Multi-Cultural Festival 2019
Let’s be real- blacksmithing is definitely a workout… but that wasn’t the only exercise The Steel Yard was doing at the first-ever Olneyville Multicultural Festival at Riverside Park on September 21, 2019! The Steel Yard is promoting wellness and health in the community through our participation in the Central Providence Health Equity Zone (HEZ).
During the festival, we were thrilled to have artist & Yardie Mark Oribello provide a blacksmithing demonstration! We also hired our neighbor and personal trainer Jason Marton of Little Engine Personal Training, to lead public exercises (for free!) on the newly installed fitness equipment in Riverside Park. The artistic parallel bars were designed by Brendan Rose and fabricated by Brendan and Peter Tenney.
The festival was a celebration of cultures in Olneyville, and an opportunity for residents to learn about community organizations like ourselves. Over 600 residents attended, and over 3 dozen local performers, dancers, and visual artists participated.
So…what is a Health Equity Zone, you may ask? The Rhode Island Department of Health started the Health Equity Zones initiative in 2015 to be a community-led, research-based way to build the infrastructure needed to improve the health of the community! The initiative funds many projects to address all aspects of a community’s health including workforce development, afterschool programs, to health clinics. Each one is unique to the specific community! The Steel Yard first got involved with the Olneyville HEZ doing workforce training. In the past couple of years, we were able to create the “Olneyville Fitness Trail” through HEZ and with a community grant from the Rhode Island Foundation. Now, the Olneyville HEZ has expanded to become the Central Providence HEZ, and The Steel Yard is the “Neighborhood Link” for the Valley Neighborhood. Our next step will be to help administer a Needs Assessment for the area. (If you live in the Valley and want to be involved, let us know!)