As Wilmington’s Riverside community embarks on an extraordinary revitalization effort, Christiana Care Health System is making an impact on health with a $1 million gift to REACH Riverside Development Corporation that will support community health and youth development programs.
Riverside, in the northeast corner of Wilmington, is one of the city’s oldest and most underserved neighborhoods. Christiana Care’s gift adds to the landmark community redevelopment initiative, announced in November 2018, which includes government, private and nonprofit investment and robust community engagement.
“At Christiana Care, we serve together to make a positive impact on health,” said Christiana Care President and CEO Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH. “This partnership with REACH Riverside will help the people who live and work in the Riverside community to realize their own vision for a healthy lifestyle, with better access to healthy activities, lively places to learn and play and caring partners who will work with them to develop solutions that meet their needs. We’re here to serve our community.”
Christiana Care’s gift will fund community health and wellness outreach and education, facilities and resources for teen programs and activities, and support for seniors and children in this multigenerational neighborhood. The gift also will fund transportation so that neighbors have easy access to meet their health and social service needs, and programs to support economic mobility through workforce development and financial health programs.
Christiana Care’s support provides a major health component to the multiphase endeavor. The REACH Riverside project will include:
- Community wellness initiatives through an expanded Kingswood Community Center, which has served children through seniors for nearly 75 years.
- The Teen Warehouse Inc., a “for teens, by teens” facility featuring programming in health, confidence-building and educational, social and career competencies. Opening in September 2019, The Warehouse will be in the former Prestige Academy on Thatcher Street, in walking distance from Kingswood Community Center.
- A redevelopment plan with 400 high-quality, mixed-income housing units.
- Education expansion for pre-K through high school in partnership with Wilmington’s EastSide Charter School and Kingswood Community Center.
“One of the most significant indicators of an individual’s health is a person’s zip code,” said Bettina Tweardy Riveros, chief health equity officer at Christiana Care. “This partnership is a commitment to good health in Riverside by working with the community to address social and environmental barriers to health and providing healthy opportunities for all ages right in the community.”
The revitalization is part of the national Purpose Built Communities initiative that reinvigorates neighborhoods with housing, a cradle-to-college education pipeline and community wellness programs so residents can thrive and achieve a brighter future. In Wilmington, REACH Riverside is the program’s “community quarterback.”
“We want everybody who comes to Riverside to understand that this is a vibrant, healthy community, that anyone born here is not going to be held back by their zip code,” said Logan Herring, CEO of REACH Riverside, Kingswood Community Center and The Warehouse. “We would like to see our partnership with Christiana Care blossom and grow. This commitment is just the first step in creating a healthier neighborhood.”
Christiana Care’s wide-ranging, community-based programming provides paths to optimal health where people live, work and play, said Riveros.
Christiana Care’s community-based services include:
- School-based health centers in Warner Elementary and 19 public high schools.
- Blood Pressure Ambassadors, specially trained local residents who screen and educate their neighbors.
- Community Health Workers who focus on supporting healthy mothers and babies and addressing chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
- Fresh food stands and a Produce Prescription program at Wilmington Hospital and five other city locations in partnership with Urban Acres and Central Baptist Community Development Corporation.
- Community baby showers that include health screenings, education and supplies for new parents.
- Health care at St. Patrick’s Center and a child dental care partnership with Reeds Refuge, both in Wilmington.
- Workforce development, internship and youth development programs including Camp FRESH, the Health Career Academy and the Community Health Worker training program.
- Year-round outreach events and health fairs.
“In addition to addressing health care needs, Christiana Care is making an impact on the health of our community by addressing the social aspects of health that our neighbors identify, including food, transportation, housing and job opportunities,” Riveros said. “By partnering with REACH Riverside, along with public and private partners, we are aligning our collective resources to increase our effectiveness and impact and truly make a positive difference in the health of our communities.”