Bloomfield Health and Human Services is excited to announce the health initiatives being

Bloomfield Health and Human Services team in action.

Bloomfield Health and Human Services team in action.

lead for the 2015 ShapingNJ grant cycle.  First, there is the health store initiative.  The idea is to target stores that are close to the public elementary schools in Bloomfield in the hopes of encouraging youngsters to purchase healthier snacking options. Initially, we plan to present our ideas to four stores, then depending on their interest, there will be two lucky stores chosen.  They will be required to offer two healthier options to their patrons and in return will receive marketing materials, displays, and other incentives throughout the year. What healthy snacks would your child approve of? How can these options be made more desirable for our youngsters?

For the second, we will complete the installation of bike racks throughout key locations in Bloomfield, to encourage more bike riding among the residents.  For this initiative we plan to work with the Bloomfield Recreation Department, School Principals, and the Board of Education. Let’s dust off our bikes, get our helmets on and take a bike ride!

Finally, we have the “Take the Stairs” initiative, which is being implemented exclusively in Bloomfield Township’s municipal building.  Our goal is to spruce up and decorate the stair wells of the municipal building to encourage employees and residents to use the stairs rather than the elevator.  We wanted to purchase artwork which reflects Bloomfield’s unique cultural and natural history to place in the stairwells as an incentive to take the stairs.  Strategically placed posters in key decision locations in the building will serve to advertise this initiative.  We will now have great scenery to look at while walking up and down the stairs! In addition, we will launch a campaign and consistently communicate with employees to increase employees’ motivation to participate. Take the stairs and increase your daily physical activity with little notice!

We want a healthy community! Feel free to give us your input and engage yourself in this campaign towards a more active and healthy lifestyle. Help us make the healthy choice the easy choice Bloomfield!

Woodbridge Forms Wellness Coalition to Improve Physical Activity and Nutrition

Woodbridge Township Department of Health, in partnership with the Mayors Wellness Coalition is excited to announce that we have been awarded a ShapingNJ Community Improvement Grant to improve physical activity and nutrition within the Township.  These two new initiatives will complement and build on the outstanding progress already made in Woodbridge Township to encourage residents to be more physically active and to improve their nutrition and wellness.

The physical activity strategy will target both adults and children who fail to meet the Center for Disease Control guidelines for daily physical activity.  Since physical activity levels are positively affected by structural environments like the availability of sidewalks and trails Woodbridge will install an additional walking path to add to the existing ten walking paths currently in place in Woodbridge Township.  We will also enhance the existing paths so that they are more visible and functional by installing signage, mileage markings and bike racks.  In addition, we will create “Walking Path” brochures and other materials concerning these amenities to create awareness and educate the community about their availability, locations and benefits.  These strategies will encourage residents to make use of these opportunities and amenities and increase their levels of physical activity.  The addition of these amenities will promote physical activity broadly within the Township and the new brochures will inform the residents that they are available for use while touting the health benefits of physical activity.  This two prong approach will promote, support and foster healthy behaviors within the community and thus increase the number of adults and children who meet the physical activity guidelines established by Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The strategy for healthy nutrition will focus on a local organization called We Feed.  We Feed is a coalition of local food banks within the Township.  The healthy nutrition initiative will include the implementation of a healthy food/nutrition policy for the “We Feed” Committee, creation of a Healthy Eating Brochure and a training session with a Nutrition Consultant for the We Feed Food Pantries.  Two food pantries will be selected for initial implementation of the new program based upon the maximum number of families served monthly. The Nutrition Consultant will be available for assessment and consultations at the selected pantries.  The training will focus on best practices related to organizing healthy food donation baskets for families in need, developing a preferred healthy food donation list and creating simple healthy recipes from common food donations.  Once established, we hope these new best practices will enable the Food Bank to more effectively meet the nutritional needs of the most vulnerable populations of the community.

YMCA Shaping Healthy Teens in Perth Amboy

Raritan Bay Area YMCA Perth Amboy is thrilled to continue its partnership with ShapingNJ for 2015.  At The Y, we are advocates for a healthier community and we are committed to providing our community with new avenues toward healthy living.

The CDC reports that; “In 2013, only 29% percent of high school students had participated in at least 60 minutes per day of physical activity daily” and that “15.2% percent of high school students had not participated in ANY KIND of physical activity on ANY day” over the weeks surveyed.  We found these numbers astounding!  We know that lack of physical activity causes many health risks, as such, our goal is to help change those statistics.

Keeping in line with this goal, our focus has been on creating opportunities for our neighborhood teens to be more physically active. With the help of the ShapingNJ grant and in collaboration with the City of Perth Amboy, Raritan Bay Medical Center and The Municipal Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse we plan to make this happen!

To begin, we have created “TEEN CENTER” nights in which every Saturday night, we will open our facility to ALL community teens (whether they are Y members or not).  Keeping the focus on healthy living and healthy bodies.  We plan to offer different programs for all teens 13-18 years of age, as well as open availability to our aquatics, gym, fitness and weight rooms.  We are confident that this will provide the opportunity for all teens to get the exercise they need while at the same time, bonding with their neighborhood teens to create a stronger sense of community.  Keep checking back to see how this program impacts our community.

Shaping Dover

Morris County Family Success Center, a program of the Partnership for Maternal & Child Health of Northern New Jersey, is leading the Shaping Dover project

Our plans include healthy eating and food environment assessment.  We will assess the local restaurants, corner stores, supermarkets and different food sources in the Dover area to determine the nutritional gaps.

Physical activity- We will conduct an assessment of the physical activity environment in the Dover area.  This will include determining what is available for the community to include physical activity in their daily lives and where the gaps may be.

The change we hope to implement is to make healthier foods more available at the local restaurants and corner stores and to encourage healthier food options in the Latino community.  We also hope to increase access to physical activity in the community.  In particular we would like to possibly implement bike lanes and to explore the complete streets policy.

Focusing on “Healthy Families, Healthy Communities” in 2015! YES Program- New Brunswick


Catholic Charities YES Program- New Brunswick

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen, incorporated in 1982, is a non-profit Agency dedicated to service, quality and outreach for members of the community, especially those who are poor, devalued and in need of help. The agency supports Warren, Hunterdon, Somerset, and Middlesex counties with additional services throughout the State of New Jersey. Services provided by Catholic Charities include: Child Care Services, Behavioral Health & Youth Services, Out of Home Placement, Housing & Homeless Prevention, and Social Justice.

The Youth Enrichment Services (YES) Program of Catholic Charities provides high quality preschool to 165 children ages 3-5 as well as an afterschool program for 65 school age students. The program has been in operation for approximately 18 years and has centered its focus on providing quality services to the families in the New Brunswick community. The programs have celebrated much success over the years with their participation in Taking Steps to Healthy Success, Let’s Move Child Care involvement, participation in the USDA CACFP program, At Risk meals program, building a center garden, and national accreditation through the National Afterschool Association to name a few.

The Catholic Charities YES Program is excited to be a recipient of a $10,000 Shaping NJ grant to provide health and fitness workshops to both families and children throughout the grant cycle as well as a Community Health Fair in April celebrating the Week of the Young Child. Focusing around the theme “Healthy Families, Healthy Communities”, the YES Program will partner with local community organizations on educating our families and the community around health, nutrition, and obesity prevention. Our main event will be held on April 11th from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm and will incorporate a variety of vendors and activities centered around health, nutrition, and obesity prevention. This will be a culminating event that will help promote the good work that Catholic Charities does while supporting the New Brunswick community.

We look forward to celebrating a healthier New Brunswick and we hope that you will join us!