Houston Parks and Recreation Department, UnitedHealthcare and CBS EcoMedia Celebrate New Community Garden at Shady Lane Park

Houston Parks and Recreation Department, UnitedHealthcare and CBS EcoMedia Celebrate New Community Garden at Shady Lane Park

UnitedHealthcare funds improvements to five Houston-area urban gardens and volunteers to renovate community garden at Shady Lane Park
Monday, November 18, 2013 - 5:00pm


CONTENT: Press Release

November 18, 2013 /3BL Media/ - Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) and UnitedHealthcare celebrated the creation of the new community garden at Shady Lane Park with a special ribbon-cutting event and volunteer activities today.

The creation of the community garden at Shady Lane Park, the improvements to five other Houston-area urban gardens, and the support of HPARD’s Afterschool Meal Program were all made possible thanks to funding by UnitedHealthcare.

Members of the community and volunteers from UnitedHealthcare helped create the urban garden at Shady Lane Park that will provide low-income residents access to healthier meals for years to come. The new urban garden at Shady Lane Park consists of six garden beds, a drip irrigation system, a compost bin, tomato cages and a hose reel.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony followed the day’s volunteer activities. Hosts included Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department; Dave Milich, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of South Texas; Dan Rodrigues, Senior Vice President Sales and Business Development, EcoMedia.

Improvements will be made to the following urban gardens in the Houston area: Freed Park; Burnett Bayland Park; Independent Heights Park; The Metropolitan Multi-Service Center; and Sunnyside Park. UnitedHealthcare’s support of each of the gardens included fencing, irrigation and gardening materials and supplies. 

Recognizing the urgent need to provide children and youth in the city of Houston access to nutritious meals, UnitedHealthcare’s funding will also support and strengthen HPARD’s Afterschool Meal Program. HPARD will implement outreach and promotional activities to expand after-school meal sites from 52 to 104, serving over 3,000 children.

After the ribbon-cutting celebration, UnitedHealthcare employee volunteers distributed meals to students from Ethel R. Coop Elementary School. Students also participated in nutrition education and fitness activities in the afternoon.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Houston Parks and Recreation Department to create these urban gardens that will give Houston-area youth access to nutritious food and empower them to make healthier food choices,” said Milich. “We believe this program will play a significant role in helping build a healthier community and teach children how to live healthier lives.”

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) through programs like the After School Meal Program and the After School Enrichment Program provides opportunities for youth to engage in positive health, wellness and nutrition activities at HPARD community centers.  These activities guide youth in making healthy food choices, provide an environment to build communication and confidence through meaningful active and passive recreation activities, and foster their understanding of why good health is so early at a young age.

“We are thankful to UnitedHealthcare and EcoMedia for their support of our Urban Garden initiative and our Afterschool Meal Program,” said Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department.  “Their funding support and volunteer efforts have shown the Shady Lane Park community how gardening can be a fun way to make healthy choices in the lives of their families.”

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department enhances the quality of urban life by providing safe well-maintained parks and offering affordable programming for citizens of all abilities regardless of economic level.

 “The neighborhoods that have the lowest access to healthy foods are also those that have the highest rates of obesity, diet-related disease and lowest rates of fruit and vegetable consumption,” said Paul Polizzotto, Founder and President, CBS EcoMedia. “We’re grateful to UnitedHealthcare for addressing these disparities, building communities through these gardens, and improving access to nutritious foods in at-risk communities in Houston.”

This project is the latest in UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” employee volunteer initiative, whose mission is to promote health and fitness, prevent hunger and obesity, inspire service and encourage volunteerism in the communities where UnitedHealthcare employees live and work.  For more information about the benefits of volunteering and to find local opportunities to get involved, visit www.DoGoodLiveWell.org. Follow @DoGoodLiveWell on Twitter or “like” Do Good. Live Well. on Facebook. 


About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

About Houston Parks and Recreation Department
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages over 37,832 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.

About CBS EcoMedia Inc.
At EcoMedia, we’re propelled by the desire to create positive social change; that’s been our mission since we founded the company in 2002.  In 2010, after successfully partnering with CBS on a wide range of environmental projects, EcoMedia became the newest addition to the CBS Corporation portfolio, exponentially scaling our reach across television, radio, interactive, publishing and outdoor media. 

Through our patent-pending EcoAd, WellnessAd and EducationAd programs, an innovative twist on traditional advertising, advertisers are able to support much-needed local projects which in turn creates jobs, saves taxpayer money and improves the quality of life in communities nationwide.  In the process, we’re fundamentally altering the advertising landscape, elevating the ordinary, traditional commercial – and media, in general – into a catalyst for tangible, quantifiable social change.  Please visit

ecomediacbs.com, like us at facebook.com/EcoMediaCBS or follow us at Twitter.com/EcoMediaCBS

By participating in EcoMedia’s EcoAd, WellnessAd and EducationAd advertising programs, EcoMedia’s advertisers agree to provide funding for projects we believe will have a beneficial effect upon the environment, health and/or education within local communities.  EcoMedia’s advertising programs are not certification programs nor are the EcoAd, WellnessAd or EducationAd logos seals of approval. EcoMedia does not in any way certify, endorse or make any representations about EcoMedia program advertisers, their products or services.