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May 2, 2008

Congresswoman Velázquez Presents
$214,000 in Federal Funds to El Puente for
New Health Education Initiative

NEW YORK, NY – Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) today presented El Puente with a check in the amount of $214,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The federal funding will be used to support a wellness program providing Brooklyn youth and their families with information on disease prevention and management. The health education initiative will focus on diseases that impact the North Brooklyn community, including obesity, diabetes, STDs, HIV/AIDS and environmentally-connected diseases like asthma.

“For our students to be top performers, we need to make sure that every aspect of their mind, body and soul is healthy and active,” Congresswoman Velázquez said. “I am dedicated to targeting federal funds to programs that will make a difference in the community. With El Puente’s long-standing history of success, Brooklyn youth will undoubtedly benefit from this wellness program.”

The funds secured by Congresswoman Velázquez will be used for a partnership between El Puente, NYC Health and Hospital Corporation, the New York University School of Medicine and other public health collaborators. They are working together to create a Wellness Center for adolescents and their families, with a special emphasis on Bushwick and Williamsburg residents.

“This funding will allow El Puente and its major partners to plan for the development of clinics that will support its members to go beyond the notion of disease prevention to a level of optimum fitness. I applaud Congresswoman Velázquez for her visionary, proactive support,” said Luis Garden Acosta, founder and director of El Puente.

For more than 25 years, El Puente has promoted leadership and human rights in the Brooklyn community through arts, education, scientific research, wellness and environmental action. El Puente provides local residents with learning and development opportunities at three neighborhood Leadership Centers and the El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, the nation’s first public high school for human rights.