Englewood Health Matters Day Initiative advances the dual messages of the importance of good physical and economic health for Englewood, in an effort to create Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a healthy “Beloved Community.”
Englewood, on Chicago’s south side, is recognized as one of the city’s most economically depraved and medically underserved communities with soaring crime and poverty rates. The Beloved Community Family Wellness Center aims to strengthen the community through affordable health services and programs.
“We believe healthy people are able to build healthy communities,” says Margie Johnson executive director BCFWC. “In partnership with community churches and organizations, we aim to raise awareness of debilitating health issues and empower residents with information and resources to reverse negative health and behavior trends.”
The First Ladies and women leaders of Englewood committed to advance the health and wellness message as the “nurturing wisdom voices” of Englewood during a reception at BCFWC on April 16 to launch the Englewood Health Matters Initiative during the May 14 Englewood Health Matter Health and Wellness Fair.
“Health ministries are a vital part of the faith experience,” says Gay Chisum, Co-Pastor, Gifts From God Ministry whose husband, St. John Chisum, heads The Pastors of Englewood,
“The mothers and daughters of Englewood are the first to instill values and expectations in our youth to assume responsibility for good health and nutrition and to appreciate their role in creating a community they are proud to call home.”
“I see Englewood setting a ‘healthy community’ model for others to follow,” said Stephanie Coleman, Democratic Committeeman, 16th Ward and life-long Englewood resident. “BCFWC provides much needed health services right here on Halsted Street.”
The Beloved Community Family Wellness Center (BCFWC) presents the Englewood Health Matters Day Health and Wellness Fair, 10 a.m. -1 p.m, Saturday, May 14 at 6821 South Hasted Street. The event features FREE health and dental screenings, early back-to-school immunizations, exercise and wellness sessions, healthy food preparation demonstrations, music & entertainment for the entire family.
“The Englewood Health Matters Initiative compliments community health improvement objectives of the Englewood Quality of Life Plan,” said Rosalind Moore, director of programs, Teamwork Englewood. “Improving Englewood’s health profile requires involvement by all stakeholders.”
Dr. King’s “Beloved Community” is a place where justice and equality for all is secured with love. The BCFWC’s mission is to close health care disparities by providing equal access to affordable quality heath care to Englewood residents. Over a decade of growth now requires the center to respond to its service area’s growing demand for dental care, behavioral health, and nutrition/- wellness services.
The expanded programs and new dental clinic allow BCFWC to better counter the community’s diabetes, hypertension, obesity, mental illness and poor nutrition rates.
The new dental clinic allows for early detection of many diseases because oral health problems can be early signs of and can even lead to other types of serious diseases.
While encouraged to be good stewards of their personal health, community residents are also invited to support the BCFWC’s sustainability reserve fund.
“We must put our investment and our feet down where we are and believe in ourselves and our own capacity to build something,” said BCFWC chairman Paul Williams. “We ask that residents support the Beloved Community Wellness Center as a stabilizing institution in the community and help us to be part of a new reality for Englewood.”
Faith and community leaders recognizing the need to change the “climate, culture and expectation” of residents to assume a stakeholders vision to ensure the survival of institutions that build community are responding to “Beloved’s” call.
“This is a teachable moment,” said Rev. Leslie L. Sanders, Pastor, Hope Presbyterian Church of Chicago reflecting on the state’s current budget crisis.
“As a community we must learn what it takes to be economically independent versus co-dependent on outside sources that may fail us and leave us bankrupt.”
The Beloved Community Family Wellness Center launched its expansion campaign with a $2.00 donation from a clinic user and, based upon an aggressive fundraising campaign, is now positioned to complete construction of the dental clinic expansion by the fall of 2016.
The Englewood Health Matters campaign continues at the May 14 Health & Wellness Fair that also provides an opportunity for individuals to pledge their support of the BCFWC expansion.
Applications for booth space are now being accepted. For more information visit: Beloved Community Family Wellness Center on Facebook or www.- BCFWC org.