Helping Build Healthy Futures

On any given day at the George Strayton Center, also known as Venture Quest on Main Street in Sparkill, developmentally disabled adults have the opportunity to step outside this Camp Venture Day Home. Camp Venture calls it their “Without Walls” Program, where 40-43 intrepid adventurers meet. On their travels they can pick a tomato, some green beans, peppers, lettuce, basil, garlic and onions and go inside and make themselves a healthy lunch.

The Camp Venture community garden, which was built around 2008, is a recipient of a 2012 grant, through The Rockland Alliance for Health (RAH) , who chose to assist in sustaining the work and funding needed to maintain a garden of this nature.

Rockland Alliance for Health (RAH) , a grassroots organization, was started with the sole mission to be a leader in prevention and promotion of public health interventions that result in sustainable changes in policy, practice and the environment. Spearheaded by passionate professionals with backgrounds in public health, non-profit leaders and educators, all with strong ties to the community, Rockland Alliance for Health offers various awards to community and faith-based organizations, worksites and school. Besides Camp Venture, grants have been awarded to Campus Fun and Learn Child Development Center; Children of Mary Nursery/Kindergarten; Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center and Rockland Country Day School.

“It’s amazing to see,” said Cathy Hanlon, Assistant Site Director at the George Strayton Center, “our adults help with the planting, dirt hauling and certainly the eating! Many are drawn to the work. We have added a hoop house and expect to have about eight beds of vegetables this year.”

Una Difley, Director of Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention at the Rockland County Health Department, was the first Rockland Alliance for Health (RAH) Board President, only leaving her position in December 2013. Joan Facelle, past Commissioner of Health for twelve years, is the current Board President.

“We have a tremendous Board of like-minded people who are very passionate about our cause.” remarked Joan Facelle.



Rockland Alliance for Health’s fundraisers are intimate, fun and dare to be different. A Latin Dance Party was a very successful fundraiser held this past November at the Gagliardi Dance Studio in Nyack and there has also been a “Cooking with Chocolate” hands on event in collaboration with Rockland Community College, a family “Geo-caching” event and RAH plans to continue holding creative, fun, health oriented and inspiring RAH Events.


To contribute to RAH and find out more about Rockland Alliance for Health, go to their website at:

See thier Facebook page for continued listings of upcoming RAH Events:

Rockland Alliance for Health, LTD

339 N. Main Street, 
Suite 3A
, New City
General Email:

“Latin Dance Party” Photo Credits: Bob Scheuerman, Nyack



Article written for Rockland Community Foundation 2014