Promise in Brevard Pivots During COVID-19 Pandemic With Help from Health First
By Space Coast Daily // July 12, 2021
Promise in Brevard provides an affordable housing community for adults with disabilities
Residents of the housing community for adults with disabilities continued living their best lives with cooking and fitness instruction.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Promise in Brevard residents Ashley and Zachary would not be deterred from living their best lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were just too many culinary experiments to be cooked up and dance moves to be choreographed.
Founded in 2014, Promise in Brevard provides an affordable housing community for adults with disabilities that incorporates a variety of programs and services that provide a fulfilling life for residents. Programs include vocational training and employment opportunities, transportation services and independent living courses.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Promise in Brevard staff looked for ways to keep their residents, affectionately referred to as “Promisers,” active and healthy. They decided to design and implement a Health, Wellness and Fitness program. It included participation in the Health First Mayor’s Fitness Challenge, as well as fitness and nutrition classes.
To hear the dynamic duo Zachary and Ashley explain it, local restaurants, shopping and entertainment are all within walking distance of the beautiful facility. Although they closed for a long time during the pandemic, Promise in Brevard, backed by assistance from Health First, made sure residents continued to incorporate exercise and nutritional programs into the daily activity mix.
“We’ve been able to create a lot of new recipes in our nutrition and cooking class, using many different flavors and lots of vegetables,” said Ashley, who enjoys researching new ways to create flavorful dishes.
“But not all of it is healthy,” she added with a sly smile.
Zachary, on the other hand, considers himself a “microwave chef.” “I like being able to use the microwave to cook some of the things we created. It’s fast and easy,” he said.
Breakdancing and Smoothies
One thing they both like to create together – smoothies. “We can create something that is really healthy and tasty using many different things, like fruits and vegetables. Just be sure to watch the sugar,” Ashley reminds us.
If their cooking and culinary styles seem to be completely opposite from one another, their favorite dance moves follow suit. Zachary likes to create new breakdance moves, while Ashley really enjoys Zumba with “loud Latin beats.” In fact, it’s Ashley’s dream to teach a Zumba class one day.
While Zachary and Ashley are the fun crew who “like to party,” according to Zachary, fellow resident Kimberly exhibits more of a calm, cool, leadership persona. She sat back in a wicker rocking chair casually observing Zachary showing off some of his breakdance moves with a quiet, amused smile.
A Brooklyn, New York native, Kimberly learned about Promise in Brevard through family members. “I was very excited to come here a few years ago. It seemed like a really open and happy place with many opportunities.”
Providing Healthy Benefits
Kimberly likes art, swimming and long walks, and she especially enjoys hanging out with her friends and boyfriend William. “I really like aerial stretching – it’s like getting a hug, while calming you. I am also going to start Pilates class soon. I enjoy dancing – but I really like long walks best.”
All three residents agree that the ability to have these fun, engaging, healthy and educational opportunities right on-site with the assistance of Health First has made the pandemic much easier to get through.
“It’s been hard not being able to go places or do many of the things we did before. But this has been a lot of fun. It’s taught us a lot, and it’s made me really happy to be where I’m at,” Kimberly said.
“Health First is truly honored to support programs and organizations like Promise in Brevard, which provide so many healthy benefits to our community,” said Shona Price, Health First Director of Community Engagement.
“The residents of Promise in Brevard, as Zachary, Ashley and Kimberly have demonstrated, were able, even in the midst of a global pandemic, to create a healthy lifestyle, while also creating new friendships and having fun. Our mission to help create a healthier Brevard can be seen right here!”
$184 Million in Community Support
As part of its mission, Health First partners with local organizations to improve the wellness and health of Brevard. These strategic partnerships expand activities and programs that increase access to healthcare and ultimately lead to overall better health among Brevard’s residents.
For Fiscal Year 2020, counting all contributions made to other organizations and direct charity and uncompensated care, Health First provided more than $184 million in community support.
To learn more, visit HFGivesBack.org