Healthy Living Program

The Healthy Living Program engages in empowerment-based community organizing and development within public housing neighborhoods in Asheville. Its goals are to assist community residents to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods and to make healthy choices in their own lives. The program works in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville, the Asheville Parks and Recreation, the Hillcrest Resident Association, other local nonprofits and many volunteers.

Two very successful projects have been initiated by Healthy Living Program staff. Its widely popular Trail Blazers’ Outdoor Adventure Club leads local youth every summer on over 30 hiking and swimming trips in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. The other project is a Community Resource Center  which connects residents of the Hillcrest public housing neighborhood with available resources and opportunities in the Asheville community.

The program’s empowerment approach works at the individual, community, and city level to enable public housing residents and member of the larger community to engage in meaningful and effective activities that benefit everyone.  Below is a sample of some of the work that the Healthy Living Program promotes:

INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT:

Organizing a wide variety of free volunteer and resident-led classes, educational workshops, events, and training within the public housing community, and connecting residents with resources.
Classes and Educational Workshops held currently and in the past:

Cooking, Herbs and Wellness, Yoga, Trail Blazers’ Outdoor Adventure Club, Discussion Groups, Crafting, Dance Fusion, Jewelry-Making, Hip Hop Dance, Drumming, Nature Games, Soccer, Gentle Aerobics, Music and Songwriting, Singing, Drawing, Children’s Story Hour, Scrapbooking, Computer Literacy, Job Readiness Series, Tenants’ Rights Workshops with Pisgah Legal, Energy Savings, Childcare Cooperative Planning, Sisterhood Solidarity Series with Our Voice, Voices Series with Just Economics, Girls’ and Women’s Self Defense, Homework Assistance and Tutoring, Cooking Oil Recycling Program Info Sessions.

Community Events and Activities:

Free Breakfast Program during Black History Month, Martin Luther King Celebration, Kids’ Movie Nights, Children’s Dance Parties, Juneteenth, Party for the People, Mothers’ Day at the Spa, Women’s Wellness Day, Kwanzaa Craft-making Party, New Years’ Eve Party, Halloween Party, Holiday Card-Making Party, Clothing Swaps, Overnight Camping, End of Summer Pool Party.

COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT:

Developing leadership and community organizing skills with neighborhood representatives in order to most effectively build and advocate for a higher quality of community life.
Leadership Development:

WWD-F has organized or facilitated a variety of trainings for neighborhood representatives including Stress Reduction Techniques, Meeting Facilitation, Non-violent Communication, Event Organizing, Donation Solicitation, Grant Writing, and additional upcoming training such as Marketing and Publicity, Community Outreach, Program Development and Evaluation, and more.

Community Networking and Recognition:

We connect neighborhood representatives with a multitude of organizations, individuals, and public officials in order to expand their network of collaborators and to increase their visibility and recognition within the Asheville community. 

CITY-WIDE EMPOWERMENT:

Developing economic opportunities and collaborating with important initiatives aimed at making Asheville a place in which everyone thrives.
Freedom Market:

WWD-F is developing a worker-owned mobile market cooperative which will bring fresh healthy foods and other necessities into communities all over Asheville, particularly those experiencing  poverty and lack of access to healthy food.  The worker-owners of this business will themselves be people from these neighborhoods. In order to build and maintain a successful business they will receive a wide variety of business training consultations and classes as well as  planning stipends funded by the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation.  

Success Equation:

We participate in the Leadership Team of the Success Equation, a collaborative initiative aimed at ending or reducing childhood poverty in Asheville and Buncombe County.  This initiative is organized by Children 1st/CIS, and has identified several action area to reduce factors of poverty, including supporting Community Resource Centers located within communities experiencing poverty.  Our Community Resource Center in Hillcrest is an indirect result of the work of the Success Equation.

Food Policy Council:

We are engaged in the Access Cluster of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council.  The Food Policy Council is working to bring food security to our local region.  One of the action items identified by the Council is increasing people’s access to fresh healthy food by supporting mobile food markets. We are directly collaborating with the Food Policy Council on the development and feasibility portion of Freedom Market, laying the groundwork for successful mobile markets in the future.

Re-entry Roundtable:

The Re-entry Roundtable is a collaborative initiative working to build an active network of organizations and individuals that will provide support and encouragement to people affected by incarceration in our community.  WWD-F serves on the Strategic Planning Committee of this initiative.

Western North Carolina Cooperative Alliance:

WWD-F is part of the Strategic Planning Committee of this alliance of cooperatives and cooperative developers from across Western North Carolina.  The group exists to build and strengthen a supportive network of cooperatives in our region, and is currently planning a regional Cooperative Economies Forum which will take place in the spring and will serve to educate the public about cooperatives and cooperative models, and to increase the capacity and visibility of existing cooperatives.