EmPOWERED to Serve: Why Your Zip Code Can Shorten Your Life by 21 Years

Did you know that you can live 21 years less than your family member living just five miles away from you because of your zip code?

Think about this for a moment.

Earlier this year I shared a simple method to transition to living healthier, I gave you a step-by-step process to meal prep as a beginner and even taught you how to curb your sugar cravings.

Are these things important?


But, there’s more:

According to the American Heart Association, many factors are impacting your health besides your behaviors.

There is a component of living healthy that no one talks about and it affects every single one of us.

And the answer might surprise you.

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

It’s your community.

Your neighborhood plays a considerable role in your ability to eat better and become healthier.

Deep down you know this is true.

If you live in a community with little to no access to healthy options, healthy living feels impossible.

Is like being asked to pass a test without the proper study guide.

How are you supposed to do that?

It’s not only crazy, but it’s also unfair.

Good news:

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association


The American Heart Association is dedicated to building healthier lives and have developed the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement to tackle this issue.

What is EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement anyway?

The goal of the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement is to improve health within multicultural communities.

If you are looking to improve your health, this movement is for you.

The best part?

You will get an opportunity to make a positive impact in your community.

You might be thinking,

Nory, why should I care about the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement?

Here’s a clue:

According to the American Heart Association, your zip code may increase your risk of stroke, high blood pressure and other types of heart disease.

That’s right!

Imagine how that can impact the lives of the people you love.

Think about your extended family, the children attending your local school, the members of the church you visit on Sundays.

All their lives are at stake here.

More good news:

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

Earlier this month the EmPOWERED To Serve ™ movement brought together experts and thought-leaders in Washington D.C. to discuss how to help these communities.

As part of this event, ten finalists in the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Business Storytelling Competition competed for awards from $10,000 – $30,000.

The goal of the competition was to identify fresh ideas and innovative solutions that would make it easier to live healthy in multicultural communities.

Sounds impressive, right?

You bet it is!

For more information on the EmPOWERED To Serve movement and the EmPOWERED To Serve Urban Business Storytelling Competition, visit empoweredtoserve.org.

If you want to learn who won the competition, keep reading.

Out of 128 submissions, ten finalists were selected. Three winners were chosen to implement their plans in their community.

Meet the finalists:

Maria Rose Belding | MEANS Database |  Philadelphia, PA

MEANS Database notifies food banks and pantries of food donations in their neighborhood. Food Connect delivers surplus food from retailers to community organizations serving the hungry.

Sharon Butler |  Eat Away Hunger |  Washington, DC

The Eat Away Hunger backpack food program provides nonperishable healthy food to children in need to take home when school meal programs are unavailable, mainly during the Winter and Spring breaks and three-day weekends.

Nisha Sarveswaran | Ambiance Data |  Detroit, MI

Ambience Data has created small, inexpensive hardware devices that monitor indoor air pollution. They empower families to take control of their health by knowing what family members are breathing from day to day.

Kenny Fennell | GoWithCaravan |  Detroit, MI

Caravan is a web-based platform that offers hourly rentals for five to fifteen-person passenger vehicles sourced from nearby owners. Caravan’s vision is to ensure lower-income urban residents can access education, employment, and healthy foods in their neighborhoods and the region beyond through shared-use mobility services.

Nyasha Nyamapfene | Gospel Run |  Chicago, IL

Gospel Run is a public health organization created to inspire health, transformation and expanded possibilities in the individuals, families, and communities we serve.

Cecil Wilson | GoffersGotIt |  Chicago, IL

The GoffersGotIt motto is “Getting Things Done on the Go!” Goffers provides on-demand mobile task assistance. Services include, but are not limited to, grocery shopping, laundry delivery, and prescription refills.

Sequoia Ross | Tricycle Urban Agriculture |  Richmond, VA

Training the next generation of urban farmers. An innovative approach to learning the business and practice of Urban Agriculture

Diop Adisa | KHeprw.org |  Indianapolis, IN

Our model supports young entrepreneurs who want to be the next generation of urban farmers by bringing healthy affordable food into this particular community while strengthening relationships and supporting urban farmers.

Rickey Wynn | See What I See |  Ft. Worth, TX

See What I See (SWIS) is an easy to use product, designed to allow a sick or shut-in person to see through the eyes of their caregiver in real time and communicate with them at the same time.

Danie Brillman | Unite Us

Unite Us is a veteran-owned technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and human service providers that support individuals by addressing all social determinants of health.

Astonishing, isn’t it?

It is incredible what we are capable off when we focus on helping members of our community live healthily.

In addition to the competition, the event highlighted a number of sessions designed to teach us how to help our communities.

Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

Kimberly Perry, Director, Food Security, AARP Foundation facilitated the Collective Impact to Transform Communities session.

This session focused on how we can improve our communities by collaborating with both traditional and non-traditional members partners.

Karen Wells, Manager, Community Impact and Annie Thornhill, VP, Community Health, American Heart Association, lead a conversation on Healthy Food Access.


Many families do not have access to healthy foods.

Because, Access.

Imagine having to travel twice as far just to avoid eating fast food.

That’s the reality for families living in typical black neighborhoods in Chicago.

By now you are probably wondering,

How can YOU get involved?

That’s why before I share the winners of the competition with you, I want to encourage you to become an EmPOWERED To Serve Ambassador.

You can get healthier and make your community a better place at the same time.

Here’s what you’ve been waiting for:

Congratulations are in order to the top three winners. I look forward to seeing their initiatives come to life.

Winners: Nyasha Nyamapfene, Maria Rose Belding, Cecil Wilson Source: EmPoWERED To Serve Summit, Hosted by the American Heart Association

Now it’s your turn!

Do your part and join the movement!

Can you really afford not to?

Note: This post has been sponsored by the American Heart Association.

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