In the News: Groundbreaking Partnership Promotes Health Equity in Brookline Public Housing

In the News: Groundbreaking Partnership Promotes Health Equity in Brookline Public Housing

BROOKLINE, MA, September 19, 2023 – Healthworks, the Brookline Housing Authority, and Women Thriving, Inc. are proud to announce the successful completion of the “30-Day Wellness Challenge,” a groundbreaking initiative aimed at improving the health and well-being of 30 women residing in public housing in Brookline. This transformative challenge culminated in the award of free gym memberships to participants at two esteemed Brookline-based gyms, Healthworks and GymIt.

The inception of this initiative was inspired by a community health assessment conducted by Boston University School of Public Health last year. The assessment shed light on the health disparities faced by residents in less-resourced communities and the lack of access to recreational facilities. Recognizing the pressing need for action, several BIPOC resident leaders associated with Women Thriving, Inc., a local Brookline-based nonprofit, devised a comprehensive strategy. The strategy entailed a month-long fitness program complete with a dedicated mobile app, community health events, peer support, and, of course, enticing prizes. Healthworks and GymIt quickly signed on to contribute 30 free gym memberships, as well as on-site classes in public housing.

“The pandemic did a number on all of us,” remarked Kimberley Richardson, Vice President of Women Thriving, Inc. “I know for me, it was a struggle to practice self-care between lock-downs, stress, and just trying to survive. This challenge was an opportunity for women to improve our physical and mental health together.”

Women wholeheartedly embraced the challenge, with one sharing, “The challenge motivated me to put myself out there, meet new people, and stick to my goals. I now feel more confident in myself.” Many participants are eager to continue building relationships and maintaining healthy habits with their newly acquired gym memberships.

President of Healthworks Group, Mark Harrington Jr., expressed his commitment, stating, “We are consistently searching for new opportunities to create a safe space and strong community for those who have experienced health equity gaps. Our nonprofit foundation Healthworks Community Fitness serves women in Dorchester, and we honored to serve the women of Brookline through this fantastic partnership.”

Danielle Mendola, Director of Resident Services at the BHA expressed her appreciation. “Fitness facilities are financially out-of-reach for many low-income residents.  This partnership not only meets identified needs but is making our community stronger.”

Collectively, challenge participants tracked nearly 700,000 steps over the course of the challenge and documented over 500 health-related accomplishments.

The challenge’s triumphant conclusion was marked by a final workout and an award ceremony held at the Brookline Teen Center, where participants celebrated their impressive achievements.

The wellness initiative received additional support from various local nonprofits, including the Brookline Community Foundation, the Brookline Community Development Corporation, and Friends of Brookline Public Health.

About Women Thriving, Inc.: Women Thriving, Inc. is a Brookline-based nonprofit dedicated to co-creating opportunities for women with low incomes to thrive through learning, leadership development, and community engagement.

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About the Brookline Housing Authority: The Brookline Housing Authority is committed to providing safe, decent, accessible, and affordable housing to low-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. BHA works in partnership with government and civic organizations to enhance the well-being and economic self-sufficiency of BHA residents, and to foster a diverse community in Brookline.

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About Healthworks:

Healthworks and everything we stand for has been woven into the fabric of Boston’s fitness community since 1977. That longevity and success have always been guided by a singular focus: elevating the power of women through wellness and connection to each other and their inner selves.

Healthworks has three fitness club locations; Back Bay, Coolidge Corner, and Porter Square.

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About GymIt:

With one location in Brookline and one in Watertown, our members get in, push their limits, see gains, and get going. And they want to do it at an affordable price without sacrificing the quality of the equipment, the friendliness of the staff, or the cleanliness of the facilities. Our members like to keep it simple.

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