Author: Woodlawn United

Inspiring Wellness Through Place-Making

To close out our focus on Black Health and Wellness this Black History Month, we’re introducing an enthusiastic, passionate place-maker.  Meet Jason Avery, a dedicated member of the Woodlawn community and Senior Program Director at UAB School of Public Health.  For almost 19 years, Jason has been active in Woodlawn volunteering as a member of the Woodlawn Neighborhood Association where he currently serves as the Vice President. He is a longtime member of Grace Episcopal Church and proudly serves on the Board of Directors for Woodlawn United, where his passion for public health combines with WU’s mission to create a pathway to prosperity in Woodlawn through community wellness, equitable housing, and cradle-to-career educational opportunities.  Jason studied Biomedical Sciences at Auburn University and later fell in love with the field of Public Health while continuing his education. Through his career, Jason’s goal is to contribute to the public’s health in a meaningful way. He currently works at the UAB School of Public Health as the Senior Program Director of The Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs Stenting-2 Trial (CREST-2). This trial is an international clinical trial that seeks to determine the best treatment for people who are at risk of stroke but are asymptomatic. His team manages all the data for the trial and serves as a coordination hub for hundreds of sites across the globe.   While working to impact international public health, Jason is also passionate about improving overall health and quality of life in Woodlawn. One outlet for this passion is serving as an Urban Main facilitator with Rev Birmingham, a non-profit committed to creating and restoring vibrancy to commercial centers of all sizes. With Urban Main, Jason concentrates on place-making. He works to create quality places where people want to live, work, play, and learn. He works on projects ranging from public art, through Magic City Mural Festival, to landscaping and picking up trash.   Jason says, “I believe people thrive in a clean, vibrant, and safe area. When residents feel better about their environment, they get out more and feel safe to exercise. All of this can lead to healthier outcomes.”   Jason’s next goal is to fully realize and develop his small business, Cottage Noir. Cottage Noir is guided by its motto: Everyday life elevated. It is a lifestyle concept which finds the intersection of design, drink, food, and fashion. Jason has already launched an earring line with a local Woodlawn jewelry maker, hosted countless happy hours, and hosted an Indian food pop-up event. Now he has his sights set on launching a line of unisex union suits.   As his efforts come to fruition, Jason sees residents and visitors utilizing Woodlawn’s murals like outdoor art galleries, residents engaging in cleanup efforts, people walking and running and all sorts of engagement and activity in the community. These shared public spaces will continue to provide an environment for community development to prosper and Woodlawn to thrive. 

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Woodlawn United Is Hiring Community Connectors

Woodlawn United is looking for individuals who have Woodlawn connections and love their community. $15-$20/hr. Part-time opportunity with potential for growth. Training will be provided.    Duties:  
  • Will engage the community door-to-door and by phone. 
  • Inform residents about available programs. 
  • Assist residents with application processes and follow-up. 
  • Enjoy engaging with people 
  • Be vaccinated 
  • Technologically savvy 
  • Have transportation 
  For more information or to apply, visit or call (205) 599-6963 and ask for Jason. 

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Servant Leadership Through Medicine

As we continue sharing stories of individuals impacting Black Health and Wellness in our community, we are excited to introduce two driven, caring sisters.  Meet Jada and Jordan Ashford, Urban Fellows at Christ Health Center.  Jada and Jordan are twins who both graduated with distinction of high academic achievement from Auburn University in May of 2021 with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences.  While applying for medical school, they are participating in the Urban Fellows Program at Christ Health Center in Woodlawn.   Christ Health Center created the Urban Fellows Program to provide hands-on learning opportunities to students who are in a gap year before medical school. Urban Fellows gain experience in direct patient care as medical assistants, while contributing to research projects focused on improving health outcomes for their patients.  Jada’s and Jordan’s father and grandfather served as in inspiration in their decision to pursue medicine. Their father, Rowell S. Ashford II, is an OB/GYN in Birmingham, and their grandfather, Rowell S. Ashford, is a retired OB/GYN. When their grandfather began practicing medicine, he faced hardships and obstacles due to many hospitals not granting privileges for African American physicians. He was eventually connected with Cooper Green Mercy Health Services where he was given privileges to begin his practice.   Throughout his career, Dr. Ashford worked to integrate Birmingham’s medical community. He trained over two generations of OB/GYN residents at The University of Alabama at Birmingham who are now practicing physicians. He was also recognized as one of the best Gynecologic surgeons in Birmingham. In 2014 he was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame and was distinguished as an Alabama Legend by the Alabama Section of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Jada and Jordan are incredible reflections of their grandfather’s legacy and are humbled and grateful to follow in his example.  Jordan is interested in a career in Pediatrics and is completing her fellowship with the Pediatrics Department. Working at Christ Health Center has been a blessing for her, and she plans to work in an underserved area when she completes medical school. Jordan has been able to serve as an inspiration to her patients and has had to joy of seeing an African American child’s face light up when they proudly told their mother they wanted to be a doctor one day too.   Jada is interested in a career in Family Medicine. Her fellowship began working with Family Medicine Residents and has now transitioned to working with a Physician Assistant who mainly provides care for adults. Her fellowship has been a great learning experience in providing servant leadership through medicine. Even if it’s only a 20-minute visit, patients know they are going to see a provider and medical assistant who care about them and want to listen to their needs. Her experiences have taught her to be more aware of how environmental and social factors affect patient health outcomes.  Jada and Jordan have both been accepted to medical school and will begin this Fall. Their careers will be framed by the prospective and knowledge from their fellowship in Woodlawn. They both strive to be patient and empathetic providers with a heart for service, seeing the whole person, and meeting all their needs. They are passionate about working in areas that are underserved to ensure everyone has access to the highest quality medical care. Photo credit: @saravanheckephotography     

