Meet Angela M. Chalk, MSHCM, Community Advocate, Founder and Executive Director of Healthy Community Services. Not only does she do the work in her immediate community, she travels often to learn more as well as raise more awareness about creating and growing green communities through sustainability initiatives that provides residents and business owners with an understanding of urban storm water management techniques, how the drainage system of New Orleans works, improving the water quality of Lake Pontchartrain as wells as how green infrastructure reduces subsidence by increasing the water table levels.
Watch Angela in action, raising awarenes, educating and doing the work for the people.
Healthy Community Services is a 501c3 non-profit organization located in the 7th ward of New Orleans, LA. The organization works in collaboration with Water Wise Gulf South which is a coalition of community-led climate actions movement. The Water Wise Gulf South family includes, Water Wise 7th Ward; the Greater Tremé Consortium's Water Wise Tremé, and The Bunny Friends Neighborhood Association's Water Wise 9 ward. This initiative provides residents and business owners with an understanding of urban storm water management techniques, how the drainage system of New Orleans works, improving the water quality of Lake Pontchartrain as wells as how green infrastructure reduces subsidence by increasing the water table levels.
For residents to fully understand the effects repetitive flooding caused by natural disasters due to climate change and its effects to our culture in coastal Louisiana. Healthy Community Services works with the Foundation for Louisiana to address strategies of adaptation of communities to sea level rise, and coastal restoration by providing educational workshops that “Connects New Orleans to the Coast” through the LEAD the Coast Program. In this program residents get to understand the historic flooding of the Mississippi River and its daily impact to residents of New Orleans culturally, economically and provides residents with an avenue to become engaged through advocacy of environmental and closely related issues regarding housing, transportation, workforce development due to shifting population.
Community Engagement and Outreach
Other projects that Healthy Community works on, is ensuring the connectivity of neighbors to each other, in order to foster a sense of community. This is accomplished through various community engagement and outreach events that brings neighbors together in social settings such as Night Out Against Crime, community resource events and active demonstrations of health and public safety scenarios.
The Annual Tree Plantings which occurs in the fall is the Plant 4 Peace Initiative. It was borne out the events the violence of Ferguson, Missouri. New Orleans is one of 7 cities nationally, that participate in this event. The goal is this event is to heal the tension between residents and local law enforcement by providing collective space by working together to reforest the area. Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation of decreased crime in neighborhoods with trees. Therefore, this event brings together the leadership and officers of the NOPD, 5th District, residents, volunteers locally and nationally, as well as the faith-based community to recognize, the importance of reducing violence by creating calming spaces. To date, we have planted 167 trees in the 7th Ward, Tremé and Bunny Friend neighborhoods.
Gallons of Water Retained, Detained, Harvested or Infiltrated
Through its green infrastructure educational workshops, demonstrations and tours, Healthy Community Services is helping residents of the 7th Ward to harvest, retain or recharge the water table by collectively managing approximately 1000 gallons of storm water through various intervention techniques. More projects are slated for 2019 which will include community envision projects and small scaled green infrastructure projects to Neighbor Champions that completed all of the requirements of participation.
Healthy Community Services acknowledges that the hard work involved in bringing demonstration projects to the implementation could not and would not happen without the efforts of individuals who are neighbors near and far, friends, relatives but especially the support of other organizations such as NOLA Tree Project, GroundWorks NOLA, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans and community service volunteer commitments from the students of KIPP, George Washington Carver Sr High School, Jesuit High School, inclusive of students from Dillard, Xavier, Tulane and Ohio State universities. Collectively more than 800 volunteers have afforded the 7th Ward with more than approximately 10,000 volunteer hours in the past 5 years.
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In 2013, Healthy Community Services launched a pilot Backyard Container Program in collaboration with Dillard University (Ray Charles African American and Cultural Material Program) and the LSU Ag Center. This program was the catalyst to empower residents to have opportunities to access healthier food choices and reduce or remove the barriers of food insecurity. Today, Healthy Community Services is home to the “LaRose Family Container Orchard.” The orchard contains 7 citrus trees. The space is used as an outdoor educational space to demonstrate to residents, (inclusive of those who may not be homeowners or who remain uncertain about optimal soil quality) that healthy food sources can be created in small spaces. Healthy Community Services is proud of its commitment to the residents of the 7th Ward and its service area by always engaging in a transparent community participatory process envisioned by those who live, work, socialize, worship or who daily travel through this neighborhood. This is achieved by being respectful of the culture, residents and applying sound science data and best practices in order to create a more resilient and sustainable neighborhood.
Healthy Community Services is committed to educating vulnerable communities with the knowledge to make informed decisions concerning resilient sustainable lifestyles and nutritional needs by creating access to healthy food choices; leading healthy lifestyles inclusive of safe homes, workplaces & neighborhoods; and promoting the incorporation of sustainable green infrastructure alternatives into everyday living. Integrity and commitment are paramount to providing a successful, healthy service to those we serve.
Empower residents with the knowledge to create access to healthy food sources
Empower residents with the knowledge to incorporate sustainable alternatives water sources by harvesting water and utilizing wise water management techniques
Empower residents to understand climate change and its environmental impact with respect to repetitive flooding, shared water sheds and building resilient communities
Empower residents with the knowledge to understand the functions of home gardening and urban farming
Empower residents with the knowledge to save money by participating in backyard/container gardening; community gardening and utilizing sustainable
wise water management techniques
Empower residents with the knowledge of a potential supplemental income source through backyard/container, urban farming and community gardening.
Empower residents with the knowledge to seek community resources related to access to healthier food choices
Empower residents with a desire to live healthier lifestyles by creating safe homes, workplaces, and schools
Empower residents with a desire to live a nutritionally healthier lifestyle in order to reduce or eliminate chronic diseases
Empower residents with a sense of community by engaging neighbors with each other inclusive of youth and the elderly
Empower residents with the knowledge of the impact of environmental changes caused by climate changes