PAHL’s work includes a robust array of programs, with a successful track record of impacting residents’ health, via programs focused on:
PAHL’s Belvedere Peace Community Garden (BPCG), established in 2009, is now a 50-plot organic garden located on the eastern edge of Belvedere Park. The BPCG includes a 41-plot tire garden, large watermelon patch, composting area, worm house, flowers beds, shade bulb garden, honeybee hives, fruit trees, and an outdoor classroom area. About 70% of gardeners believe they eat healthier because of the garden. Twenty garden plots are dedicated to feeding the community. In 2012, over 200 pounds of produce were distributed for free to community residents. The PAHL Produce Market was started in 2013 to provide affordable produce to residents. A free produce distribution program for seniors that began in 2012 reaches 15 senior households through weekly deliveries during harvest periods.
Garden for All is a garden education program for youth ages 6-12 years. Hands-on lessons are conducted by local experts and include planting, nutrition, composting and soil, insects and worms, water and sun cycles, and medicinal herbs. Over 60 youth and over 30 volunteer “Garden Buddies” have participated in the program.
PAHL started the FFAST (Fit Families are Active, Safe & Thriving) 5K & 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk in 2013. The race is one of only three 5K events in South DeKalb. Over 80 new bicycles were distributed to youth and adults through a generous donation from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. PAHL also promotes active living in South DeKalb by offering fitness demos at community events. Jazzercise, Dub Step and Gospelobics are some of the styles presented for all fitness levels at PAHL events.
Bi-monthly neighborhood walks through Belvedere Park also promote active living and help connect neighbors and heighten awareness of community assets. PAHL installed a .1 mile public walking track in front of the community garden in response to resident’s expressed need for a safe place to walk.
The quarterly Community Forums currently held in Belvedere Park, address the community’s top priorities; namely, code compliance violations, abandoned housing, and neighborhood safety. PAHL connects residents to county departments and resources to empower the community and inspire action toward community improvement. Residents connect through small group activities and the open dialogue segment “Community Speaks”. Forum attendance has grown steadily from 45 to 150 since 2012.
Community events bring neighborhood families together for outdoor fun and education. PAHLs Healthy Life Expo and Screen on the Green events consistently generate crowds of over 100 residents. Over 140 Belvedere residents are connected on Nextdoor.com. This online resource reinforces Forum-related community safety/code compliance information and generates a positive sense of community. PAHL has as strong presence on Nextdoor.com and uses the site to promote community building.