WPHF Wellbeing in the Community: Author Rae Chesny Visits Eatonville and Winter Park

by admin
June 29, 2023

To underscore its ongoing commitment to the communities of Eatonville, Maitland, and Winter Park, WPHF has launched its Wellbeing in the Community initiative – a series of satellite Center for Health & Wellbeing (CHWB) Community Education programs hosted at locations throughout our impact area. These satellite opportunities are presented with WPHF community partners and are open to the public. 

As part of this new initiative, on Wednesday, June 21, author and Zora Neale Hurston scholar Rae Chesny hosted a reading of her children’s book “Zora’s Garden” and a gardening activity at Winter Park Presbyterian Church’s preschool and at the Eatonville Library. During these two events, close to 100 young local readers were able to celebrate the magic of gardening and of Central Florida’s own Hurston.  

Rae engaged children in the traditional art of storytelling with “Zora’s Garden,” a heartfelt adventure that honors the real Zora Neale Hurston with the perfect mix of fact and fiction. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about Hurston, her love of gardening, and her life as a child in Eatonville. After the reading, children participated in planting and art projects and left with seeds to care for and watch grow at home. Each attendee received a free copy of Zora’s Garden provided by the Winter Park Health Foundation.  

Early exposure to both reading and environmental wellbeing activities like gardening can have lifelong health benefits. Reading to children supports brain development, helps with language and cognitive growth, and promotes a lifelong love of reading and learning. Moving soil, carrying a heavy watering can, digging in the dirt, or pushing a wheelbarrow can promote gross motor skills and overall strength development for young bodies. The Winter Park Health Foundation was proud to offer an opportunity for local children to do both of those critical things with our partner Rae Chesny.

Learn more about our Wellbeing in the Community initiative here. To view and register for upcoming programs at WPHF’s Center for Health & Wellbeing, please visit YourHealthandWellbeing.org.  

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