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Greenwald, Lampitt tour Camden market

Originally published in CourierPostOnline

Fayer’s Market Owner Yobani Valdez (left) gives Assemblyman Lou Greenwald and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt a tour of the healthier options his store provides as part of the New Jersey Corner Store Initiative.

Fayer’s Market Owner Yobani Valdez (left) gives Assemblyman Lou Greenwald and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt a tour of the healthier options his store provides as part of the New Jersey Corner Store Initiative.

Assemblyman Louis Greenwald, D-Camden, and Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt, D-Camden/Burlington, visited Camden’s Fayer’s Market Thursday, part of a tour to showcase efforts some corner stores are making to increase access to affordable, healthy food.

The New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative is a statewide program focused on increasing the availability of healthy, affordable food in local stores and bodegas. Currently, there are 80 corner stores participating in the initiative and the goal is to expand to approximately 150 corner stores in underserved New Jersey communities by year-end.

Fayer’s Market currently participates in the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative and was one of the first stores that participated in the Camden Healthy Corner Store Network, a program funded by Campbell Soup Company’s Healthy Communities program.

In 2013, New Jersey was one of six states that saw a slight increase in adult obesity, and the state’s rate of obesity among toddlers who reside in low-income communities is the second highest in the nation.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 340,000 New Jersey residents are living in food deserts across the state.

State Legislators Greenwald and Lampitt visit Healthy Corner Store in Camden

The New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative announced today that it hosted Assemblyman Lou Greenwald, Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt and other community leaders on a site visit at Camden’s Fayer’s Market (1400 Haddon Ave) on April 2. The tour showcased the positive impact healthy corner stores are making to increase people’s access to affordable, healthy food, as well as bolster economic development efforts by capturing dollars that would otherwise be spent outside of the community.

The New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative is a statewide program focused on increasing the availability and sales of healthy, affordable food in local stores and bodegas. Currently, there are 80 corner stores participating in the initiative and the goal is to expand to approximately 150 corner stores in underserved New Jersey communities by yearend.

Fayer’s Market currently participates in the New Jersey Healthy Corner Store Initiative and was one of the first stores that participated in the Camden Healthy Corner Store Network, a program funded by Campbell Soup Company’s Healthy Communities program. Through the Campbell Healthy Communities program, 38 Camden neighborhood stores received education, tools and financial support to promote healthier food options to residents.

“Far too many New Jerseyans live in communities where they are unable to make healthy food choices because there are no well-stocked grocery or convenience stories in their neighborhoods,” said Corinne Orlando, director of Government Relations for the American Heart Association.

In 2013, New Jersey was one of six states that saw a slight increase in adult obesity, and the state’s rate of obesity among toddlers who reside in low-income communities is the second highest in the nation.[1] In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 340,000 New Jersey residents are living in food deserts across the state, while The Reinvestment Fund suggests even more alarming numbers with as much as 10% of the state’s population lacking access to healthy food options.

“Corner stores play a critical role in improving the health of children and families,” stated Kim Fortunato, director of Campbell Soup Company’s Healthy Communities program. “We chose Fayer’s Market for the site visit because of its ongoing commitment to increasing the availability and sales of healthy, affordable food.”

“Making affordable, nutritious food easy to find in corner stores is an important part of The Food Trust’s comprehensive approach to healthy food access and education,” says Yael Lehmann, executive director of The Food Trust. “We are thrilled to be supporting the work of such a strong and committed team of partners working together to make New Jersey an even better place to live and do business.”

For more information about the New Jersey Corner Store Initiative, please contact Corinne Orlando, director of Government Affairs, American Heart Association, corinne.orlando@heart.org or 609-223-3720.

 

Take Time for School Breakfast

March 2-6 is National School Breakfast Week—a five day celebration of the school breakfast program and a way to underscore the importance of breakfast to a student’s overall health and learning ability.

Research shows that eating breakfast correlates with improvements in students’ academic achievement in vocabulary, math and on standardized tests. Further, children who eat a healthy breakfast are less likely to be truant or late for school. And these children are less likely to be overweight or obese.

During this week, schools will be promoting the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. Help spread the word to students and their families that the school breakfast program is an important step towards good health and good grades.

NJPHK Serves Up “Best Practices” for YMCAs

Frost_Valley_KitchenNew Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids’ (NJPHK) systemic approach to healthy living through access to healthy food, school wellness and physical activity is providing a roadmap for YMCAs.

Vicky Williams, senior program director of the Frost Valley YMCA Camp, conferred with NJPHK Deputy Director Darrin Anderson when Frost Valley was seeking –and later won — a $50,000 grant from the National Recreation Foundation. The grant enabled Frost Valley to pilot a wellness initiative, focused on nutrition and physical activity, at its camp in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

Shannon O’Connor, food access coordinator at NJPHK-Trenton, took a sabbatical from NJPHK to spend three months at Frost Valley. She implemented the wellness summer curriculum and helped the YMCA transition into its fall education program by training instructors to run healthy cooking classes.

