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The Chicago Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award

What makes a community healthy? Is it the presence of existing health care centers? Manageable numbers of preventable health conditions? Broad educational initiatives? In Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood, despite the presence of community health centers, residents suffer from preventable chronic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity, as well as HIV/AIDS. If the resources are already present, how does one fix this seemingly intractable problem?

The Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness uses a grassroots, highly-localized approach to tackle the neighborhood’s health issues, rather than looking to external organizations and resources for more help. It works through community groups to educate people about making healthier lifestyle choices through healthy diets, exercise and self care. At the same time, it’s focused on ensuring the community can better support people in sustaining healthy choices. For instance, a new Diabetes Empowerment Center provides a centralized, safe space for exercise, cooking classes and other related services. In addition, the Walkability Assessment Project was created to address safety concerns, like poorly-lit streets and potholes, which have prevented residents from walking in the neighborhood.

Founded in 2005 with seed support from LISC/Chicago’s New Communities Program and other funders, the Community of Wellness has evolved into a broad coalition of organizations and individuals including health care providers, human service agencies, advocacy groups, research institutions, schools and institutions of higher education.

For its dedication to the wellness of the residents of Greater Humboldt Park and its comprehensive and innovative services, The Greater Humboldt Park Community of Wellness is awarded The Chicago  Community Trust Outstanding Community Strategy of the Year Award.