ShapingNJ: Let’s keep it growing!

NPSRTS Cert for Shaping NJ

During 2014, the North Plainfield Safe Routes to School Committee was a new grantee to the Shaping-NJ Partnership family. As a new grantee, we have been very grateful for all the assistance offered by NJDOH staffers and through the partnerships with AmericaWalks and YMCA.

One of the great things that really separates ShapingNJ from other grantor-grantee partnerships is the high level of program and social media technical support offered throughout the entire process. Unlike other grant funders who may simply request applications, approve work, issue checks and then wait for results – the staff at ShapingNJ is always looking for ways to help grantees identify issues, solve problems, and offer encouragement through difficult implementation stages.

Additionally, ShapingNJ routinely holds monthly conference calls with grantees to check-in on our progress, highlight milestones/successes, and to assist with a wide variety of problem solving. ShapingNJ’s commitment to making sure that all these diverse programs at various   non-profits throughout the state are working effectively is truly remarkable and a real testament to the entire leadership team. But, something even more amazing occurred recently, a Mid-course Feedback Evaluation was done to make sure that everything could be done was being done to improve the process. This once again, this demonstrated a deep commitment to quality control, listening to feedback, and continual program improvement.

One issue raised in the evaluation was funding and resources. This is something that every program needs and something that we will need going forward to sustain and grow this fabulous program. I am sure that if you have read any of the the posts here, you recognize that communities all over our great state need assistance with nutrition, physical activity and obesity prevention. I would like to challenge you to think about what you can do to help: think up a new program, identify new funding resources, or to even consider donating your time to a local program to make it even more successful. You can contact ShapingNJ at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/shapingnj/about/contact/   

 

North Plainfield SRTS Awards and Playground Expansion Project Completed!

Opening Slide

Opening Slide

 

SRTS Awards 1

SRTS Awards 1

SRTS Awards 2

SRTS Awards 2

Awards 4

Awards 4

 

Agenda

Agenda

 

Existing Playground Before

Existing Playground

New equip in static

New equip in static

 

New playground

New playground

Back playground

Back playground

New Playground 3

New Playground 3

New Playground 4

New Playground 4

On June 10th,the North Plainfield Safe Routes to School Committee along with representatives from the NJ Department of Transportation, North Plainfield Board of Education and Modell’s Sporting Goods held our annual Safe Routes to School awards ceremony at Stony Brook School. At the event, all of our local crossing guards were recognized for their outstanding service to the community and each one was presented with a framed certificate of appreciation. We would once again like to thank all of our crossing guards for all they do to keep the students of North Plainfield safe on their way to and from school each day.

After the crossing guard awards concluded, we presented the Modell’s Miles that Matter: Walk to the Shore Challenge Awards. The Miles that Matter program was established to encourage K-8 students to walk-to-school on a more frequent basis to improve physical activity and reduce traffic congestion near our schools. For each day that a student walked, they receive a half-mile credit along our predetermined route from North Plainfield to Island Beach State Park.  Credits were tabulated on a monthly and participating students received certificates of recognition for each milestone accomplished and a place of honor on the school wide tracking chart. At year-end, the top three finishers at Somerset, West End, East End, and Stony Brook were recognized with a framed certificate and an invitation to attend an upcoming Somerset Patriots baseball game. Due to the generous support of Modell’s Sporting Goods, we were also able to raffle off one $50 Modell’s gift cards to the top-15 finishers at each school. We would once again like to thank Modell’s for all their program support this year. For our Walk Across America Challenge students at our four participating schools walked a combined 5,273 miles exceeding our original goal of 3,814 mile goal from Bangor, Maine to San Francisco, CA, nice work students! 

During our event, we also presented three Distinguished Service Awards to North Plainfield Mayor Giordano, Stony Brook Principal Cathy Kobylarz, and NPBOE Business Administrator Don Sternberg, all of whom have made significant contributions to the success of our program over the last four years. Without their tireless and continual support none of our current accomplishments would have been possible. The NPSRTS Committee also recognized the generous support of our three primary financial sponsors: NJ Department of Transportation, Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs; NJ Department of Health, Office of Nutrition & Fitness, Shaping NJ Partnership; Modell’s Sporting Goods our chief corporate sponsor. Thanks you again for supporting the work of this outstanding program.

Our event concluded with the NJDOH-Shaping NJ joint groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting for the Stony Brook Playground Expansion Project. Due to the outstanding work of Ed Ostroff, the Director of Operations and Auxiliary Services for NPBOE, we were able to push up the project completion date from September 3rd to June 10th. This means that our children are now able to enjoy the expanded playground equipment through the end of the school year and over the entire summer. Ed, we are so grateful for all you did to move up the completion date and to get this project done in record time. Congratulations to you, your team, and your contract partners.

Finally, we especially want to thank Karin Mille NJDOH, Office of Nutrition and Fitness, Shaping NJ Partnership; Dr. Katherine Kraft National Coalition Director from America Walks; and everyone associated with the Shaping NJ Partnership for all their support and guidance during the planning, funding, and construction process. We did it! Thanks again.

First Steps: Redesigning Stony Brook Playground

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Drawing 1 Drawing 2 Drawing 3 Drawing 4 Drawing 6 Drawing 7 Drawing 5

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the North Plainfield Safe Routes to School Committee (NPSRTSC) launched our local ShapingNJ project with the “Let’s Redesign the Stony Brook Playground” K-4 drawing contest. The contest kicked-off with much fanfare: school announcements, flyer distributions, and numerous discussions among teachers and students about the exciting possibilities for the playground area. The contest rules were simple and straight-forward: students were told that they could submit as many original artworks or playground plans as they desired up to the March 31st deadline. No limits were placed on their imaginations, they were free to ponder all the recreational possibilities of the space without the need to consider adult project limitations like budgets, construction time frames, or administrative sign-offs.

To encourage full student participation the NPSRTSC established an awards structure for the contest. First place would receive $20, second place $15, and third place would receive $10. Money for these prizes came from a generous local non-profit agency and no ShapingNJ grant money was used for this part of the program. NPSRTSC would like to extend a huge thank you to all our local donors in North Plainfield and Somerset County for their on-going encouragement and financial support of our Safe Routes to School program. If you would like to make a donation or volunteer to help with the North Plainfield Safe Routes to School program please contact Jim Crane at Ridewise 908-704-1011.

The drawing contest winners will be revealed on April 9th during morning announcements. Our contest winners will receive their recognition award at a special NPSRTSC assembly this spring when we will reveal the final equipment selection designs for the playground and how a special ribbon cutting event with members of the Borough of North Plainfield and Board of Education.

Above we have included samples from the top seven finalists and we would love to hear your feedback on the order placement for the finalists.