East Orange may not be at the foot hills of the Appalachian Trails. We may not be in the Smokey Mountains, but we have our very own Trail. We have the East Orange Historic trail. This is a Historic trail around the city of East Orange that residents can H.I.K.E. (Healthy Initiative to Keep Exercising). We currently have ten sites around the city that have been identified as Historic sites. One of which is now the East Orange Court House, once the main library which opened in 1903 thanks to a generous donation by Andrew Carnegie. Another shown in the photo is Elmwood Park. In 1917 a gentleman, Alden Freeman, began developing the park in memory of his father, Joel Francis Freeman. The park was designed by nationally acclaimed landscape architect and park designer Fredrick Law Olmstead Jr.
Our residents can get their exercise and learn about the history of this great city as they walk the Trail.
The Hamilton Memorial Garden is producing; producing baskets of organic vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, kale, peppers, herbs and more but is also producing community spirit. Located on the corner of two busy streets in Atlantic City, NJ, passersbys are more than curious. They are pulling in the parking lot and walking off the sidewalk and into the garden. “Whose garden is this? Can I help harvest the vegetables?” … Of course! Garden organizers have seen a small but encouraging increase in those coming out to harvest in the past weeks.
A phone call was received with a request to hold a ceremony in the amphitheater whose final stone work is being completed! Slowly the community surrounding the Hamilton United Methodist Church in Atlantic City is finding the benefit to the construction they have watched all spring/summer. Reaping a reward for their hard work, community partners and volunteers shared a kale salad picked just moments before during a weekly garden meet-up. Gardeners continue to meet weekly to maintain the garden, discuss programming and hand out produce to the community.
A dedication of the Hamilton Memorial Garden will be held on August 25, 2014 at 5:30pm; its purpose is to thank those that have worked so diligently to create such a resource, a beautiful, prolific organic garden and fitness center in the heart of a known food desert. The dedication will also serve as a message to the community to “Come Garden and Be Well!” Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian will be welcomed back to the garden to see the success of a project that he helped start back in March 2014.
What does the future hold for the Hamilton Memorial Garden? Fall Crops! Collard greens, broccoli, cabbages and hopefully a community enjoying a new found resource for families. AtlantiCare Growing Green is proud to be involved in such a beneficial program for the residents of Atlantic City
Using science based knowledge, the Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program has spent the summer months teaching the many different aspects of healthy eating and exercise to the participants in the YMCA of Paterson Summer Camp Program. Two times a week for six weeks, mentors from the program have been guiding our 5-12 year olds in the importance of family mealtimes, the My Plate Icon, and different ways that more fruits and vegetables can be included in their daily diet.
Many families don’t eat together because they don’t have time to cook or don’t even know how to cook. There are families that have the television on during dinner and many even eat in front of the television. The campers were explained that eating together builds a sense of family unity and that family conversations help deter depression, use of illegal drugs, and eating disorders.
The looks on the campers’ faces was priceless when it was explained that half of their plates should be filled with fruits and vegetables, that dinners should be started with either a green salad or a vegetable soup, and that more vegetables and less cheese should cover their pizza. The priceless faces changed to enthusiasm when the children expressed that they wouldn’t mind choosing the family’s fruits and vegetables for the week or adding chopped onions and broccoli to a jar of spaghetti.
The Rutgers Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Program has helped create a rainbow through every visit and through the introduction of all the colors that different fruits and vegetables have. The next step is for these children to stretch these rainbows into their homes with their families.
The Sussex County YMCA is dedicated to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Through our efforts to help communities stay healthy and strong, the Sussex County YMCA is assisting a program to teach local children more about healthy living.
Through a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, our Y was able to purchase new equipment for the Franklin Borough Elementary School for this upcoming school year to supplement their “CATCH” and “Healthy U” programs.
With increased time, intensity and duration of physical activity during the school day and after school, these programs teach children that eating healthy and being physically active every day can be fun. Establishing these healthy habits in childhood can promote behavior changes that can last a lifetime.
Some of the new equipment consists of hockey sets, safety goggles, kick balls, scooters, hoops, frisbees, ping pong equipment, climbing rope, jump ropes, cones and more. Staff from the Sussex County YMCA will provide additional training to the Franklin Borough Elementary after school staff on the supplemental CATCH equipment to help strengthen the impact of the “Healthy U” program. Everyone involved is excited to see kids enjoying the new equipment and learning to enjoy a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Our last Play Streets at Sadowski Parkway in Perth Amboy was a success! The children and families who attended participated in every activity we offered from tennis, beach football, beach soccer, dancing and the bouncy house. We are achieving our goal of keeping children and families active during the summer months. We look forward to our next Play Streets at the end of August, and continuing to see the impact that Play Streets has in our community.
Our Children’s Community Garden… How exciting it has been watching children and young people water the vegetables, pick them, make a fresh salad at the Y and/or take them home with them. Also, our 2 week Cooking Camp learned about the garden and had a chance to pick and take home vegetables. They were able to use the fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for a salad to share with members and staff at The Y.
The following is a story of the impact of the Children’s Garden: Two young girls were walking by the garden and saw we were picking some beans, cucumbers, and some herbs. They asked if they could help pick the vegetables and herbs, afterwards we gave the girls some of the freshly picked vegetables and herbs to take home. The following day the girls came back and said their mom used all the vegetables and herbs for their dinner that night. Our Community Garden has been a great addition to the community and the Farmer’s Market.