Be Well™ Acres Homes is an initiative of MD Anderson in collaboration with Harris Health System, Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation, UTHealth School of Public Health, and more than 30 community organizations united together with residents of Acres Homes.
Be Well Acres Homes aims to mobilize the community to promote health and wellness. We unite partners to carry out community-led solutions that will make positive, long-lasting change in people’s lives.
The Be Well Acres Homes action plan was developed with and for the community, in alignment with the Houston Complete Communities initiative, a City of Houston program focused on bridging the gap between equity and opportunity in 10 historically under-resourced neighborhoods, including Acres Homes.
Building on a roadmap for community investment developed by the community residents themselves through the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities, Be Well Acres Homes 18 organizations will implement 20 evidence-based interventions focused on active living and healthy eating. These projects will be guided by the steering committee to ensure resident feedback and long-term sustainability are built into all aspect of the work.
Our initial activities include:
- expanding exercise and healthy eating programs for all ages
- building community and school-based gardens
- increasing access to fresh, healthy food
- improving parks, trails and places for physical activity
We are building a healthier community together!
Our Current Activities
Health Eating and Active Living
- Aldine ISD is a CATCH® district that supports healthy eating and physical activity for the whole family. Fifteen campuses will participate in extended programming in support of the district’s wellness plan.
- Brighter Bites is a comprehensive, multi-component school program that increases access to fresh fruits and vegetables combined with nutrition education for obesity prevention among low-income children and their families. They will be active in three elementary schools: two Aldine ISD schools and one Houston ISD school. They will also be hosting cooking classes and producing videos on fruit and vegetable preparation with UTHealth's Nourish program.
- City of Houston Health Department will increase opportunities for physical activity at the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center through the program called “Healthier HOU”.
- City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities (MOCC) will expand its expertise in community engagement and public policies and procedures to support Be Well Acres Homes overall.
- City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department will improve infrastructure and fitness programs at Lincoln Park for all ages and abilities, with improved pool infrastructure, swimming, aquatic and fitness classes, and offering the “Houston Soccer for Success” program for youth.
- Harris County Public Health (HCPH) will work with community partners to improve the environment and promote physical activity.
- With the statewide OLE! Texas program, five childcare centers will enhance outdoor learning environments and promote connectivity with nature.
- HCPH will facilitate collaboration between the City of Houston, Aldine ISD, Houston ISD, and other partners to create Safe Routes to School (SRTS) action plan for improved infrastructure to walk and bike safely around the Acres Homes neighborhood.
- Harris Health System (HHS) will expand their community engagement strategy through the Acres Home Health Center by offering programming through their Food Farmacy and teaching kitchen in collaboration with UTHealth, and offering navigation and outreach services to the community.
- To encourage long-term use and stewardship of our shared park system, Houston Parks Board is collaborating with local partners and civic leaders on accessible, community-driven programming related to the proposed Vogel Creek Greenway.
- Lone Star College – Houston North is committed to serving unmet needs in the community through institutionalizing food distribution and providing education that contributes to sustained change.
- Nature & Eclectic Outdoors will partner with several Acres Homes K-12 schools in Aldine ISD and Harmony Public Schools to address child obesity and improve student access to healthy fruits and vegetables. NEO's efforts will encourage family participation and will focus on campus-based gardening programs and nutrition education.
- Prairie View A&M University’s Cooperative Extension Program will implement multiple community and school gardens, provide nutritional education workshops for access to fresh foods and information to lead healthier, happier lifestyles. They will be collaborating with Beauty's Community Garden, Collaboration Voices Foundation, and the Nourish program at UTHealth.
- UTHealth School of Public Health will be collaborating with the HHS Acres Home Health Center to deliver and evaluate patient and community-inclusive classes focused on reducing food insecurity and improving healthy eating.
We engage funded community engagement residents liaisons and representatives from community-based organizations to form a steering committee that guides planning and implementation. Current steering committee members represent the following organizations:
- Acres Home Chamber for Business & Economic Development
- Acres Homes Health Action Team
- Aldine ISD
- American Heart Association
- Beauty’s Community Garden
- Brighter Bites
- Center for Civic & Public Policy Improvement
- Change Happens
- City of Houston Health Department
- City of Houston Mayor’s Office
- City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities
- City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department
- Collaborating Voices Foundation
- Communities for Better Health
- Harris County Precinct 1
- Harris County Public Health
- Harris Health
- Healthy Outdoor Communities
- Honor Humanity
- Houston Area Urban League
- Houston Food Bank
- Houston Parks Board
- Houston Symphony
- Kings Bike and Hike Community
- Lone Star College – Houston North
- Memorial Hermann Community Benefit Corporation
- Nature and Eclectic Outdoors
- Near Northwest Management District
- Prairie View A&M University
- Residents & Champions of Acres Homes
- Settegast Heights Redevelopment Corporation Northeast Community
- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
- UTHealth School of Public Health
- UTPhysicians Victory Clinic
5 simple ways to get involved
- Visit the Acres Homes Farmers Market.
- Discover new ways to stay active at Lincoln Park or join a walking group at Highland Park.
- Become a community champion and help design activities for all at the future Vogel Creek Greenway trail.
- Sign up to receive the Houston Complete Communities Newsletter to learn more about what is happening in Acres Homes.
- Be a part of Be Well Acres Homes and spread the word by promoting health and wellness: #BeWellAcresHomes.
For more information, email Ruth Rechis, Ph.D., Director, Be Well Communities™ at email@example.com