- September 7, 2022
Thanks to grants from the West Orange Healthcare District, some local residents will be able to benefit from programs offered by Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida and the Winter Garden Art Association.
Last month, the WOHD provided a $15,000 grant to CSV to help the organization cover the cost of providing safety programs. This particular grant will allow 2,800 children in West Orange to take advantage of instruction in water, fire, gun, internet, biking and pedestrian safety.
“They actually have a child-centered village environment that puts the learner at the center while they’re creating real-life, engaging experiences that prepares them to be a full participant in their own safety,” said WOHD CEO Tracy Swanson. “We are providing that funding to ensure that those in West Orange have the opportunity to go to the safety village and participate in one or more of the many programs they offer. They provide scenarios with hands-on exercises — everything from fire safety, pedestrian safety, 911 poison protection, water, bike and helmet safety.
“It’s all conducted there on their campus, and they have trained professionals that are doing the training,” Swanson said. “This grant request that they made for us was to fund the students that are in the school system or in the child aftercare program throughout West Orange.”
Brent Moore, executive director at CSV, said children will get to visit the village on field trips. The organization offers nine safety programs, and children will choose two programs to experience during their trip.
“We wanted to offer something to those children in the west part of Orange County, as well, and this was a perfect fit to get this grant so we can partner with them and their Healthy West Orange initiative to help make kids on the west side of town safer,” Moore said. “It’s just an ongoing love of trying to teach this community how to be safe, especially our children.”
Statistically, Central Florida leads the country in pedestrian incidents and the state of Florida leads the country in preventable drowning of children up through age 4, Moore said. Those are numbers the CSV wants to change.
“We’re hoping — with the programs we offer here — that we will never be No. 1 in two categories that no one ever wants to be No. 1 in,” Moore said. “We’re hoping from the classes we teach that these children will learn how to properly cross the street and what to do in these situations. It’s the hands-on experience they get when they come here that will hopefully help keep them safe.”
Additionally, the WOHD gave a $21,570 grant to the Winter Garden Art Association to cover the cost of art classes for seniors experiencing various stages of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These classes are designed to engage those affected by such memory loss in a social art activity. It also allows their caregivers an opportunity for respite.
Both grants are part of the organization’s community health care grants program, which offers both simplified and initiative grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations for various needs. The simplified grant program provides funds for those organizations that have a health-related project ready to activate in the district.
Initiative grants fund qualifying nonprofits that have larger goals within a specific area of need identified within the district. Applications are screened by WOHD staff and then reviewed by its Community Health Benefits Committee, which in turn makes a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
Swanson said the WOHD chose the CSV and the WGAA to receive grants this fall because of the work they’re doing to ensure the youngest and oldest residents in West Orange have access to safety and health-enrichment programs.
“When we awarded the grant to the Children’s Safety Village, we also awarded a grant at the same week to the Winter Garden Arts Association for arts programing they’re providing the Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers,” Swanson said. “That’s two ends of the spectrum in terms of demographics that we are addressing. We just have a vested interest in ensuring the wellbeing of all demographics of West Orange County.”