it the most—is often limited. Making change requires collective impact. At the intersection of philanthropy, education, and community, the Hideo Sasaki Foundation is committed to advancing the value of design, inviting diverse partners to co-create change.



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