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Purpose and Passion: Impacting Youth Health

Continuing our focus on Black Health and Wellness this Black History Month, it’s our pleasure to introduce you to a passionate advocate for student health and wellness.  Meet Adrianne Marbury, Program Manager at UAB Adolescent Medicine and Community Engagement Fellow at Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health (BCSMH).  When you have a foundation built on faith and purpose, you learn respect for family and community. Adrianne gained this framework for thinking about and building community as she grew up attending church in Woodlawn. Her strong passions for health, racial equity, and the next generation drive her work and are grounded in her experiences in Woodlawn.   In her work at UAB Adolescent Medicine as the Program Manager for Leadership Education in Adolescent Health, Adrianne helps train physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social work trainees to engage with the community by finding opportunities to develop their understanding of their patients’ backgrounds and lived experiences.   Adrianne also serves as the Program Manager for the Division of Adolescent Medicine Youth Advisory Board where she provides opportunities for young people from the Greater Birmingham community to have a voice in issues surrounding their health and wellness. Along with the Youth Advisory Board, Adrianne worked to establish Birmingham Teen Health Week in 2019 to increase recognition of the unique health issues facing teens. They dedicate Birmingham Teen Health Week, hosted each Spring, to addressing those issues by providing access to services, preventative care, counseling, physical activity, nutritional guidance and educational attainment.  Motivated by her passion for youth health, Adrianne is deeply invested in many areas of the community. She played an integral role in the establishment of MCH HOPES (Maternal and Child Health, Health Opportunities and Partnership for Educational Success), a mentorship program she started with Dr. Samantha Hill, M.D., MPH, and Dr. Vinetra King, PhD. The program was established 6 years ago and currently operates at Carver High School for 9th-12th grade students. As co-founders and co-operators of the program, their goal is get to know students, put the voice and needs of youth forward, and become part of what motivates the students to do better.   In 2020, Adrianne was invited to serve on the Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health (BCSMH). The BCSMH emerged as a response to existing concerns regarding mental health as a barrier to student achievement that were intensified through the pandemic, especially in low-income communities of color.  Members of the coalition are like-minded individuals who have a heart for families, youth, and communities. They are all supporting young people and families in the community, creating a collective impact and passion, which has been a strength of the coalition. The BCSMH has worked with the Birmingham City Schools Department of Student Support Services who has been a great partner in listening to coalition members and their student voice survey.  Adrianne now serves as part of the interim leadership team for BCSMH as the Community Engagement Fellow. The BCSMH leadership team is not just comprised of mental health professionals; it also includes parents and community members who look at young people and see nothing but potential. They want to see every child succeed beyond their wildest dreams. And, in order to succeed, students need to have support from parents, the school system, and the entire community.  Another strength of BCSMH is representation from diverse backgrounds, whether LGBTQ, African American, or the Hispanic community. They want to make sure all voices are heard in the community and in the coalition. It’s easy for an advocate or ally to say they understand where you are coming from, but when they have not lived your experience, they don’t know.  It’s important to step back and be intentional about framing things and speaking for others if they are not in the room.  Working towards her purpose and passions, Adrianne has made a tremendous impact on the Greater Birmingham community. Her work has also led to many life-affirming experiences. She has become a mentor to younger people in the community. They often seek her out for help, guidance, direction, and answered questions. Adrianne says, “There is nothing better than the younger generation looking at my work and saying they want to continue it.”  Learn more about and connect with the Birmingham Coalition for Student Mental Health at:   

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Transformational Healing Through the Power of Yoga

