Grants awarded for healthy community projects

Building Healthy Communities has awarded $4,000 in grants to four different organizations that have proposed summer projects designed to encourage healthier lifestyles in Merced County.

The grants were available to nonprofit organizations, agencies, schools, faith-based groups and community residents dedicated to promoting the BHC mission of “building a healthy community in which youth and families are healthy, safe and ready to learn.”

The first grant went to Lavelle Winzwer, of Summer Health and Fitness Sports Club, who proposed a fitness clinic in the South Merced and Beachwood-Franklin area. The project will be a 12-week clinic that will give youth in low-income neighborhoods the opportunity to participate in physical activity through instructional training and interactive competitive play. According to the project proposal, the funding would be used for sports equipment, snacks, transportation and stipends for peer health coaches.

The second $1,000 grant was awarded to Meghan Kehoe, of Hmong Children’s Group. Her organization will conduct a road safety project that will focus on the Hmong culture. A six-month curriculum crafted by the Valley Crisis staff and volunteers was also designed to build a sense of belonging and decrease crime.

The third grant was awarded to Nicolas Manriquez, of Planada, who will hold a kickboxing and karate clinic. The goal of the project, according to the proposal, is to keep youth away from the streets and gang activity by creating an interest in martial arts.

The final $1,000 grant was awarded to Yolanda Pineda, of Carnaval de Salud in south Merced. The funding will be used to host a carnival that will promote the understanding and development of a healthy lifestyle.

BHC is a 10-year, $1 billion program of the California Endowment. Southwest Merced and east Merced County make up one of 14 communities involved in the program.