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Partners HealthCare and Thrive in 5 partnership brings fun, healthy activities to Boston families

Partners HealthCare and Thrive in 5 partnership brings fun, healthy activities to Boston families

(Photos courtesy of Dudley Children Thrive)

Farmer’s Markets, cooking classes, swimming lessons and gardening are just some of the fun and healthy activities Partners HealthCare and Thrive in 5 are bringing to children and families in Boston neighborhoods.

With an additional three-year commitment to Thrive in 5, Partners is helping to improve community health and support families and neighborhoods. The two organizations have had a close collaboration since 2008.

Working together, Thrive in 5 and Partners are striving to create neighborhood networks and environments that ensure every child has the opportunities and support they need for success in school and in life. At the center of this work is Boston Children Thrive.

Launched in 2010, Boston Children Thrive (BCT) is Thrive in 5’s on-the-ground effort to engage parents as their children’s first teachers and as neighborhood-wide change agents for school readiness. In Allston/Brighton, East Boston, South End/Lower Roxbury, Dudley, and Fields Corner, Thrive in 5 and its partners have created networks of parents, community organizations and neighborhood businesses that plan and carry out activities and provide opportunities that support young children’s healthy growth, development and school readiness.

Through a new, free and voluntary membership initiative started last year, more than 2,800 adults and 2,100 children have enrolled in BCT and have become connected to a neighborhood network. The community BCT campaign helps Thrive in 5 build deeper relationships with the members and provide more targeted services, and it gives families more opportunities to engage in community activities that support young children’s school readiness.

Some of these opportunities include health and nutrition-focused activities and education for families with young children that build on Partners’ commitment to HEAL — healthy eating and active living — and addressing these issues as early in life as possible.

“Good health and nutrition are critical building blocks to a child’s healthy development,” said Matt Fishman, vice president for community health, Partners HealthCare. “But too often, eating healthy is a challenge for many of the families in the neighborhoods we serve. Through our strong partnership with Thrive in 5 and the BCT communities, we are working together to fulfill one of our top priorities in our community health work: prevention, and finding creative strategies that enable children and families to make healthy choices that ensure good health and well being.”

Research is clear that a proper balance of nutrition in the first years of life is crucial for brain development and helps prevent childhood obesity.  

 “We’re grateful to have Partners’ support for Boston Children Thrive,” said Jane Tewksbury, Thrive in 5’s executive director. “Children’s health and nutrition are a critical part of their development, helping ensure their readiness for success in school and life. Partners funding makes it possible for Thrive in 5 and our community-based partners to support Boston’s young children and their families with health information and resources, right where they live.”