“I am full of joy! Our clients can’t say enough of how the Parents as Co-Educators program has impacted their lives and their children’s lives. I would like to extend their gratitude to all the agencies that are part of the Vita Collaborative. Thank you for giving me the opportunity of being part of this program and this exciting journey!”

– Tania Recinos, Outreach Worker Co- Educator Program

The Stamford Youth Mental Health Alliance (YMHA) initiative was developed in response to the myriad mental health challenges affecting Stamford residents, especially our youth and teenagers. Under the Alliance, Vita partners and community leaders have responded to the emergent crisis through three areas of strategic focus: Mental Wellness, Continuum of Care and Communication.

Through the YMHA initiative, the community has held numerous mental health trainings for parent groups, churchgoers, caregivers, school nurses, teachers, police officers and counselors on the different facets of this challenging issue, recognizing early warning signs and building effective supports. Please visit the Stamford Youth Mental Health Alliance (YMHA) website for current trainings and events!

Stamford YMHA

The Vita Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) initiative was launched in rapid response to the emerging threat from the coronavirus pandemic. Although Vita partners provided direct services to members of the Stamford community that were exposed to COVID-19, in May 2020 very few of them had access to this vital protective equipment.

Through its PPE initiative, the Vita Partnership provided more than 30,000 surgical and KN-95 masks along with 12,000 disposable nitrile gloves.  It accomplished this goal by raising donations enabling it to purchase bulk quantities – as a collective – and either reselling them at cost or donating at no cost them to our community partners.   

Below are some features of the unique Vita PPE initiative:

Why: Address the personal protection needs of frontline workers who routinely care for residents experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. The intent is to ensure that those workers are adequately protected to minimize their risk of being exposed to the virus and, most importantly, furthering its spread into the healthy population.

The Vita PPE Initiative

What: Supply PPE, consisting of surgical masks, KN-95 masks and disposable nitrile gloves to front line workers as needed to support safe work practices according to accepted standards.

How: Qualified agencies made requests for PPE through the Vita website portal and were invoiced through PayPal.  Once payment was received, one of our community partners delivered the PPE’s directly to the agency.  Funds received from the resale of the PPEs were recycled to purchase more inventory thus creating a self-replenishing supply.

Home is so much more than shelter. The seed that has grown into the Vita Health & Wellness Partnership was the recognition that it wasn’t enough to replace our dilapidated, obsolete public housing – it needed to be reimagined. Our community helped shape our vision.

In our mixed-income communities, there’s no difference between residences rented at market rate and ones subsidized for people with limited incomes. All construction uses high-quality, eco-friendly, nontoxic materials. Our communities are smoke-free and offer ample green space and parking. Houses have yards, front doors and large windows that overlook greenery and the street, to foster safety and ownership.

Stamford Hospital Anchors the Vita Health and Wellness District
A case study by the Department of Housing and Urban Development

Hospital Partners with Housing Authority to Put Health at the Center of a Neighborhood Transformation
A Profile by “Build Healthy Places”

The Role of Anchor Institutions in Restoring Neighborhoods
A report by the National Housing Conference

Research links the availability of affordable, nutritious foods with improved health outcomes, including lower rates of obesity, heart disease and cancer. From the start, Vita aimed to improve access to healthy food in our neighborhood.

In collaboration with our partners, including Stamford Health, Optimus Healthcare and Shoprite Supermarkets, we offer nutrition classes and cooking demonstrations. At Fairgate Farm, we grow more than 7,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables each year, sharing the harvest with our volunteers and local non-profit agencies.

Our Fairgate Farm Calendar
An inside look at what’s happening at the Farm

Volunteer for Nutritional Benefits at Fairgate Farm
The benefits of getting involved at the Farm

Our Vita partnerships expand access to educational services for neighborhood residents from all walks of life, including non-English speaking families new to the United States. Vita’s focus on improving outcomes in early childhood education by assisting parents as “co-educators” has been demonstrated to eliminate the pre-K achievement gap, setting our students on course for successful educational outcomes.  Our health-themed neighborhood provides context for careers ranging from culinary arts to agriculture to medical services and healthcare.

Program aims to integrate immigrants, one family at a time
An article by The Stamford Times

Stamford’s Vita Launches Pilot Program To Support Low-Income Families
An article by the Stamford Daily Voice

Our ultimate goal is to equalize the social determinants of health. The Vita Health & Wellness Partnership is committed to making everything related to health and medical care easier and more effective.  We’ve accomplished this through partnerships with community-based clinics, improved access to specialty care, expansion of tele-medicine services and enhanced care coordination for vulnerable populations. We are here to help our neighborhood get and stay healthy, in every way.

Aligning in Action: Vita Health & Wellness District
A Case Study by the Georgia Health Policy Center

Fairgate Farm Awarded $22,640 Grant by the Harvard Pilgrim Health
An article by Stamford Patch

Vita is, first and foremost, about creating strong and resilient neighborhoods. Community and Connection are key to our programs.  The Stamford Boys and Girls Club and other community-based partners have helped to restore vital community cohesion. Our West Side NRZ (neighborhood association) meets quarterly to review areas of common concern and opportunity. A merchant’s group has forged alliances with City managers to set priorities and oversee neighborhood improvements. Offering volunteer opportunities, a communal gathering place and a busy schedule of special events and educational workshops, Fairgate Farm has become the acknowledged heart of our community.

Stamford Wins Grant for West Side Health Offerings
An article by the Stamford Advocate

Tapping Into a Collective Vision: Emerging Strategies for Integrating Health and Housing
A Case Study by the Urban Institute

From Guard Towers to Gardens
An article by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations

Not only is our West Side neighborhood home to the City’s largest employer, we also support local small businesses. Through Community Collaborative partnerships, we help families build sustainable lifestyles. We offer internships and educational opportunities for people of every age.