YWCA New Britain is thrilled to have been selected as a grantee in the Aetna Foundation’s Cultivating Healthy Communities program and was recently awarded a grant to help further work with residents of New Britain’s East Side and our community partners.
The grant funding will be used over the next two years to support projects that are addressing social determinants of health and promoting safe public spaces. Social determinants of health are the conditions in which people live, learn, work and play. The Aetna Foundation grant will focus on three main initiatives one being PhotoVoice, a project that uses photography to create positive social change and empowers the young women in the YWCA House of Teens to serve as leaders and change agents within the East Side community to reduce health inequities.
The grant will also fund work to improve residents’ feeling of safety in their community by partnering with the New Britain Police Department on a series of youth-led events focused on public safety. Additionally, funding will allow resident-led improvements to be made to the built environment along East Street, that will hopefully increase people’s motivation to bike and walk in their neighborhood and to utilize the FasTrak bus system located in the East Side.
The Cultivating Healthy Communities program awarded nearly $2 million in grants to 23 nonprofit organizations to advance the Aetna Foundation’s mission to improve health at the local level. The project comes at a critical time for East Side residents. In a 2017 survey, the top three needs that were identified by residents of the neighborhood were greater safety, more community events, and more activities for teens. Police department data confirm that crime such as sexual assault and robbery disproportionately affects East Siders.
“We are thankful to partner with Aetna in supporting the work in New Britain. The House of Teens is working to empower our youngest leaders into change agents, and we are excited for the opportunity to come together as a community with East Side residents to increase their quality of life,” said Mallory Deprey, Director of Youth Development for the YWCA.
“The Aetna Foundation is committed to addressing the social determinants of health in order to reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation. “By identifying community-specific challenges, and unique ways to combat them, this year’s grantees are a shining example of organizations who strive to make a measurable and positive local health impact. We are honored to contribute to the great work they are doing in pursuit of health equity.”
This funding addresses the need to improve opportunities for all Americans—regardless of income, education or ethnic background—to take an active role in living healthier lives. For more information on the Cultivating Healthy Communities program click here.