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Keeping Kids Healthy & Ready for School

by Charlotte J. Nash, Chairman  //  Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners

It’s been a busy summer in Gwinnett County parks with more than 7,000 campers attending hundreds of different summer camp programs. Before school starts again on August 5, my thoughts are on what we’re doing to help keep kids healthy and well over the summer.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Live Healthy Gwinnett initiative run by our Community Services department.

In those five years, they’ve teamed up with 145 outside agencies and groups to put on 787 programs and events that drew almost 24,000 participants in addition to 18,500 summer campers.

The goal is to promote healthy, active lifestyles – and how better to do that than in our nationally recognized parks and recreation facilities right here in Gwinnett?

A new program this summer provided free lunches and healthy snacks for summer campers and others through the USDA Summer Food Service Program at no cost to the County.

Other efforts include the Be Active Gwinnett mobile recreation truck that brings sports and physical activities to underserved communities. Harvest Gwinnett – the newest offshoot – is building community gardens where volunteers are growing healthy food in County parks, starting at Rhodes Jordan Park in Lawrenceville.

So far this year, 182 volunteers have put in more than 700 hours to run 51 programs and events with 4,544 participants and 30 partners.

Live Healthy Gwinnett also sponsors free community health fairs like the one at Bogan Park on July 27, which is combined with a Back to School Bash. Details on that and other events are online at www.livehealthygwinnett.com.

In June, Live Healthy Gwinnett attracted more national attention when the National Recreation and Park Association awarded its Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Equity to Tina Fleming, community services director, and Lindsay Jorstad, outreach manager. The well-deserved award honored them for implementing “a systems change approach to reduce health disparities in his/her community within the past two years.” The foundation seeks to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to live in healthy environments.

Summer is the perfect time to make a plan as a family to be active, eat healthy, get checked and be positive and commit to keeping up your good habits year-round. To your health!