by Elise Jorgensen, Meredith Glaubach, Janine Baldino, and Zandra Alford
As the 2014 mini-grant funding cycle comes to an end, we would like to take this time to thank our partnering organizations for increasing access to healthy and affordable foods and safe places to be active in Lee and Harnett Counties. Over the next few months, we will conduct end of year site visits and post a brief summary of the work being done by each grant site. Today’s spotlight is on the Fair Promise AME Zion Church Walking Trail, the West Lee Middle School Garden, and the Harnett County Partnership for Children’s promotion of healthy eating and physical activity in local daycare centers.
Fair Promise AME Zion Church – Walking Trail
Fair Promise AME Zion Church located in Sanford, NC has been working on promoting health and wellness by adding a walking trail that wraps around the church. Sandra Boyd, the project leader, has helped make it possible for Lee County community members to be active by quite literally paving the way for this walking trail and getting members of the church community involved. While the trail was being created, Fair Promise Church members, including Reverend Brooks, were outside helping paint, create signs and post them around the trail for motivation.
Sandra Boyd and Reverend Brooks led us around the trail for one lap and Sandra gave us the run down on how everything came into place. The trail wraps around the outer perimeter of the beautiful brick and stained glass church and is easily visible to both walkers and cars. Sandra would also like to start an initiative to promote drinking more water sometime in the near future. Members of the church along with anyone else who wants to utilize the trail can now walk the Fair Promises Walking Trail. Just seven laps make a mile so keep on walking Lee County! The Fair Promises Walking Trail is located behind the Fair Promise AME Zion Church, 712 Wall St., Sanford, NC.
West Lee Middle School – School Garden
After many months of hard work, West Lee Middle School can finally boast of 5 beautiful raised beds for their garden. After receiving a mini-grant from Voices into Action, Melanie Parker, an agricultural education and biology teacher at West Lee, started the journey of creating a vegetable garden behind the middle school. Though they faced many challenges along the way, Melanie with the help of her colleagues and students finished the garden beds just days before school let out this summer.
Melanie plans on having her students plant seeds in August, right after school is back in session. They will grow fall and spring crops, so that everyone who takes a class of hers will be able to enjoy both growing and harvesting vegetables. Those in her classes will be able to take home some of the vegetables, and share them with their families.
Best of luck Melanie, and thank you for your great work!
Harnett County Partnership for Children – Physical Activity and Healthy Food Promotion in local Daycare Centers
The Harnett County Partnership for Children received a mini-grant from Voices into Action to work with ten Harnett County daycare providers to increase physical activity and healthy food options. Dollie Adcock and Lynda Turlington, the Early Childhood Learning Coordinator at the Partnership, administered the Go NAPSACC (Nutrition And Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care) assessment to find out what kinds of activity and healthy food options are already being offered at local daycares. They have been meeting with each daycare provider to develop an individualized action plan to improve upon their current practices. Daycare providers have also attended a fun training for the Be Active Kids program to keep kids active in the classroom. When returning to assess how implementation was going, they found that just about every facility has made those little changes that make a big difference, and even made permanent commitments to nutrition and exercise in their policies.
It was a thrill to see how contagious their new healthy activities were in the facilities and their faculty. The lifelong collaboration Lynda and Dollie have formed with these facilities will continue to help the Harnett County childcare centers flourish!