Gamble Promote Wellness

Gamble Promote Wellness


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



 Kenny Gamble an immensely successful record company executive returned to his old neighborhood

with a vision to rebuild and re-energize it physically, mentally, and spiritually. He formed

Universal Companies, a non-profit Community Development Corporation



Kenny and Fatima Gamble Promote Wellness

By Junious Ricardo Stanton


Several years ago Faatimah Gamble, wife of record industry mogul Kenny Gamble decided to honor the health care professionals who were offering alternative treatment modalities and providing information beneficial to the community. She felt it was necessary she share the information with the community. So the Wellness of You program series was born.

In 1996, she took the initiative to provide information to the South-Central Philadelphia community because that is where she and her family resided. Out of her efforts a comprehensive program of health and wellness has emerged. The Gambles returned to South Philadelphia with a mission to help revitalize the area and transform it into an oasis and model to demonstrate what African-Americans can do for ourselves.

Kenny Gamble an immensely successful record company executive returned to his old neighborhood with a vision to rebuild and re-energize it physically, mentally, and spiritually. He formed Universal Companies, a non-profit Community Development Corporation that has spearheaded a renaissance, a virtual real estate, economic, and social transformation in the community.

Thus far Universal Companies has been the lead partner in over $ 8 billion dollars worth of programs which include new home construction replacing several low-income high rise housing complex with brand new low-and-moderate-income homes, a charter school, an employment training center and business support programs that have impacted 50,000 residents and the number is growing.

While Universal Companies has been a major player in transforming the neighborhood physically and economically, Faatimah Gamble’s Salaam Enterprises Inc. has been the wellspring from which the Wellness of You health awareness programs emerged. She leveraged her own interest in personal health, complimentary medicine, community-based holistic public health initiatives and sponsored a series of information seminars, health fairs, gatherings, and award ceremonies to share her knowledge with the community and honor those who were working to raise the overall consciousness and enhance the physical and emotional well-being of the community. Her Wellness of You programs are not limited to South Philadelphia, her separate initiatives for men, women and children attract people throughout the region.

“It began in South Philadelphia and as we began to promote the Wellness over the radio, TV and print, people began to come wanting to experience this information. It basically grew from word of mouth.”

Due to her passion for what she is doing and the enthusiastic support of her husband the Wellness programs have now taken on lives of their own and grown over the years.

“It is through popular demand that we have introduced the Men’s Wellness, because if you notice in the audience (for the Tree of Life Awards Ceremony) it will be primarily women there and its important that our males experience this information. It’s vital to the survival of our community because men suffer unnecessarily from a great proportion of illness which could be avoided if they had the information.”

For the first time her Tree of Life Awards features a recipient from outside the Philadelphia tri-state area giving the Awards Ceremony an international flare and flavor.

“We’ve brought in an internationally recognized practitioner from Jamaica and this has taken us global and international.” added Mrs. Gamble. She firmly believes in the daily practical application of the information and modalities she has learned and she has incorporated and integrated them into the curriculum in their Universal Institute Charter School so their students will have access to the information and be taught how to apply it to their lives.

“We have the Children’s Health Fair in May and we have the Children’s Health Program in our Charter School where we offer practices in nutrition and yoga. We believe in the integration of the vitamins, the herbs, the different modalities, and there are numerous modalities out there that we can discuss. We also recognize the importance of prevention, visiting the doctor once a year to have your vital signs checked, blood pressure, blood analysis and your heart. Herbs aren’t going to do it all, if you eat properly, exercise these are major components of good health. But at the same time we know our community suffers unnecessarily from a higher rate of high blood pressure, strokes and diabetes and we need these tests done so that we are at an elevated state they are easily reversible just by changing our lifestyle.”

The annual Tree of Life Awards were held this year at the Philadelphia Clef Club of Performing Art in South Philadelphia in the area Gamble’s Universal Companies is helping to revitalize. The Tree of Life Award is not just an awards luncheon where people drop in, pick up their award, say a few words of thanks and leave. It is an educational opportunity, a chance for health providers and practitioners to interact with the public, teach and provide information, answer questions, provide tips and candid insights into promoting wellness as opposed to sick care.

“There’s a lot of information out there. Oftentimes, we as a community are not privy to this information. There are new treatments out there that we are not privy to what we need to do, what we try to do at Wellness is ring this to the forefront so our community can be educated about these developments. When I make the final selection of the honorees I want to know they can present information that can stimulate the awareness of good health. I want to know if they are going to leave with some information to stimulate them to take an action, I want to be sure they are going to provide information that will focus on choices in their lives so this is an education lecture. The award is to show we appreciate the work the honorees are doing, that is secondary to the information I insist they provide.”

This year’s honorees – Maria Pajil Battle, a Senior Vice President for marketing at Keystone Mercy health Plan, the largest medical assistance managed health care plan in Pennsylvania; Dr. H Anthony Vendryes, a Jamaican physician who specializes in conventional and complimentary treatment modalities; Dr. Leander Ellis a board certified psychiatrist with a specialty in Orthomolecular Psychiatry; and Dr. Corrine C. Morgan, the first licensed African-American female chiropractor in the state of Pennsylvania – did not disappoint Mrs. Gamble nor the awards luncheon attendees.

They provided needed information and encouragement to empower the attendees to create healthy lifestyles. Long-term, Mrs. Gamble envisions Salaam Enterprises and Universal Companies partnering in creating a health center in the area that focuses on alternative practices and health awareness. The irony is Mrs. Gamble has never been recognized or honored for her extensive efforts in promoting health and wellness within the African-American community.

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”

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W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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update 14 December 2011





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