For three years, Wholespire partnered with the 7th Episcopal District of the AME Church to give their Young People’s Division (YPD) youth teams opportunities to impact their church or communities through health improvement projects and to further develop their leadership skills while focusing on increasing access to healthy foods, physical activity, and safety.
Youth are powerful influencers over the priorities and actions of decision-makers. Engaging youth in community change impacts youth themselves and develops their leadership roles. The faith community, especially Black churches, has a long history of meeting the needs of their congregations and communities. Additionally, African Americans experience disparities in access to healthy and affordable foods and safe places for physical activity more than any other racial group.
Between 2018 and 2021, Wholespire awarded over $22,000 in mini-grants to 22 AME churches. The mini-grants were used to fund healthy eating and active living projects that support policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes. Projects must have also addressed at least one safety component. This mini-grant opportunity was made possible through a grant provided to Wholespire by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.