Somerset County is typically ranked as one of the top three "healthiest" counties in New Jersey.
However, two townships in the County, Bound Brook and South Bound Brook, have challenges to good health because of current social, economic, and environmental conditions.
Seeking to improve health in Bound Brook and South Bound Brook, the Healthier Somerset coalition received a 4-year, $200,000 grant from New Jersey Health Initiatives (NJHI). NJHI is the statewide grantmaking program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
NJHI strives to build a Culture of Health right here in New Jersey, the Foundation's home state, that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come.
4-H Youth Development Program and Middle Earth received a $200,000 grant from NJHI for "Student Ambassadors for Community Health". In this 3-year project, a total of 28 youth from Bound Brook and South Bound Brook, ages 15-20, implemented self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. They worked with coaches to learn about population health and develop leadership, citizenship, and collaboration skills. Their projects serve the community’s specific needs by addressing priorities from the Blueprint for Action.
AARP COMMUNITY CHALLENGE GRANT
The Healthier Somerset coalition received a "quick-action" grant of $8,700 from the AARP Community Challenge. These grants are intended to jumpstart progress to support community residents of all ages, for instance to "create vibrant public places in the community through permanent or temporary solutions that improve open spaces, parks and access to other amenities." The grant was used by the Student Ambassadors for Community Health to develop murals and a parklet.