The program went so well that Frost Valley received a two-year grant, with 75 percent more funding, to expand the pilot and fully integrate wellness into camp activities year-round.

O’Connor said her work at Frost Valley was an “opportunity to put into play the work our partners have been doing in Trenton. We wanted to show campers how they could carry their healthy experience at camp back home and keep eating healthy foods and being active.”

Nutrition education and diabetes prevention was the focus of program. Frost Valley built a full teaching kitchen with 15 stations equipped with home cooking; type stoves and equipment, not an industrial kitchen. “It was important that the kids learn to cook in a kitchen that looked like their house or apartment. It helped them feel at home and comfortable,” said O’Connor.

“By making food prep fun, kids acquire living skills that will stay with them after camp. We want the kids to bring these easy, quick-to-make, nutritious meals home to begin living a healthier life,” said O’Connor.

The camp held six classes each day, and added eight evening programs because interest was so high. Each class could accommodate up to 20 campers. The oldest boys did an Iron Chef healthy cook-off challenge. Wellness was incorporated across camp activities. For example, the theater stage craft team came to the kitchen to construct healthy gingerbread houses out of matzo crackers and fruit.

An Adventure Village Challenge was the prime physical activity. O’Connor and five teens did a four-day hike in the backwoods. All other campers were challenged to match that with a physical feat of their own. “The kids did everything from a 15-minute walk to jogging up the mountain in record time. Over 200 staff and campers took part in the challenges,” said O’Connor.

“Everything I helped to do at Frost Valley was based on our NJPHK strategy,” said O’Connor. Frost Valley is now creating a curriculum guide based on the summer pilot and presenting it at YMCA conferences to incorporate into other Y programs. “It’s great to know that the NJPHK strategy will influence healthy lives at home and at camps for children and their families well beyond the reach of our Trenton community.”

YMCA 7th Grade Initiative Changes One Life at a Time

basketball_team73468234Through its 7th Grade Initiative, the YMCA provides membership to interested 7th graders for a year. It’s a chance for 7th graders to benefit from YMCA programming at a critical time in a young person’s life.

Thomas Galuppo, Director of Healthy Living at the Gateway Family YMCA Five Points Branch in Union, NJ, recently shared a story about the impact of the 7th Grade Initiative on the life of one young man.

Galuppo met 7th grader Kenny Noncent, when he visited Kawameeh Middle School to talk about the 7th Grade Initiative. After the talk, Kenny came to the Y with his mother and enrolled in the program. His mother said she wanted Kenny to get out more and not just sit around the house. It worked — Kenny became a very familiar face at The Five Points Branch.

Kenny grew to love basketball and would shoot nonstop. Through the Y’s Teen Basketball Skills and Drills class, Kenny improved his skills and prepared to try out for his middle school team. The YMCA coaches took Kenny under their wing because of his passion and potential.

Kenny practiced countless hours up until the day of his first tryout. But at tryouts, he missed the cut and did not make his school team. It was frustrating for Kenny to not achieve the results he hoped for after working so hard.

As it turned out, there was a Y team in need of Kenny’s skills. Galuppo was building Gateway’s first ever Youth Basketball Association (YBA) basketball team to compete in the YMCA league, and he needed of one more player. Kenny filled the final spot.

Kenny became one of the leading scorers throughout the season. He gained more and more confidence on and off the court. The team made it all the way to the Final four in the March Madness YBA Tournament at the Wyckoff YMCA.

Fast forward one year: Kenny is now a starter on his middle school team. Galuppo believes that without the 7th Grade Initiative Kenny would not be where he is today. “I feel that just walking through the YMCA’s doors changed his life and was able to propel him to become a better basketball player as well as overall person,” said Galuppo. “The 7th Grade Initiative gives kids a chance to better themselves here at the YMCA and Kenny took full advantage of it.”

Trenton Schools Adopt Wellness Policy

166272215The Trenton Board of Education passed the District Wellness Policy on January 20, 2015.

This critical achievement is the culmination of many months of research, hard work and collaboration on the part of the Board of Education, NJPHK-Trenton staff and partners and wellness champions in the Trenton schools.

Marissa Davis, NJPHK-Trenton project manager said, “This is a step in the right direction, but by no means is the work over. Awareness, implementation and monitoring are in order to truly bring a culture of health and wellness to Trenton’s students and district staff. I am very excited to have the support of the Trenton Board of Education and that of the Family and Community Engagement department as we move this policy forward.”

The wellness policy addresses nutrition and physical activity and applies to all Trenton public schools. The policy provides guidelines governing the nutritional quality of foods and beverages sold and served on campuses and for school celebrations and school-sponsored events. Physical activity will be integrated into classroom and afterschool programs. The policy includes a Safe Routes to School provision, with the school district committing to assessing and, if necessary, making improvements to make it easier for students to walk and bike to school.

A District Wellness Council, with each school represented by one member, will oversee execution of the policy.

The next steps include the Culture of Health survey distributed to all district schools and creation of a Wellness Room in Joyce Kilmer Middle School.

Farewell, Dr. A.

photoIn December, Dr. Nwando Anyaoku, co-director of New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Newark (NJPHK-N), started a new chapter of her life as medical director for Pediatric Medicine CHI Health System Alegent Creighton Clinic in Omaha, Nebraska.

In her new role, Dr. Anyaoku will develop and direct a network of pediatric primary care and urgent care centers across the Omaha metropolitan area.

“She was a tireless champion for the prevention of childhood obesity in Newark,” said Courtney Price, NJPHK-N project manager. “We are happy for her new venture, but she will be missed.”

Dr. A, as she is known, was director of General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital/Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. She signed on as co-director of NJPHK-N in 2009 attracted by the Robert Wood Johnson philosophy of focusing on policy and environmental change. In that capacity, she spearheaded Let’s Move! in the Clinic, leading training sessions for clinics, practices and physicians. She also was an advisor to the Nestle Nutrition program in Newark Family Success Centers.

“She invested in the children of Newark— all ages, races and ethnicities. As a physician and recognized expert, she brought authority and passion to her work that left an imprint,” said Price. “She created a foundation that we will continue to build upon.”

Meet Shana Jarvis, NJPHK-Camden Project Manager

SJarvisShana Jarvis has a lot on her plate: a new position as project manager for New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Camden (NJPHK-C), a new baby, plus classes at Temple University where she’s pursuing a master’s degree in the School of Health Education.

While some people might feel overwhelmed, Jarvis feels energized.

“I am so excited to be taking on a leadership role with NJPHK-C. The partnership has come a long way in Camden. So much progress has occurred under the leadership of Valeria Galarza, who was recently promoted to vice president of strategic expansion for YMCA of Burlington and Camden Counties. I look forward to connecting with the work being done and continuing the forward momentum,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis has been with the YMCA of Burlington & Camden Counties since October 2013 as director of Public Health Programs. She managed the Campbell Healthy Communities CATCH program, Watershed Exercise on Bicycles (WEB) and Safe Places to Play initiative — all focused on getting kids physically active through exercise and fun activity.

A Philadelphia native, Jarvis always wanted to work with youth. She was a summer camp and afterschool counselor. “I wanted a career that allowed me to have a positive impact on children.” As an undergraduate at Temple University, she considered nursing and teaching, before looking into public health at the advice of a college advisor. “Public health was a great fit for my interests, combining health and nutrition, working with children; and teaching, advocating and leading programs to support healthy kids.”

While in college, she interned with The Food Trust in Philadelphia and then joined them full-time upon graduation. As a member of Eat Right Now—a nutrition education team—she helped teachers integrate nutrition education into their classrooms. She later led the Recreation Center Nutrition Education program, working with the City Parks & Recreation department to develop nutrition education and healthy cooking programs for afterschool programs and summer camps.

When The Food Trust received a grant from Campbell Soup to work on Healthy Communities, Jarvis crossed the Delaware to help develop a comprehensive nutrition education program in Camden. She found that experience most inspiring. “Starting a new program in a new city from the ground up gave me the chance to be deeply involved. From establishing new relationships, to developing curricula and evaluation methods, building and shaping something from the beginning has been a great experience,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis is passionate about Camden and the community. She looks forward to strengthening relationships and continuing NJPHK-C’s work in a sustainable and strategic way. “It’s an exciting time for the city. I’m glad to be a part of making life healthier for Camden’s residents.”

New Jersey Healthy Communities Network: A Comcast Newsmakers interview

Jill Horner speaks with Bill Lovett, Executive Director of the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance, about the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.

Leuze named “Healthy Kids Champion”

Published in the Star Ledger/NJ.com

Marguerite Leuze, special assistant for health services and nursing for the Newark Public Schools Office of Health Services, has received the “Healthy Kids Champion” award from the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Leuze received the award for her “dedicated and focused commitment to the children in the city of Newark especially those who are underserved and less privileged.” She was one of six community leaders honored for their commitment and contributions in the NJPHK-targeted communities of Newark, Camden, New Brunswick, Trenton and Vineland.

“It’s an honor to present the Healthy Kids Champion award to Dr. Leuze for her tireless advocacy and commitment to providing the specialized care she does in Newark,” said Darrin Anderson, deputy director of NJPHK.

“I feel privileged to have had the opportunity over the years to be able to make a difference in the Newark community,” said Leuze, who was honored Dec. 3 at the Building Healthy, Equitable Communities Conference in Edison, a day long conference on building healthier communities which was attended by more than 300 community leaders, dietitians, teachers, school nurses and social workers.

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