Our Communities Our Team and Culture

Black History Month: AdventHealth team member on a mission to preserve historically Black community with the Midway Coalition

Choose the health content that’s right for you, and get it delivered right in your inbox.

midway coalition 5k

Seminole County’s Historic Midway-Canaan community is a migrant settlement that was established for African Americans during the celery boom of the 1920s. At that time, the area was one of biggest producers of celery in the country. Many current residents are descendants of those who worked in the celery fields, supporting the majority of the economy. Shannon Green, digital content manager at AdventHealth, along with her husband and AdventHealth, has teamed up to preserve this historically Black community through the Midway Coalition.

Shannon and Emory

The Midway Coalition is a nonprofit organization advocating for equitable advancement in economic development, education, and community service for the Midway-Canaan community. Green’s husband, Emory Green Jr., currently serves as the executive director. The Midway Coalition was founded in 2005 and established as a nonprofit under the leadership of Green’s husband in 2021. The organization works to give back to the residents and ensure that the community continues to honor its history.

“It's just a group of really solid volunteers in the community that want to come together and make sure that we create a quality of life for the folks that live here and advocate for the important issues that we need to, to see this community continue to thrive and grow,” said Green, who has a personal connection to Black history as a descendant of the trailblazing Olympic athlete Jesse Owens.

This is a low-income, low-lying area prone to flooding, and with new properties being built at a higher elevation surrounding the community, it creates even more of a bowl effect. Since 2018, the Midway Coalition has been advocating for an impact study to determine growth trends that would directly impact infrastructure and potential health outcomes. One key solution the organization is advocating for is a switch from septic tanks to a sewage system to help reduce potential contaminants in the St. Johns River water basin. The nonprofit assisted with getting its community to participate in the Florida Department of Health’s Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health survey, a community assessment model instrumental in recognizing built environment problems as public health concerns, building data and evidence on why they need a sewage system. This is a long-term project for the Midway Coalition, but they were able to recently help secure $10 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to go toward the stormwater basin drainage infrastructure project. The project cost will cost an estimated $30 million or more to complete.

“You can't solve all of the world's problems. Take care of home first,” said Green. “We just try to focus on how we can solve for what's happening in our community.”

The Greens initiated an annual 5K event, now the primary fundraiser for the Midway Coalition, promoting health and wellness in the community. In November, the fifth annual 5K, sponsored by AdventHealth, benefited Title 1 schools Midway Elementary School and Millennium Middle School. The couple also helps coordinate many events for the nonprofit, including an air show community event near the Orlando Sanford International Airport starting in 2021. This community event started because people would come to watch the air show and park their cars anywhere, creating a safety hazard because residents could not get in and out of their homes. After trying to seek help from law enforcement to come out and help manage the situation, they quickly realized that they needed to come up with their own solution.

Lemonade Crew

They started partnering with organizations to turn the air show dilemma into a fundraising opportunity with food trucks and inflatables. Paying customers can park on the school property to better manage traffic. Green and her kids also run a lemonade stand to raise funds for the Young Men of Excellence, an initiative and curriculum to increase the overall achievement rates of minority male students in Seminole County, because they help park the cars at the event. The overall funds from the community event went to grassroots organizations helping to improve the quality of life of those living in the Midway-Canaan community.

Overall, the Midway Coalition wishes to enhance the quality of life for residents. That is why they distributed hot meals to struggling families throughout the pandemic and continue to secure funding for trips and events to combat feelings of isolation for their senior citizens, many of whom are at the poverty line and make up a substantial portion of their population. They also prevent losing their community feel by hosting community events to bring new and old residents together because they get impacted by the same issues.

“One thing I've learned is you can't wait for people to rescue you because sometimes they don't,” said Green. “We try to take ownership where we can and love people where we can and understand that we all have a role to make this a better place.”

To learn more about the organization, click here.

Recent News

View More Articles