Summertime means fun time for kids.
Well…it’s supposed to.
That’s why we are spotlighting three heroes who are saving summer for Latino families!
Melissa & Mary: Rescuing Fruit for San Antonio Families
Many families in San Antonio (63% Latino) live in food deserts. Ironically, there are lots of fruit trees in people’s yards—but fruit often falls and rots.
UTSA grad students Melissa Federspill and Mary Minor saw this waste.
They wanted to harvest fruit trees to share with families.
So they mapped local fruit trees online. They met with neighbors. They recruited volunteers to pick trees. And they contacted the San Antonio Food Bank to bring the fresh produce for distribution.
Now their “San Antonio Fruit Tree Project” harvests hundreds of pounds of fruit!
“We really just want to improve the access to healthy foods…and people’s community connections,” said Federspill.
Jay: Swim Coupons for Water Safety for the Youngest Kids
Drowning is the No. killer of young kids in Florida, especially Latinos.
That’s why SWIM Central, part of the Parks and Recreation Department of Broward County (27.5% Latino), buses school students ages 5 and up to local pool to teach swim safety.
But they had no similar classes for kids 4 and younger.
Jay Sanford, manager of SWIM Central, and its funder, Children’s Services Council, wanted to change that.
They came up with a “swim coupon” program.
Parents can print a $40 online coupon to pay for lessons for kids ages 6 months to 4 years.
In its first year, SWIM Central issued 5,000-plus coupons!
“These lessons are going to educate the child,” Sanford said, “and hopefully reduce unnecessary drownings.”
Erica: An Abandoned Alleyway to Health
Lake Worth, Fla. (39.6% Latino), has 29 miles of unpaved city streets and alleys.
Erica Whitfield, of the School District of Palm Beach County, brainstormed with other local leaders to find ways to boost local physical activity and city connectivity.
They believed they could turn some of those miles of city alleys into greenways for walking/playing and increased connection to schools, parks, and other places.
So they sought a grant.
They didn’t get it—but they went back to the drawing board.
They added plans for safe places to walk and get physical activity, bike lanes, crosswalks, and benches.
This time, they got a $750,000 grant to build walkable greenways.
“This is a beautiful way to develop the city,” Whitfield said.