At LVTRise, we recognize that in order for a community to truly thrive, individuals within the community need to be healthy, both physically and emotionally. Many of our residents in the LVT community struggle to obtain these resources due to accessibility and proximity, which is why LVTRise has prioritized health and wellness as one of our core efforts in need of improvement along the Las Vegas Trail.
Our bi-weekly food pantry has continued to reach the community in once unimaginable ways. Prior to the pandemic, LVTRise fed approximately 60 families per week. COVID-19 drastically changed our day-to-day operations, however, our Program Director Ashley Mortimer kept the pantry running throughout the pandemic, and the turnout grew exponentially. Now, hundreds of residents from all over the Las Vegas Trail community come to us to get fresh produce and groceries at zero cost.
Food is continually the number one requested item among residents in the LVT community. Our partnerships with the Tarrant Area Food Bank and the Blue Zones Project allow us to not only provide our residents with weekly groceries, but with nutritious foods that help make our community stronger.
In February, LVTRise partnered with Blue Zones Project for our Heart Walk in celebration of American Heart Health Month. Blue Zones Project provided participants with a hearty breakfast and healthy snacks, and the event was held on the outdoor walking path surrounding the Rise Community Center. Our partnership with Blue Zones Projects continues to help our residents build healthy habits, and we hope to continue to spread the importance of nutrition, exercise, and health among our community members.
The Rise Community Center continues to serve as a neighborhood hub for a variety of residents' health needs. This year, LVTRise partnered with Tarrant County Public Health and MedStar to help bring the COVID-19 vaccine directly to the Las Vegas Trail neighborhood. The friendly faces of the LVTRise staff helped community members register for the vaccine through the TCPH online portal. Many residents within the community do not have access to steady internet or transportation, and the mobile vaccine clinic helped us register and vaccinate residents in the comforts of their very own community center. LVTRise has even more vaccination drives planned for the future to assist the local neighborhood.
Residents can also access free STD and HIV testing every Thursday at the community center, courtesy of Tarrant County Public Health. LVTRise also hosts Helen Keller International and United Way of Tarrant County to conduct free eye exams for Las Vegas Trail community members in the Rise Community Center.
Our partnership with the Art Station assists residents with their emotional and mental health. The Art Station facilitates both individual and group art therapy designed to help express feelings, reduce stress, and cope with trauma. Residents can make appointments with the Art Station every Wednesday and Friday at the Rise Community Center. LVTRise recently welcomed our newest partner, SwitchLife, to the community center. Every Tuesday afternoon, SwitchLife provides local kids with skateboarding lessons as a fun after-school activity that promotes getting outside and being active.
The health of the residents that make up Las Vegas Trail has long been neglected, but not anymore. Our team at LVTRise is dedicated to finding new ways to prioritize the health and wellness of our community through our incredible partnerships that not only help us bring these necessary resources but help us restore hope and unlock the full potential of the LVT community.