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.
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Somerset County 4-H Youth Development Program received a $200,000 grant from NJHI for "Student Ambassadors for Community Health". In this 3-year project, a total of 30 youth from Bound Brook and South Bound Brook, ages 14-21, will receive guidance from trained community-based coaches. They will learn about population health, develop leadership skills, and implement self-designed projects to make their communities healthier. To advance this work, the 4-H Youth Development Program is partnering with Middle Earth, an at-risk youth service provider, and the Healthier Somerset Coalition.
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.