Survey Says…Snack Smarter


Hey Smart Snackers,

It’s important to the East Orange YMCA that we change behaviors so communities can live healthier, but in order to do that, we need to know where to start.  Our children are our future and our treasure, so with the permission of their parents, we surveyed some of our After School students.  The survey, results and our next steps are below:

Number of students surveyed: 86


  • Are you hungry when you get off the bus after school?   Yes (74)     No (12)
  • When you are hungry, what do you feel like doing?   No response (2)     Watch TV (35)     Sleep (24)     Be Active (30)
  • Name five fruits and what is your favorite?     While the majority of children could name 5 fruits, most answers were grapes, apples, oranges and bananas.  We will use this information towards a plan to introduce diverse fruits to the children.  This will be a part of the “experiential nutrition learning” component funded by the grant and supported by the volunteer nutritional speakers.
  • Name five vegetables and what is your favorite?  While the majority of the children could name 5 vegetables, most answers were the common corn, potatoes, carrots, tomatoes and string beans.  Less green vegetables were noted.  We will use this information to create a plan as we will do with the fruits.  There is an opportunity to offer veggies as a snack option for the children.  This will be a part of the “experiential nutrition learning” component as well.
  • How many servings of fruits and vegetables do you eat every day?     0-3 (43)     4-6 (16)     7-10 (9)     more than 10 (6)     no response (14).  This is an excellent learning opportunity to teach the children the importance of nutritional information and knowing the difference and importance of understanding things, such as caloric and sodium intake, servings and serving sizes, total fat and carbohydrates and ingredient listings.

As we continue to explore varied tactics to increase our children’s nutritional awareness, we hope to continue to collaborate with their parents, community and partners so all can have the necessary tools and eagerness to live healthier.

The Horizon Foundation Blue Cross Blue Shield’s “Healthy U” initiative to help prevent childhood obesity is just one way we incorporate healthy living into our After School and Preschool Programs.

Here’s to a better you, too!

East Orange YMCA

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East Orange Historic H.I.K.E. Sites Selected (Preview)


The selection committee has chosen the historic sites for the trail, permanent signs for each site are being ordered and the H.I.K.E. t-shirts are being designed for the big launch day.  We’re very excited to see this project come together with the help of our partners.

As a preview of what’s to come, we want to share the first, and possibly most obvious, historic site, which is (drum roll please)….

City Of East Orange

The summer is here and we are ready to have everyone living “A Healthier U” through H.I.K.E. – Healthy Initiative to Keep Exercising!

The Y is committed to strengthening community through youth development, HEALTHY LIVING and social responsibility.

Happy trails…

East Orange YMCA 

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Surveying Kids About Transportation in Trenton

In our first blog, we explained that we are working with the Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) to supplement the ShapingNJ mini-grant.  As part of the data collection, VTC provided us with a tally sheet so that teachers can record how children travel to and from the three target schools. If most of them are driven, the researchers might suggest building a safe drop-off loop. However, if most students walk, then better crosswalks, flashing lights, and traffic patterns could be recommended.

VTC provided valuable insight into how data can often get confused when the respondents are young children.  Kindergarten and first graders think concretely. When asked “Did you walk to school today?” they may answer “yes” because they walked from the parking lot to their classroom after being dropped off in a car. Similarly, few children are acquainted with the term “carpool”, and can get confused; more simply it can be explained as “driving to school with other people”. VTC offered the following suggestions for clarifying the various modes of transportation when speaking with children:

  • Walking
    “Did you walk all the way from your house to school?” “Will you be walking from school all the way to your house?”
  • Driving
    “Did someone drive you to the school parking lot?”
  • Carpooling
    “When you came to school this morning, did you ride in a car with other kids who do not live in your house?” “When you go home today, will other kids in the car go to different houses?”
  • Biking
    “Did you ride your bike to school this morning? Is your bike parked inside the school/on a rack in the school parking lot? Will you ride your bike home today, or will someone put it in the car and drive you home.”

School principals were grateful to have the suggestions compiled into a one-page instruction sheet that was passed out to teachers. Monument school was the first and we are awaiting the completed surveys from Wilson and Hedgepeth. We will be putting the numbers to work as soon as the walking audits are completed in May and use the information to guide the selection of mini routes around the schools.

Community Lifts Voices For Healthy Living Choices


At the Y, we work with community leaders to make the healthy choice the easy choice in all of the places where people live, work, learn and play.  Thanks to ShapingNJ, the East Orange YMCA is pursing strategies to improve healthy eating and active living, thanks in part to these wonderful businesses and community leaders:

Shared Mindset.  Shared Responsibility.

Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges – Larry Lev, Ernest S. Bryant, Jessica Rademaker, Angela Johnson, Elizabeth Youngstein, Lisa Kelly, Sharon Malone

City of East Orange – Donna Littlejohn, Karen LaRussa, Valerie Jackson, Norma Mackey

East Orange School District – Beverly Macon, Mary Fayton

East Orange Education Foundation – Goldie Burbage

East Orange Public Library – Pamela Holmes

East Orange General Hospital – Leslie Eaddy

Prodigal Sons and Daughters Redirection Services – Wanda Upshaw

East Orange Clergy Association – Father Joseph Harmon, Reverend Leonard Santucci

East Orange Historical Society

Read our other ShapingNJ posts to find out how we’re changing behaviors for healthy living.

All for you,

East Orange YMCA

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Camden CPTED

A group of community members from Camden were trained on CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) in April 2012. Subsequently, the Camden CPTED Workgroup was developed, in partnership with NJ Partnership for Healthy Kids-Camden. The group decided to develop an assessment of all parks in Camden and identify CPTED strategies for each park.

Camden Park

Our meeting on February 11 focused on reviewing a list of Camden parks and using Google Earth to get aerial and street views of a few parks. The group reviewed a draft of a survey which will be distributed to residents in community-wide meetings, which have yet to be finalized. The community will be asked for their thoughts and input on local parks in relation to CPTED.

Our next meeting is scheduled for February 27 and will include a tour of a few identified parks to take pictures and begin a more thorough assessment.