The Raritan Valley YMCA is going above and beyond normal health and fitness program efforts—we aim to change community behaviors and attitudes toward healthy eating and physical activity. With ShapingNJ grants subsidizing these efforts, the Y has been able to make inroads to healthier practices by working with other community leaders.
Last year, the Y educated childcare center directors and staff on implementing Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) policies and practices in their centers. We provided workshops and educator packets containing sample policies, website resources, background information, and implementation ideas for environmental changes. Via joint use agreements, the YMCA secured physical activity opportunities to 7 childcare centers and community groups that lacked physical space and access to swimming pools. Through outreach efforts, simple guidelines and great enthusiasm, we are promoting life-changing behaviors that will drastically reduce childhood obesity.
With another ShapingNJ grant in 2014, the Raritan Valley Y will advocate for healthy vending in community locations. We will expand the power of our joint use agreements by partnering with medical facilities that treat adults with diabetes and related chronic disease health conditions. The Y’s work is intended to provide access to fitness centers and exercise programs.
By working together, we are creating positive changes in the greater New Brunswick area. The Y has found that, by engaging community leaders in these initiatives, the outcome is multiplied and greater numbers of people are helped. The Y is making a difference to help prevent youth obesity and promote active community environments among all age groups. We want to let everyone in our community know, we can help you get healthy… today!
-Gina Stravic, Executive Director, Raritan Valley YMCA