This Black History Month, Woodlawn United is sharing the stories of local leaders supporting Black Health and Wellness in our Woodlawn neighborhoods.  Meet Jamella Stroud, owner of Sacred Body Fitness.  After suffering from an eating disorder in her early 20’s, Jamella discovered yoga to be an important aspect of her healing process. Yoga not only helped physically, but the practice also helped her heal mentally as she battled anxiety. Now, because of her own journey to healing and transformation, Jamella is passionate about helping other women develop both inner and outer strength.  Reflecting on her personal experience and deep appreciation of yoga, Jamella realized she needed to share what she learned with others to guide them towards transformational healing.   Her desire to help others led her to complete a 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification. During this process, her love for the practice grew and inspired her to pursue a Yoga Therapist Certification, which requires an additional 800 hours of training. Becoming a Yoga Therapist will give Jamella the capacity to work with the community in a unique way. Yoga Therapists work in one-on-one settings and address both mental and physical ailments through a yoga prospective.  In 2019, Jamella was inspired to open her own studio, and by 2020 she was taking steps to make it happen. After hearing about the new developments happening in Woodlawn, she felt led to be a part of the community by locating her yoga and strength-training studio here. She connected with REV Birmingham and is currently working to locate the perfect space for her studio. The vision for the studio in Woodlawn is to offer meditation, vinyasa, restorative, and strength-training classes.  While working towards opening her studio, Jamella currently shares her yoga experience through Sacred Body Fitness. Sacred Body Fitness reflects her personal journey of redefining and transforming her physical body. Jamela says:  “A woman’s body is Sacred & Holy, it houses her most valuable assets: her spirit & mind. As she journeys to transform her Sacred Body, she will experience a mindset transformation as well when training with Sacred Body Fitness.”   Yoga significantly impacts the mind, body, and spirit. Jamella experienced this transformation first-hand and now watches it unfold in her students’ lives as they gain awareness and transform their desires.  One way Jamella shares her passion for yoga is by investing in the community. She teaches weekly community yoga classes at SocialVenture in Woodlawn. These classes are open to the community and are donation based. She also teaches yoga to 5th grade students in the Birmingham City School System. Even as children, these students have a lot on their minds, and Jamella is grateful for the opportunity to support them through yoga.  Jamella is a strong, natural-born leader. Her transformational journey is multiplied through her passion and dedication to invest in women through yoga. As she plants roots and opens her studio in Woodlawn, her impact will continue to grow.   Follow Jamella and Sacred Body Fitness online at, on Instagram @sacredbodyfit, and on Facebook @iamjamellastroud.  Yoga is so vast. It’s more than just movement — there is breath work, meditation, and self-study. Yoga is about the union of mind, body, and spirit. Anytime one aspect is out of alignment, the physical practice of yoga brings you back to the awareness of the body’s mental, emotional, and spiritual state to see what needs to come into alignment. 

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Woodlawn United: New Brand, Same Mission

Since 2010, the Woodlawn Foundation has served as a catalyst and facilitator for the transformation and revitalization of the Woodlawn community.

Our goal: to work alongside Woodlawn’s residents and business owners to create the vibrant and sustainable community they envision.

Today, our vision and mission remain the same, but we are excited to announce a meaningful change. The Woodlawn Foundation is now Woodlawn United.

Since April 2021, our team has been working with Telegraph Creative to ensure that our brand aligns with our mission and core values.

During this time, we surveyed 40 partner organizations, spoke with residents, and formed a small committee to have an honest discussion about who we are as an organization and how our work will not only transform Woodlawn but will serve as a blueprint for many communities in our city and beyond.

After hours of dialogue around our brand identity and strategic planning process, we believe the images and words you see today represent who we are to our core – community-focused, aligned, and most importantly, UNITED.

The Woodlawn community’s resilience and commitment to working together to create opportunities for community members to thrive is what makes us who we are. It’s the only reason we are here and it’s one of the many reasons that we are proud to be a part of this community. To be Woodlawn Strong is to persevere through all adversity towards the greater good of all. To be Woodlawn United is to do it together.

We are Woodlawn United.

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Change doesn’t happen overnight, but (WE) Lead is where the rubber meets the road for program fellows, an intergenerational group ranging from early 20s through retirement. (WE) Lead’s priority is to give fellows real-life skills they can use as members of the Woodlawn community in personal, professional, and civic capacities. The program was funded by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham with the goal of creating sustainable leadership where fellows use their skills to identify, assess, and solve community problems. The first half of the program focuses on building skills while the second half will focus on subject matter, including health care and economic development. Fellows have already completed 4 sessions in the 14-part program: – Servant Leadership, where they each took a leadership assessment to set the tone for the rest of the program. – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) session, where they were challenged to think broadly about what equity means including classism, ableism, and ageism. – A two-part Communication workshop and panel led by local communications professionals, Rick Journey and Ronda Robinson. For fellows, it’s all about effort and connectivity. (WE) Lead creates a safe space where everyone feels comfortable asking questions and learning, without fear of failure or judgement. Fellows also share an excitement to be in the same room, spending time together and learning from each other. (WE) Lead leader and Woodlawn resident, Myeisha Hutchinson, describes this as a full circle moment for herself as she works with participants building leadership from the ground up. Hutchinson says the group is finding its stride and experiencing many “aha” moments, but for the inaugural class of (WE) Lead fellows this is just the beginning. (WE) Lead serves as a catalyst for fellows to become community leaders as they seek out new areas of service and set out to impact Woodlawn.

