Working Partners in Bloomfield

We are so excited to be working with nursing student interns from #WilliamPatersonUniveristy @wpunj_edu at the #WPUnursing school.  Our Nursing Department @bloomfieldHDNJ regularly takes in nursing interns, and we were fortunate enough to have Sara Jarri, Adrian Nwosu, Christopher Balbin, and Samuel Arana work with us on the #Healthy Store Initiative.  While they are working on a project for school, they will also be working with Fairview and Carteret Elementary Schools in Bloomfield.

Carteret Elementary School in Bloomfield NJ

Carteret Elementary School in Bloomfield NJ

Fairview Elementary School in Bloomfield NJ

Fairview Elementary School in Bloomfield NJ

The interns have put together a proposal with the objective of increasing awareness of the students to the benefits of healthy food choices and how to recognize healthy foods and unhealthy foods.  They have compiled a photo presentation for the 5th grade in each school that explains how the Healthy Food Initiatives will work in their respective corner stores participating in the program.  Incentives will be introduced specifically to the 5th graders, but information about the program will be sent home so all students and families can participate.  The rationale behind focusing on the 5th graders had to do with the fact that they will be returning to the school and will hopefully carry on the tradition of buying wholesome snacks for school.

In conjunction with The Department of Public Works and The Recreation Department for Bloomfield, we have installed the bike racks at Pulaski Park and Brookside Park in Bloomfield.


Just in the nick of time, with the weather catching up to the time of year.  We’ll get there eventually.  Happy Biking Bloomfield.

Teamwork, Progress, and Dancing!

Originally posted on allisonsmithrd:

“Alone We Can Do So Little; Together We Can Do So Much”

-Helen Keller


Lincoln Park is a small community of about 10,500 residents on the border of Morris County. In size, it is small but it is full of wonderful people and great resources for improving public health. Being on the smaller side is actually very beneficial for networking and connecting with others. Collaboration has allowed the town to pool knowledge, skills, and resources to achieve the same goal – improving the health of the community. The key partners for the Lincoln Park grant projects are:

  • Kathleen Skrobala, RN, BSN, MA, HO – Health Officer/Public Health Nurse – Lincoln Park Health Department
  • Allison Smith, MPH, RD – Retail Registered Dietitian – ShopRite of Lincoln Park
  • Wincy Barreau – Intern – Montclair State University
  • Lincoln Park Department of Public Works

Kathleen and I (Allison) have worked together on numerous projects in the past including a…

View original 402 more words


The mission of the new Shaping a Green Bergen Coalition is to design, plant, and maintain a teaching/community garden that showcases native species, supports nutrition education, and brings together diverse populations in a hands-on activity that supports fitness and healthy eating habits.

To accomplish this mission, Bergen County Technical Schools (BCTS) reached out to organizations that demonstrated the dedication and expertise needed to support the successful design and creation of a garden and gardening community on the BCTS Paramus Campus. Partners were identified through referral and word-of-mouth and committed to participating because they believe in the intent of the project and its long-term goals.


