February 1-29, 2024

 Towners 4 Heart Health Month is a special time when people from Overtown, also known as Towners, come together to focus on keeping their hearts healthy. The Overtown Parks Group (OPG) organizes this campaign to inspire community members to join in activities that are good for their hearts throughout the whole month. We want to encourage Towners to make healthy choices not just during American Heart Month, but always, so they can live longer and healthier lives. Towners 4 Life!

During this month, we invite everyone to take steps to Move More, Eat Healthier, Stress Less, & Work with a Doctor!

OPG partners will share pictures, videos, and host events to show how they’re being heart-healthy and to encourage others to do the same. The goal is to make everyone’s lives better and shine a spotlight on what makes Overtown a great place to be.

Scroll further to learn about upcoming events, heart healthy tips, & enter our raffle to win great prizes!

Upcoming Events

Join the Overtown Parks Group for free heart-healthy activities throughout the month. Get one entry for each event you attend in our Towners 4 Heart Health raffle! Event registration is necessary to qualify for the raffle. Your registration not only grants you entry but also helps us gauge attendance and interest in these events for future considerations.

Don’t forget to share your photos and videos with us! Use the hashtag #Towners4HeartHealth and tag/follow us on Instagram and Facebook @overtownparks

Enter the Raffle to Win Great Prizes! (Click to Expand Details)

Join the Towner 4 Heart Health Raffle hosted by the Overtown Parks Group and stand a chance to win fantastic prizes that will support your well-being!

Enter the raffle to win prizes like:
– Fitness equipment (Pedometers! Apple watches!)
– Cooking equipment (Air fryers! Instant Pots!)
– Gift Certificates for: Foot Locker, local restaurants, and more!

How to Enter:
Participating is easy! Attend any of #Towners4HeartHealth events during Towners 4 Heart Health Month (February 1-29, 2024), and complete the Official Towner 4 Heart Health Raffle form.

To be eligible for the raffle, individuals must:
– Register and participate in at least one Overtown Parks Group heart-healthy activity during Towners 4 Heart Health Month.
– Complete the Towner 4 Heart Health Raffle form at each event.

Criteria for Winning:
Winners will be selected randomly from eligible entries. The more heart-healthy activities you participate in, the more entries you will have in the raffle, increasing your chances of winning. No more than 1 raffle entry per person, per event is allowed.

Raffle Drawing Date:
The last raffle entry will be counted at 10:30 am on Saturday, February 24, 2024. Ten lucky winners will be drawn at 11 am at the Towners 4 Heart Health Wellness Fair on Saturday, February 24th, 2024. One prize per person. Prizes provided by Urban Health Partnerships, Inc.

No purchase is necessary for entry. Winners will be contacted via the email provided on their entry form.

Get involved, join the events, complete your raffle forms, and share your journey to prioritize heart health. Your heart matters, and so do you!

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Heart Healthy Tips

Physical activity is key to staying healthy in the long run: It strengthens your heart and lowers your blood pressure. It also lowers your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and many other health problems. But physical activity isn’t just important for your future health — it can also improve your life right now. Being active can:

  • Brighten your mood
  • Help you sleep better
  • Help you feel more energetic
  • Lower your stress

So get more active today and see how much better you feel.

Here are some ideas to get you moving more:

  • Walk, jog, or roll around your block 
  • Put on some music and dance around the house
  • Stand up and stretch during commercial breaks
  • Do 30 squats
  • Exercise with a family member or friend
  • Take the stairs today 
  • Do 15 minutes of yoga
  • Join a fitness group, like a walking club
  • Sign up for a free or low-cost fitness or dance class at your local rec center or YMCA*

I’m a busy person. How much time do I need for activity?

Experts recommend 2 hours and 30 minutes of physical activity a week — that’s a little more than 20 minutes a day. But even a few minutes is good for you. The teensiest bit of activity is better than nothing. So do as much as you can today and add more over time — every minute counts

Want to lower your blood pressure right away?

You probably know that high blood pressure is bad news for your heart. But did you know that a single session of physical activity can lower your blood pressure right away? It’s true — and the effect can last for up to 24 hours.

Healthy eating is key to a healthy heart. The good news is that healthy eating isn’t all or nothing. You can start with small changes that work for you to experience benefits like boosting your immunity, strengthening your bones, and helping your digestive system function. It’s never too late to take a step toward better heart health.

Food isn’t just about nutrition — it’s also about enjoyment, comfort, culture, and family. So don’t feel like you need to give up all the foods you love. Just aim for balance and try to eat healthier most of the time. And when you cook, try tweaking favorite recipes to use a bit less salt, sugar, and saturated fat

To cut through the noise, it can help to focus on 4 key things for heart health: sodium (salt), sugar, fat, and fiber.

Cut back on sodium (salt): When you eat too much sodium (salt), your body pulls more water into your bloodstream and this could cause your blood pressure to go up. And high blood pressure raises your risk for heart attack and stroke. Get creative with spices and herbs to help cut salt, and avoid processed meats (think: marinated, smoked, canned, or cured).

Choose healthy fats: Saturated fat raises your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) — and switching to unsaturated fats can lower it. Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats like Unsaturated fats like avocados, fish, nuts, olive oil, and canola oil.

Skip the sugar: Choose water instead of sugary drinks. 

Eat more fiber: Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. And to save time and money, buy frozen or canned — just make sure they’re low in sodium.

  • Try a new fruit
  • Drink 68oz of Water 
  • Eat a low-sodium snack
  • Make a heart-healthy smoothie
  • Try a new heart-healthy recipe
  • Try eating a meal without meat

How’s this for a salty shocker? The #1 source of sodium (salt) is… bread.

It’s true! The top source of sodium for Americans is bread and rolls — and all those slices for toast and sandwiches can really add up. That’s why it’s so important to check labels and choose breads and other products with less sodium.

