Lisa’s focus on childhood obesity began in 2007 as a manager for the “STEPS for Kids” program funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. STEPS targeted students, aged 8-12, who were overweight. The children and their families participated together during the 12-week course.
Through STEPS Lisa met a 12-year-old boy that the school nurse had referred to the program. While measuring the young man’s waist during pre-testing, she realized that her 60-inch tape measure wasn’t going to be long enough, as his waist was 62 inches. After measuring, he looked at her and asked, “Can you help me?” She immediately responded, “Yes,” without knowing how she was going to do so. What she did know was that it was a much bigger problem than one class could solve.
“At that moment I knew I had to change my delivery and fitness philosophy assisting families going through this challenge,” said Scheetz, “and truly leverage the Mind-Body-Spirit approach taught by the Y. Instead of focusing on fitness as I usually did, I knew I need to focus on building self-esteem and meeting the children and their families where they were in the change process, personalizing the classes for the each family. That approach changed everything.”
While the STEPS program ended in 2010, the perfect segue for Lisa was to get involved with NJPHK. Scheetz, chief operating officer for the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, was instrumental in providing technical assistance to the state’s YMCAs by securing a $2 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that helped to create the Partnership. The purpose of the funding was to establish community coalitions in five target communities to reverse childhood obesity through policy and environmental change by 2015, and provide the means for a statewide health initiative for the YMCAs in New Jersey.
Lisa holds a Master of Science degree in Human Service Administration from Springfield College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Delaware Valley College. She’s worked at the YMCA for more than 25 years – the last 14 in Vineland – and is thrilled to be part of an organization that’s the catalyst behind policy and environmental changes helping create the healthier lifestyles that New Jersey’s kids and families so desperately need.SHARE: