- $36,625 from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Grant
- Innovative programming to get kids active and families healthy
- Active recess, healthy vending, community garden grants, training for community volunteers, support for preschool wellness education
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Arlington County Board today accepted a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth that will help continue the County’s innovative FitArlington programs.
This is the second year of a two-year grant to the Healthy Community Action Team, (HCAT), a coalition that includes Arlington’s Department of Parks and Recreation, other County departments and agencies and other local partners in an effort to combat childhood obesity and promote healthy living. The funding will be used to fund existing programs and new ones, including training more master gardeners and master food volunteers and providing preschool curriculum about healthy eating and active living.
“Starting off in preschool, kids in Arlington are getting extra encouragement and guidance on ways to be active and eat well,” said Arlington County Board Chairman J. Walter Tejada. “We’re putting healthier options in our vending machines and helping to develop community gardens in affordable housing units and other non-traditional public and private spaces. It’s all part of my goal for Moving Forward Together.”
The state grant will help continue to fund community gardens, healthy vending, child care policy and systems and active recess. Second year funds will also go to develop new programs that include gardening and nutrition training for community volunteers, and healthy eating and active living curriculum kits for preschool. The goal is to develop policy, systems and environmental changes that support increases: in physical activity, in access and interest in nutritious foods and in capacity to solve the childhood obesity epidemic.
The Board voted unanimously to authorize the County Manager to execute the grant agreement, and voted unanimously to appropriate the funds.
To read the staff report on this item, visit the County website. Scroll down to Item #29 on the Saturday, July 13, 2013 Regular County Board Meeting Agenda.
FitArlington is the County’s umbrella initiative for a myriad of programs aimed at developing a Culture of Fitness in Arlington, including the healthy Community Action Team. The County has developed the programs with the goal of encouraging Arlington youth to be healthy and fit.
- Active Recess – Recess has gotten more fun at Abington and Hoffman Boston Elementary Schools, the first two Arlington schools who benefited from Active Recess grant funding. The program provides age appropriate recess bags filled with equipment. This second year grant funding will bring the program to additional Arlington County elementary schools with pavement markings and materials to keep kids active during recess.
- Healthy Vending — In 2010, Arlington County developed guidelines to improve the quality of foods in our vending machines. Now it is rolling out FitArlington branded vending machines that provide nutrition information for each user, with limits on calories, fat and saturated fats of products for sale. Over the summer, new machines are being installed in County Community Centers. Arlington’s healthy vending efforts are being benchmarked by other communities and were recognized recently at the “Weight of the State” conference in Richmond.
- Community Garden Grants – The County has awarded four grants this year to develop additional community gardens. The grants went to Faith Lutheran Church, Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ, Westover Library, and Arlington Food Assistance Center (garden is at American Legion Post #139). The Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Master Food Volunteers provide free nutrition training to the community, focusing on community garden sites. This year’s funding will be used to expand training to community volunteers in Master Gardener and Master Food Volunteer programs to expand their capacity to support residents.
- Supporting kids in action
Arlington County’s goal is for all County out-of-school programs to include opportunities for kids to get active, eat healthy foods and learn how to make healthy living a part of their life. Second year funds will expand the County’s wellness education efforts in preschools. The County used the first year of state funding to train more than 225 staff, including those who work in out-of-school programs for the Department of Parks and Recreation, Arlington Public Schools Extended Day program, YMCA, Greenbrier Learning Center and AHC, Inc. to engage kids in physical activity.
About the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth
Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1999, the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth is responsible for statewide efforts to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use and childhood obesity. Funding and training provided by VFHY through its Healthy Communities Action Teams allow community organizations to implement identified promising practices in childhood-obesity prevention suggested by the national Institute of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.