  • Bergen County Technical High School (BCTS) – a county-wide vocational school district with three campuses that enrolls high school students from over 70 Bergen County communities. Paramus-based programs include Culinary and Landscape Design, Sustainable Sciences, and an Environmental Club.
  • Bergen County Special Services (BCSS) – one of eight regional special services school districts, enrolls students with disabilities from Bergen and adjacent counties. Paramus-based programs include the Bleshman School (children with multiple disabilities), Washington School (children with Autism Spectrum Disorder), and the following high school age programs: the Career Crossroads training program (Hospitality/Food Service), Springboard Life Skills program and the Work Ready summer internship program.
  • Demarest Garden Club, which was founded in 1930 and currently has 30 active members, promotes amateur gardening, the exchange of plants/seeds, and conducts programs on gardening methods including environmental and conservation concerns. The Club assists in the development of a Youth Garden Club, provides advice, educational programming and helps to coordinate volunteers to water/harvest crops in the summer.
  • Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension Services – maintains offices in all 21 New Jersey counties and partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Bergen County office, a partner in another NJ Healthy Communities grant, provides access to 4-H Club volunteers, Rutgers University trained volunteer Master Gardeners and Horticulture Therapists, educational programming and assistance identifying/applying for other funding.
  • SNAP-Ed Program of Bergen County – provides nutrition education to limited resource adults, seniors, SNAP (Food Stamp) participants and school systems which enroll 50% or more children receiving free or reduced school lunches. SNAP-Ed provides nutrition education to support garden activities, outreaches to students in low income schools and to SNAP recipients to promote the involvement in the garden.
  • Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA) – is responsible for wastewater treatment for 47 and solid waste management services for all 70 Bergen County municipalities. BCUA guides the integration of recycling methods into garden design/implementation, donates 4 composting units and 4 rain barrells, conducts community outreach, and assists in identifying funding sources.
  • Garden Club of New Jersey (GCNJ) – is a federation of individual local garden clubs throughout the state, with over 5,000 members, age 6-adult. The GCNJ supports the District’s application for membership as a Youth Garden Club, provides outreach/promotion of project/garden the through a club link on the GCNJ website, provides teacher training, and technical assistance in urban garden (square foot) gardening design.
  • Center for Food Action – provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other services to those living in poverty in northern New Jersey. CFA operates two gardens established in collaboration with the City of Englewood, Dwight Englewood School and commits to helping design and develop garden space, assisting in coordinating Bergen County garden groups and with the collection and distribution of fresh produce, herbs and native edibles to local families in need.
  • Bergen County Department of Health Services -The Mental Health Services Division of the BCDOH works with agencies that serve people of all ages who experience chronic health disease, including mental illness or substance use disorder. The Division promotes the project’s gardening and nutrition education activities and encourages the involvement of members of the mental health and disability community.

TOGETHER, members of the Shaping a Green Bergen Coalition welcome spring and begin to see our plans take shape. This spring will see the construction and installation of one raised bed, with the remaining two to be constructed in the fall, and the preparation of the trailer-bed for the planting of a moveable, native species garden. The raised beds will be located near the Bergen Special Services Career Crossroads program building, providing fresh herbs and vegetables for the program’s culinary students. An area has been staked out an area on the campus which will be allowed to revert to a meadow and will be planted with milkweed and wild flowers to attract butterflies, birds, and bees. Partners hope to be able to install seating in these areas so everyone from campus and community can enjoy the gardens.

There’s a lot to accomplish before the end of the school year and we have the partnership to do it!

Choosing Healthy & Moving Right Along!

Main St. Hackettstown

Hackettstown, NJ – home to the Healthy Menu Options initiative of Choose Healthy Warren County

Recruiting potential partners to participate in our Choose Healthy Warren County programs has been moving along smoothly! The restaurant owners of Hackettstown were excited and very interested in learning more about the Healthy Menu Options program. After meetings with several owners explaining the program, 11 agreed to participate. They include: Stella G’s, Pandan Room, TOPO, Zaytun Mediterranean Grill & Cafe, Hackettstown Health Foods, Prickly Pear, Pasta Grill by Enzo, Bea McNally’s, Mezza House, Marley’s Gotham Grill, & Mama’s Cafe Baci. Some are even promoting their new creations already! Hackettstown BID director, Jim Sheldon, and his wife recently dined at the Pandan Room and learned about the upcoming program and new dishes. He and his events coordinator are planning on coming up with a strategy to promote the program further by encouraging the community to dine at these restaurants.

The same type of positive attitude have been found when reaching out to discuss the Mayors Wellness Campaign and Farmers Market Voucher Promotion. Municipalities who have already taken the pledge are in the brainstorming process of creating new events and activities that should take place sometime during the summer. Frelinghuysen is planning on doing a senior citizens walk on June 6th and Mayor Christopher Kuhn issued a formal proclamation at the April 15th twonship committee meeting. Washington Borough’s mayor is coordinating with a nutritionist/fitness instructor to create an event with different exercise classes. These events were used as a tool to encourage participation with municipalities how have yet to take the pledge. By showcasing these easy, fun, and creative events, hopefully it encourages other towns to jump on the bandwagon! Using the list of vendors provided by Jersey Fresh, each were contacted and the majority was more than excited to participate! They were looking for a way to draw in a larger customer base and being placed on a pocket map seemed like a great way to start. Assisting with the compilation of the map includes Albert Krouse from the county planning department and he will be the one to design the map itself.

