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ter and the foundation’s offices. It’ll be next to 66-acre Ward Park, which is owned by the city. ���������������������������������������� Good intentions and thorough research have helped the foundation become the leading champion of wellness in the Winter Park area. But luck and timing have played roles, too. In 1994, the 300-bed Winter Park Memorial Hospital was finding it tough to compete in the managed-care environment of the time. So the governing Winter Park Memorial Hospital Association Inc. sold controlling interest to Columbia/ HCA, the company then run by Rick Scott, now governor of Florida. The association began doing business as the Winter Park Health Foundation. In that transaction, the foundation got properties such as the Miller Center and Crosby Y buildings and added cash to its endowment. Then, in 2000, the foundation sold its remaining interest in Winter Park Memorial, which Columbia/HCA promptly sold in its entirety to Florida Hospital. The foundation’s assets have grown from about $88 million at its inception in 1994 to about $128 million at the end of 2014, Watson says. Although it once covered a broader area that included Oviedo, the foundation now concentrates on Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville, with a mission of preventing disease and creating an environment conducive to good health. It focuses on children, older adults and overall community health, mainly by making grants to groups it believes can make a difference. But its philosophy is not to throw money at grant recipients for a year and walk away, Watson says. “We tend to fund longer and stick with it. We work with them on sustainability, to help them stand on their own.” Winter Park and Maitland may seem unlikely targets for such philanthropy, but the foundation’s frequent assessments have found that from a health standpoint, the two relatively affluent cities face the same challenges that most other places do. “The simplistic answer is that affluence and prosperity does not equal good health,” says Maddox, who recently was named the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year for her foundation work, including the development of Project Wellness. A 2014 assessment conducted for Healthy Central Florida — a partnership between the foundation and Florida Hospital — found that more than half of the three cities’ adult residents were considered overweight, and 14.2 percent rated their own health as fair or poor. That compares with 15.3 percent nationwide. 100 LIVING IN WINTER PARK CARE FOR KIDS In its early days, the foundation learned that kids here needed help just as much as kids living anywhere else. More families than expected in the Winter Park area were living in poverty, and one of every five children was suffering from depression. Rates of smoking among teens were troublingly high. Those findings led to the Coordinated Youth Initiative, an effort to improve the mental and physical health of children in 12 schools that serve Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville. The foundation now spends more than $1 million a year on health in schools. Its School Nursing Initiative helps provide a full-time nurse at each of the schools — an asset not available elsewhere in Orange County. In addition, nurse practitioners stationed at Glenridge Middle School and Winter Park High School conduct physical exams, write prescriptions and treat common ailments without charge for students at all 12 schools. Their focus is on kids who don’t have a regular source of care, or who face other barriers in getting medical help. Healthy School Teams made up of faculty, parents and other residents come up with ways to improve student health. During the 2014-15 school year, nurses handled almost 40,000 visits, says Pam Flaherty, a nurse practitioner who coordinates the School Nursing Initiative. “If we can’t give them everything they need, we know where to find it,” she adds. Because they have the knowledge to make accurate assessments, nurses send about 95 percent of kids back to class after a clinic visit, compared with 80 to 85 percent who are seen by unlicensed attendants, Flaherty says. But the foundation’s CHILL program may be its most innovative. Licensed mental-health counselors for CHILL (Community Health and Intervention in Life’s Lessons) offer up to 12 in dividual or group sessions to youngsters struggling with problems such as depres sion, anxiety, bullying and anger management. SENIOR CLASSES At the other end of the age spectrum, the foundation is trying to keep older adults living independently longer — and to keep them learning so they can maintain cognitive abilities. One grant, for example, led to the creation of Neighbors Network, whose members pay a fee to get help with basic household tasks — including decorating during the holidays or changing light bulbs — instead of climbing ladders and risking broken bones. Cyber Seniors pairs older people who want to become computer-literate with young volunteers who provide one-on-one instruction on how to use smartphones, tablets and laptops. The goal is simple, Silvey says: Help seniors stay connected. PHOTO BY WINTER PARK PICTURES


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