Basically, if you’re alive, you’ve got some stress going on — and you can’t always control the things that stress you out. But you can control how you manage your stress. Learning ways to cope with long-term stress can protect your health and lower your risk for heart problems.

In stressful situations, your body releases adrenaline — and that makes your heart rate speed up and your blood pressure rise. When you’re dealing with long-term stress, your body stays in this “fight-or-flight” mode all the time. And that can lead to high blood pressure and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.

How can I start managing stress?

Noticing what causes your stress — and acknowledging those feelings — is a good place to start. Sometimes just naming an emotion can help you process and move through it. Then you’re ready to find some stress relievers that work for you.

Physical activity can lower your stress right away. When you’re feeling anxious, follow these tips to move through it:

  • Start with a simple walk or roll around the block
  • Try relaxing physical activities, like yoga or tai chi
  • Sweat your stress away with intense activities, like kickboxing
  • Go for a walk or bike ride at a park or nature trail — spending time in nature can also help lower stress
  • Connect with People
  • Take Screen and News Breaks
  • Find a new hobby or relation practice

So get more active today and see how much better you feel. Here are some ideas:

  • Take a screen break
  • Go outside
  • Do something that makes you laugh
  • Do a breathing exercise

There’s a lot of heart-healthy steps you can take on your own — like eating healthy meals and getting more physical activity. But there are also times when you need to team up with a professional. They can:

  • Help you understand your personal risk for heart attack and stroke
  • Check your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol — and prescribe medicines to manage them if needed
  • Keep track of your numbers over time — and catch problems early, before they cause a heart attack or stroke
  • Refer you to a cardiologist (heart doctor) or another specialist if you need one

It can take time to find the right doctor, but it’s worth the effort. Try these tips:

  • Ask friends and family. A recommendation from a loved one can go a long way toward finding a doctor you feel comfortable with.
  • Get a referral from another doctor. If you’ve seen a specialist you liked for a health condition, ask them to recommend a good primary care doctor near you.
  • Go through your insurance company. Most health insurance plans have online tools to help you find in-network doctors in your area.
  • If you don’t have insurance, try a local health center. Local community health centers offer care to everyone, whether you have insurance or not.

Make sure your doctor is a good fit

If you don’t click with a doctor, you can always switch. Doctors are there to help and support you. If you ever feel uncomfortable or feel like your doctor isn’t giving you the support you need, don’t hesitate to make a change. Remember, it’s all about finding your rhythm and doing what works for you!

Looking for a doctor near Overtown? Try these:

Culmer Clinic

Jefferson Reaves, Sr. Health Center

Jessie Trice Community Health System

Did you know that you can get your blood pressure checked for free at any Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Stations? 

‘Move More, Eat Healthy, Stress Less, & Work With a Doctor’ is sourced from livetothebeat campaign with permission.

Engaging Residents & Creating Community Connection

Meet the Overtown Community Liaisons At the Events!

Raquel Hanshaw

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Raquel Hanshaw joined UHP as a Community Liaison in June of 2021.  Raquel Hanshaw is a woman of integrity and ambition. She has worked as a union delegate for 1199 SEIU at the University of Miami Hospital. As a Community Liaison, Raquel aims to stay dedicated to informing people about the changes within the Overtown community and opportunities for co-designing positive change.

Keith Ivory

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Keith Ivory began his grassroots community organizing career in 1999 while serving as PTA President at Phyllis Wheatley Elementary, his son’s school in Overtown Miami, FL. During that tenure it was noticed by parents and staff that the rising amount of absenteeism among students, teachers and staff was due to contaminated air condition systems in the school and the need for mold remediation and asbestos removal. During that time Mr. Ivory was hired as a full-time organizer @ Power U. Center for Social Change to advocate for the Miami Dade School Board to remediate the entire air quality systems thru mold removal asbestos extraction at all 3 Overtown schools. He also was a part of the 2005 ANTI GENTRIFICATION campaign to save Town Park residents and their property which helped remodel resident’s rental units. Ivory has also worked with organizations in Miami Dade County including the Human Services Coalition, known today as Catalyst Miami under the leadership of Danielle Levine Cava, presently Mayor Danielle Levine Cava. Ivory loves history and has served as a Tour Guide Historian Lecturer/ Urban Storyteller throughout Overtown, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Liberty City, Coconut Grove, Wynwood Art, South Beach for the past 35 years. Telling the stories of South Florida with its history of political, social, economic, cultural events including famous people in South Florida. His large passion for reading includes books such as The Golden Bough, Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome and many more. 

Deidria Davis

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Deidria Davis is an Overtown Community Liaison at UHP. Deidra is an Overtown resident and is passionate about serving underserved and vulnerable populations. Having previously worked at Cruise Lines, Resorts and Camillus House, Deidra holds experience serving victims of human trafficking and has an extensive background in Investigations and administrative support. Deidra is very active in her community and her goal is to continue to work with civilians, residents, victims, and law enforcement to better serve the community she lives in. She looks forward to working on this goal with UHP and community members.

Join us at the Overtown Parks Group Meeting!  

Next Meeting: February 15, 2024

The Overtown Parks Group will meet at 5:30 – 6:30 pm eastern time on the third Thursday of every month. Right now, the meetings are taking place virtually on Zoom, but in the future, we hope to host the meetings onsite at Overtown parks. Meetings are open to anyone interested in supporting improvements and services in Overtown’s parks, with a priority on representation from Overtown residents. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive upcoming meeting notices and links, or contact Erika Anderson at promanager@overtowncyc.org to be added to the meeting invitations.


Download the Overtown Parks Assessment
View the results of the five park audits that were completed in 2022 by Overtown residents about how the park was being used and ideas for improvements. 

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