Brenda Rosario, WCHD’s intern from Rutgers University, has also been a key participant in getting these programs off the ground and running. It has been her responsibility to gather a list of potential participants, set up meetings, conduct follow-ups, and compile information packets about each program to present to businesses. Without her help, the Choose Healthy Warren County program would not be possible!

Excitement in Elizabeth: Partners in Action!

 A World Wind of Activity for Shaping Elizabeth Team

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation came for our site visit for the Healthy Communities grant on April 15, 2015 at The Gateway Family YMCA.  Seven members of the RWJ NJHI Team were welcomed by twelve members of our Executive Leadership Team and YMCA CEo, Krystal R. Canady.  The animated discussion was exciting and allowed us to reflect on the past two year’s accomplishments, most importantly we were able to envision our future.

Freeholder Granados SE 4-16-15 3

Freeholder Sergio Granados addresses Shaping Elizabeth about concerns in Neighborhood Parks.

At the Shaping Elizabeth April Work Group Meeting Krishna Garlic, City of Elizabeth brought a “Surprise” Guest.  Freeholder Sergio Granados arrived to discuss needed changes and renovations to Mattano Park.  The importance of this environmental change is twofold: 1) the families in the BaywayCommunity (Mrvalag Housing) will have a safe, working park for physical activity 2) Shaping Elizabeth influenced this change – working together with  Joe McTernan, Trinitas Regional Medical Center to support the residents of Mrvalag for healthy living.  In 2013 in partnership with Bayway Family Success Center families were interviewed to discuss barriers for health eating and physical activity.  Mattano Park adjacent to the housing complex was perceived as unsafe for their kids to play.  The park is not a city park so it was difficult to affect change from that vantage point.  Krishna spoke with Freeholder Granados.  He came to our meeting to let us know changes would be made in the next year and half. Feedback from our team indicated the need for immediate changes.It was agreed in July we would schedule a “playstreet” in the park. The Freeholder and his staff would support and attend.  The park would receive some immediate clean up and security.The long term project would be outlined at the event.  A great win for the community.

Anna Ramos NJ Food Trust  Speaks to Shaping Elizabeth about Corner Store Initiative.

Anna Ramos NJ Food Trust Speaks to Shaping Elizabeth about Corner Store Initiative.

In March, Anna Ramos from NJ Food Trust shared information about the Corner Store Initiative.  At our April meeting our Healthy Nutrition Work Group led by Jonathan Philips Groundwork Elizabeth and Karen Ensle, Rutgers Cooperative Extension planned phase 1 action steps including: indentifying team members to take pictures of corner stores and bodegas in 3 target areas: Bayway, Elizabethport and Midtown Elizabeth and use the assessment guide to identify stores ready to make some changes to be healthier.  We will meet on May to review locations and select stores for engagement.

In addition the following occurred:

Planning for play streets enticed Well Care Health Care, to provide bikes for a raffle and the City health department will supply 75 bike helmets.

Our School Wellness Work Group will partner with Healthy U schools and the Elizabeth Public Schools to provide an end of year Health Fair with activities and information.

Our Community Wellness Team now combined with the Trinitas Community Advisory team is planning for moving people from Emergency Room visits for primary care to primary care physicians.

Partners:  Prevention Links and Well Care Health Plans are working together to plan activities and programs to support change through the Bayway Family Success Center.

Partners are highlighted above in addition: Proceed, Inc. Community Food Bank of NJ, Elizabeth Neighborhood Health Center, United Way of Greater Union County, Elizabeth Housing Authority, Elizabethport Presbyterian Center, EatWell, Jefferson Park Pre School, YWCA Union County and community members.

Key Decision makers are engaged in various ways: Invited to attend a community forum, SE meetings, email, letters but the most impactful method is face to face conversations with passionate team members.

Shaping Elizabeth Members Get Active Walking with Leslie Sanson in March.

Shaping Elizabeth Members Get Active Walking with Leslie Sanson in March.

Partner websites:   www.getmovinggetheatlhynj.rutgersedu