Spring may not have sprung, but the relationship between the Ocean County YMCA (OCYMCA) and St. Aloysius School in Jackson, NJ is budding! The buzz and the creativity between these two organizations has just begun! The OCYMCA is about creating healthy families, raising awareness about the childhood obesity epidemic and, improving the overall wellness for the community it serves. St. Aloysius School has the same passion and together we know we will make a difference in each of the children and families lives we serve.
We are just in the beginning stages of creating an effective policy that will address the overall health, wellness, nutrition and physical activity of the students and faculty of St. Aloysius School.
The beginning phase of collaboration will begin by implementing the CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) curriculum during student gym classes. CATCH is designed to promote physical activity, healthy food choices and prevent tobacco use in school-aged children. CATCH employs a holistic approach to child health promotion by targeting multiple aspects of the school environment in grades K-8. The four core components of CATCH include (1) the Eat Smart nutrition program, (2) physical activity and healthy eating curriculum, (3) the CATCH physical education program, and (4) a family education and involvement program.
The OCYMCA staff will begin training the teachers and staff at St. Aloysius School throughout the next year and will continue to provide support for the school team. In addition, we will be hosting Family Fun Days for the St. Aloysius families to help engage the entire family in taking strides to their overall family health and wellness. The approach is fun, engaging, and brings an entire family together, with the goal to increase their physical health and encourage better eating habits.
We have many exciting and creative ideas to keep children moving and bring families together! Stay tuned and keep watching the wellness movement. The buzz has just begun!
The NEW Shaping Bergen project addresses the unique fitness, health and wellness needs of the Bergen County, New Jersey special education community by piloting a fitness/wellness strategy that promotes systemic change in the environment of both Bergen County Technical High School- Paramus (Bergen Tech) and the Bergen County Special Services School District (BCSSD).
Bergen Tech – Paramus is a county-wide public vocational high school that enrolls 295 full times students and 262 part-time students. 100% of the districts full time population experience some form of learning Disability. BCSSD, one of eight New Jersey’s public, regional special services school districts, enrolls 268 K-12th grade students (41% economically disadvantaged; 57% minority) with multiple (37%) or developmental (20%) disabilities and/or moderate to high degrees of autism (43%). Students come to Bergen Tech and BCSSD from any of Bergen County’s 70+ towns.
The Shaping Bergen partnership addresses the needs of this unique school community by creating a Joint/Shared Use Agreement to support shared use of outside facilities, purchasing/installing ADA compliant outdoor fitness equipment, and creating jointly developed community service projects for students focused upon fitness, wellness and positive nutrition. These activities are supported through collaboration with Parent Partnership Organizations from both school districts, Chartwells food service and the Community Health Improvement Partnership (CHIP) of Bergen County – a coalition of over 50 health related agencies.
Woohoo! Students and families in the Randolphville area will soon enjoy new, permanent, outdoor kid-fitness stations courtesy of a mini grant awarded to the school in partnership with the Randolphville Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), Girl Scouts of Piscataway, and the Lake Nelson Improvement Association. The grant is provided by the NJ Department of Health as part of the “Shaping NJ” initiative to encourage good nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention.
We have been hard at work obtaining information on age appropriate fitness equipment for students in Grades K-3. Cost details are being finalized. We have reached out to the community for volunteers to assist with the repainting of the USA Map as well as the playground games on the blacktop and repair of the basketball hoop.
In January, land space was surveyed to determine the best location for the installation of the equipment. Once installed, the equipment will be available to students for physical education classes, recess, and after school activities. The equipment will also be available to the Lake Nelson Community during non school hours.
Now we need Mother Nature’s cooperation. Please no more snowstorms! We need the snow to melt and we need the warmer temperatures so we can get our volunteers working on site preparation and the delivery and installation of the equipment. Students are anxious to get back outdoors for recess and gym time.
Beginning in March 2014, the YMCA of Paterson will assist faith-based congregations and communities within the City of Paterson in positively changing their perceptions on nutrition and physical activity. The program will run every Saturday for three hours, with activities including Healthy Eating Workshops, Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) participation, and aquatics and general fitness programs.
We have partnered with local community organizations such as Shoprite, the Paterson Health Department, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and City Green in order to provide healthy eating workshops on a monthly basis. The YMCA of Paterson will provide CATCH activities during the second segment of the day to help strengthen the bond between family members as they benefit from fun-filled physical activities. The final segment will give participants the option to swim, play basketball, or use our fitness center, in order to increase the body’s movement.
According to the CDC website, 60.7% of New Jersey’s population is overweight, while 23.8% is obese. With much excitement, the YMCA of Paterson is looking forward to work with our partners to introduce information regarding healthier eating habits to the city’s multiple faith-based communities and help increase intensity and duration of physical activity amongst our programs’ participants in order to help combat the obesity epidemic that has hit our community.
The Burlington County Community Action Program Head Start and Early Head Start in partnership with Health Officer, Dr. Holly Funkhouser Cucuzzella, Director of Health Education at the Burlington County Health Department John Sivon and Dr. Trina L. Gipson-Jones, RN will launch the P.L.A.A.Y!! March 2014.
P.L.A.A.Y!! stands for Promoting Lifelong Activity among Adults and Youth. The program is open to Burlington County residents and Head Start families, staff and children.
P.L.A.A.Y. !! events include: “Choose My Plate Event for National Nutrition Month” and “P.L.A.A.Y. Healthy and Fit Community Makeover Challenge Sign -Up”.
May, 2, 2014 will be “Community Wellness, Nutrition, Health and Fitness Day” held at the Human Service building located at 795 Woodlane Road, Mt. Holly. Then on May 3, 2014 we will partner with the annual “Men are Cooking” at Burlington County Institute of Technology sponsored by Pi Mu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In June a “COMMUNITY WALK AT YOUR LOCAL PARK DAY”! We invite everyone to participate.
We are ready to P.L.A.A.Y!! and promote health, wellness and fight obesity. P.L.A.A.Y. is one of the initiatives identified in the Community Health Improvement Plan (C.H.I.P.) published by The Burlington County Health Department. For more information email Natalie Mitchem, Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist at email@example.com and look for community flyers!