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Woodlawn Foundation Now Accepting Cryptocurrency

BIRMINGHAM, AL (December 28, 2021) – Woodlawn Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the holistic revitalization of the Woodlawn community in Birmingham, is excited to begin accepting cryptocurrency. On Tuesday, December 28th, 2021, the organization accepted its first Bitcoin donation from supporter Clay McInnis, owner of Commerce Consulting based in downtown Montgomery, Alabama, and early adopter of cryptocurrency. “The number of global crypto users today is the same amount as internet users in 1997. Blockchain technology and digital assets are here to stay,” said McInnis. “The Woodlawn Foundation’s commitment to accept bitcoin is not only exciting for a broad and younger donor base, but a clear signal that innovation and impact in a community goes hand-in-hand.” With the continued growth and popularity of cryptocurrency, Woodlawn Foundation recognizes the importance of meeting the evolving needs of its donors. Accepting cryptocurrency provides new flexibility and an additional opportunity for philanthropy. “At Woodlawn Foundation we take pride in being innovative and using diverse funding opportunities to bring our mission to fruition,” said Mashonda Taylor, Woodlawn Foundation Executive Director. “By adjusting with the times, we enable a new form of donor to partner in our work and further provide the much-needed resources to ensure the continued holistic development of the Woodlawn community.” Cryptocurrency donations can now be made to Woodlawn Foundation via The Giving Block at

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(WE) Lead Fellowship Program

Since Woodlawn Foundation’s founding in 2010, Woodlawn Foundation’s mission has been to serve as a catalyst and facilitator for the transformation and revitalization of the Woodlawn community in Birmingham into a vibrant and sustainable community in which its residents have an opportunity to thrive.

The (WE) Lead Fellowship Program was developed to address the Woodlawn Community’s gap in access to leadership development opportunities. This 14-week community-focused program seeks to identify individuals who desire to improve their community and give voice to traditionally underrepresented community members. (WE) Lead fellows will engage in weekly training to learn from political, business, and community leaders. As a cohort, participants will partake in initiatives to address current issues impacting Woodlawn. The program goals for (WE) Lead fellows are: • Increased participation in formal and informal neighborhood leadership. • Understanding of complex systemic issues. • Increased resident participation in community-based organizations while serving in various leadership roles. • Be connected to a vast network of community and civic leaders. • An understanding of public/private partnerships and how to leverage funds. PARTICIPATION QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS Ideal applicants must demonstrate a commitment to Woodlawn and neighboring communities with a desire to serve their community through positions of impact (e.g., volunteerism, advocacy, non-profit boards, etc.). Each session is an integral part of the program. Participants are required to attend in-person with social distancing and mask required (see COVID disclaimer and waiver) at least 80% or 12 of the 14 sessions to complete the fellowship and receive the program financial stipend successfully. Applications are due Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 5:00 pm. An independent committee of reviewers will review applications. The 2021-2022 fellowship program year is scheduled as follows: 1. Tuesday, October 19, 2021 2. Tuesday, November 2, 2021 3. Tuesday, November 16, 2021 4. Tuesday, December 7, 2021 5. Tuesday, January 4, 2022 6. Tuesday, January 18, 2022 7. Tuesday, February 1, 2022 8. Tuesday, February 15, 2022 9. Tuesday, March 1, 2022 10. Tuesday, March 15, 2022 11. Tuesday, March 29, 2022 12. Tuesday, April 12, 2022 13. Tuesday, April 26, 2022 14. Tuesday, May 10, 2022 Each session will take place from 6 pm – 8 pm. Contact Information: Please submit your application and resume to Jason Meadows, Director of Community Engagement, via email at, mail to 5529 1st Avenue South, Birmingham, AL, 35212, or to arrange a physical drop-off, please email or call (205) 500-6963 to speak with Jason by Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at 5:00 pm. Program fellows will be announced on Tuesday, October 12, 2021. Application Link:

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Mashonda taylor named executive director

The Woodlawn Foundation Board of Directors proudly announces that Mashonda Taylor has accepted the position of Executive Director. The Foundation, founded in 2010 serves as the lead organization of Woodlawn United, a collaboration of partners

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