East St. Louis, IL: Can we work together to improve the health of a community?
In the St. Louis region, data shows stagnant or declining process on many social determinants of health – including poverty, education, diet, exercise, employment and family support.
Through the East Side Aligned collective impact effort, guided by United Way of Greater St. Louis, the East St. Louis community has come together to turn these trends around and ensure that their young people are healthy, safe, socially connected, emotionally secure, successful in school, college and work, and positively engaged in their community by 2025. To begin work towards these ambitious goals, the GSK IMPACT Grant will support the East Side Thrives initiative to significantly increase access to high-quality, out-of-school time programming for children and teens focused on physical activity, making healthy choices, academic support and community engagement.
The East Side Thrives initiative is a partnership of the following 10 nonprofit organizations:
- Christian Activity Center
- Greater East St. Louis Community Fund
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation
- Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House, Inc.
- St. Louis Regional Public Media, Inc. (The Nine Network of Public Media)
- Sinai Family Life Center
- The Forum for Youth Investment
- United Way of Greater St. Louis (East Side Aligned)
- Vision for Children at Risk, Inc.
- Wyman Center, Inc.
While East St. Louis faces many challenges –including the highest child poverty rates in the region – the community is taking bold, collaborative steps to increase opportunities and outcomes for their young people. In addition to expanding out-of-school programming from 2,000 to 3,000 kids, East Side Thrives will empower these young people as leaders and help to amplify their voice, increase awareness about health disparities in their community, and to propose their own solutions to making East St. Louis a healthier place to live, work, learn and thrive.