A Pre-Pandemic Pivot
Before our lives were forever changed by the Coronavirus, and before terms like social distance and pivot became a regular part of the vernacular, the Wayne YMCA was forced to rethink our original grant project and pivot in a new direction. After securing support for a Breakfast Club with physical activity project in partnership with our local school district as part of our grant application, and an initial planning session once we were awarded the grant, the district informed us at the end of February that they were pulling out of the project. Space and a myriad of other issues that the identified schools were not able to troubleshoot forced their decision.
Rather than throw out hands up in frustration and give up, we contacted our coach, Lisa Gulla, and floated a new concept. While she supported the concept, the lingering question was, will the funder agree to the proposed changed?
In preparation for a conference call with NJDOH and NJHCN leadership, we outlined our new project. In year one our focus would be a developing a food voucher program for our existing farmers market and providing transportation for low income residents to the market so they can use the vouchers. In addition, we would work with the Township and other community partners to implement the CHANGE assessment tool to inform year two strategies around physical activity. In year one we would also complete the requirements for our Farmers market to be certified SNAP Farmers Market in preparation for the 2021 summer season.
The result of the call was very positive and we were asked to recap the conversation and resubmit a revised proposal. We appreciate the support of Lisa Gulla and Janet Heroux, as well as Irene Enarusai at NJDOH who shared these supportive words: “This shows how involved you are in what you believe. It takes only a person like you to pull this off! I have to agree with Janet Heroux on this one. Lots of dedication on your part to make this work and I say thank you so much for pulling this through. Although, we are all navigating through the pandemic of the Coronavirus as you mentioned below, please keep me informed and updated in all that you will be doing with the program because I would like to be part of it as well. Again, thank you.”
We look forward to navigating whatever the new normal may bring us with a focus on flexibility, safety and meeting community needs.
About the Grantee
The Wayne YMCA is charitable nonprofit organization that serves as the center of community and culture in Wayne Township. We are a powerful association of men, women and children joined together by a shared commitment to nurturing the potential of kids, promoting healthy living and fostering a sense of social responsibility. At the Y, strengthening community FOR ALL is our cause.
Cohort: North 1
Funder: New Jersey Department of Health