Community representatives from18 sites across NJ shared their accomplishments and lessons learned from implementing the second round of ShapingNJ community grants. This initiative provided small, six-month grants to communities to work with local coalitions to increase access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities in neighborhoods, schools and child care centers.
The project included technical assistance to sites, an evaluation and an innovative way for sites to share their progress--a blog.
Some key accomplishments include:
The Raritan Bay YMCA in Perth Amboy held a Play Streets event that attracted over 200 participants during the day. The event closed down Smith Street on a Saturday afternoon and gave local children the opportunity to climb a rock wall, play soccer, learn and play tennis and basketball and participate in a Zumba demonstration.
The Raritan Valley YMCA in East Brunswick trained over 30 child care staff members on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards and developed action plans to implement related policies. They also signed 8 joint use agreements with child care centers to provide these centers space for children to be active and to play.
The Monmouth County Department of Health installed bike racks through sports fields and parks. They continue to implement their “Healthy Pick” program in corner stores and bodegas which labels nutritionally superior choices and works with store staff to ensure buy-in and provide health education.