The Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle will continue!

The YES Program of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen is wrapping up its last month of the Shaping NJ grant funding. We can’t believe it is that time already!

The program and community of New Brunswick has blossomed from the knowledge gained around the importance of health, fitness, and nutrition. The partnerships developed over the past nine months have been outstanding and the families have much to be thankful for.

The YES Program of Catholic Charities has been able to provide a wealth of resources and information to the families and children through the many partnerships that we have developed as well as many special activities and events. From our Health Fair to our monthly workshops to our trip to the Farmers Market, the families of New Brunswick have gained education and involvement on the importance of a healthy lifestyle. This project has strengthened some of our previous relationships as well as provided the opportunity to connect to new partners. It additionally enhanced the teamwork at the YES Program with staff from all levels. Many of the staff are already thinking about what the program can do with a new funding opportunity!

As the program wraps up the grant we look back at some of our highlights:

*Expanded partnerships and collaborations with the New Brunswick Food Corps, Rutgers Cooperative Extension (SNAP Ed), and the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market to name only a few

*Over 100 people and 65 families in attendance at our Healthy Families, Healthy Communities fair on April 11, 2015

*Healthy Eating and Physical Activity project with the YMCA

*Family workshops offered on a variety of health, fitness, and nutrition topics

*Planting new flowers and vegetables in our garden with our partners from Food Corps

*Weekly healthy eating education, activities, and supplies for 100 New Brunswick preschool children (“Color Me Healthy”)

*Father’s Day healthy breakfast

*Family Fitness Day

*Field trip to the New Brunswick Farmer’s Market

*Zumba classes for staff, parents, and children

*Landscape Assessment completed with Food Corps to assess and improve the overall school environment focused on health and wellness

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Recent Zumba classes offered to children, staff, and families of New Brunswick are one of the many activities offered as we wrap up the funding and prepare for our presentation at the September grantee meeting. The YES Program of Catholic Charities looks forward to our involvement in the gallery walk to showcase our highlights and experiences on September 25th!

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Celebrating “Color Me Healthy” with Food Corp!

The YES Program of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen continues to provide opportunities of nutrition education with the families and children in New Brunswick.

Children and families enjoyed a field trip to the New Brunswick Farmer’s Market on July 23, 2015. This culminating activity as part of our “Color Me Healthy” nutrition education classes was a great celebration of our continued work on improving the knowledge of the New Brunswick community on nutrition and health.

Children, families, and staff participated in a tour of the children’s garden, enjoyed tastings of fresh fruits and vegetables, made “seed balls” with clay for planting, and took a fresh peach home to eat! All families received a $5 Market Bucks coupon to spend at the Farmer’s Market before they left.

While we were visiting, a van from Elijah’s Promise was there picking up produce to bring back to their kitchen!   Elijah’s Promise is one of several community partners that the Market serves.

Catholic Charities YES Program continues to be amazed at the energy around the subject of promoting health and nutrition within New Brunswick. This could not be possible without all of our community partners and relationships that we have developed through this project!

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Maintaining Healthy Connections in New Brunswick!

The YES Program of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Metuchen continues to make healthy connections with the families and children in New Brunswick. As the summer is upon us, the program continues to plan multiple activities focused around health and nutrition. In June, the program offered a Father’s Day healthy breakfast and nutrition activities in partnership with the New Brunswick Food Corps.

Supplies for garden and Farmer’s Market activities were purchased as part of the summer program offered to over 100 children in July and August at the Catholic Charities YES Program. Additionally, our garden continues to grow and flourish as we water and nurture our plants and flowers.

The YES Program continues to plan a Family Fitness Fun Night in July which will include a Zumba class as well as a field trip to the local Farmer’s Market this summer. Additional cooking classes will be provided towards the fall in collaboration with Elijah’s Promise.

Feedback from community partners and families continues to show positive involvement in the projects and accomplishments in educating the community of New Brunswick on the importance of health and nutrition.

Here is one comment:

“The parents like learning about ways to eat healthier for them and their children and they found out some nutritional facts they never knew, which was good.”

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Spring Ahead!

The last of the snow and ice is finally melting away at the Salem County Recreation Park. Our  walking path, the playground, and the baseball fields are collecting the warm rays of the sun once again. The flowers are slowly popping through and the branches of the trees are beginning to bud. Springtime is definitely in the air.

Melting snow at the playground.

 

The park will soon be filled with the sound of children laughing, baseball bats dinging, and the crowds watching the game. The ground with soon thaw and be dry enough for us to break ground on expanding our walking path to a half of a mile, install bike racks, and other exercise equipment. We hope to impact the health of our community with these improvements to the park.

 

Kissing winter GOODBYE!

Kissing winter GOODBYE!

 

The health of our community is our top priority. Our walking path provides assess to exercise opportunities in Salem County. Salem County ranks below the state average with a larger percent of the population not having adequate access to locations for physical activity.  The park is located in a rural community which has less sidewalks and a higher speed limits. Those two factors don’t provide a safe place to walk.

Soon the kids will once again be enjoying the swings.

Soon the kids will once again be enjoying the swings.

 

Walkers are safe on our path. The accessibility of the path has and will continue to attract the crowds of walkers.The path is strategically built around the soccer and softball fields. The close proxiomity of the path to the fields spectators can watch the game and exercise at the same time.

Part of the Move Yourself! Salem County walking club cooling down after a walk.

Part of the Move Yourself! Salem County walking club cooling down after a walk.

The walking path is easily accessible to guests of the park and the community. Since the path’s grand opening in September 2014, our walking group has attracted over 75 participants. We will continue to grow our group and to improve the health of our residents.

 

Great shot of the walking path ~September 2014

Great shot of the walking path ~September 2014

Sussex County YMCA After School Program -Healthy Start to a New School Year

The Sussex County YMCA is dedicated to Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. Through our efforts to help communities stay healthy and strong, the Sussex County YMCA is assisting in a program to teach local children more about healthy living.
Through a generous grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, our Y was able to purchase new equipment for the Franklin Borough Elementary School to supplement their “CATCH” and “Healthy U” programs.
Students in the Franklin Borough School are excited to be back at school using the new equipment purchased through the grant. Some of the new equipment consists of hockey sets, safety goggles, kick balls, scooters, hoops, frisbees, ping pong equipment, climbing rope, jump ropes, cones and more. Physical Education teachers, Y staff, and the School’s Health Counsel are working together to use the new equipment in line with the parameters of the Healthy U and CATCH program. All activities and equipment are used to reinforce participation of all children in a non-competitive environment with non-elimination games.
In addition to being physically active, children in the Y afterschool care program have been learning about healthy nutrition. Supplemental nutrition materials and healthy snacks have been purchased through the grant in order to help educate children about healthy eating habits. Children are being exposed to a wider variety of fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Children have also been learning about portion control as well as “calories in and calories out.”
Students are also gearing up for the Healthy U Kick-Off in early October. They will be creating colorful displays and bulletin boards throughout the school and sharing information about the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating. Children will also recommit by signing the Healthy U pledge and promise to continue to eat healthy and to stay active each day.