Thank you, Pittsburgh, for giving residents and visitors safer streets for walking, biking, and increased physical activity!
In urban settings such as Trenton, N.J., it can be tough for residents to find the ingredients they need to craft healthy meals.
That’s why a group of young girls from the Trenton branch of the YMCA recently spent an afternoon showing fellow residents how to craft healthy and affordable dishes using ingredients found at their local bodega.
The girls teamed up with Chef Dave Nuss from the Children’s Aid Society of New York to prepare dishes such as canned fruit smoothies, cheese quesadillas and corn and bean salad outside of the Monchy convenience store on Aug. 23. The group then offered Monchy customers and passersby the opportunity to try the snacks.
“They used only ingredients that were found in Monchy. They had to be healthy,” says Marissa Davis, project manager for the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton. “I think the folks really liked the corn bean salad and the fruit smoothies.”
The eight girls who took part in the demonstration were all participants in a program called “Tweet 2 Eat,” which is run through the Women’s Fund of New Jersey. The program is designed to teach girls ages 11 to 15 how to advocate for health-related issues such as nutrition, including by using technology such as social media.
Throughout the course of the program, the girls learned about issues related to food justice such as how many communities lack access to fresh and affordable healthy food. They also were taught how to craft healthy meals and identify unhealthy products by doing things such as reading nutrition labels.
Their efforts culminated with the cooking demonstration outside Monchy. Although Chef Nuss helped the girls prepare the meals, the youngsters were the ones who made the decisions about what to serve, as they picked out what ingredients to use and bought them themselves, Davis says.
“All of the customers who were going in to Monchy or folks who just saw us on the corner… pulled over,” Davis recalls. “The girls talked about the importance of being healthy.”
Davis says that customers “loved” the dishes the girls helped create — and she noted that wasn’t the only honor the program received, either.
The New Jersey Legislature recently passed a joint resolution recognizing the Tweet 2 Eat program and Women’s Fund of New Jersey for their efforts to educate young people and the greater community about issues related to food justice, Davis says.
Two new complete streets and equity reports have been released and are the result of a project to study equity elements in complete streets policies, the characteristics of communities with equity elements in their policies, and to qualitatively understand how equity elements in complete streets policies are being implemented in practice. Learn more about the reports here.
Eight applicants have been awarded funds that will help young students walk, bike and roll safely to and from school.
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Leaders are people who are actively working - either professionally or as volunteers - to change policies and environments to help children eat better and be more active. We use the following criteria to evaluate whether to approve an applicant for Leader status with the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center.
Do you meet the criteria below? If so, register as a Leader here. There is no cost to be a Leader.
At least one item must be checked within each of the following two categories:
1. Applicant is focused on changing policies and environments
They are working on one of Voices for Healthy Kid's six issue areas:
Ensure foods and beverages in schools meet dietary guidelines
Expand community access to high quality food
Expand physical activity programs in and out of school
Improve built environment in communities to increase physical activity
Use pricing strategies to promote purchase of healthier foods
Use regulation/policy to reduce youth exposure to unhealthy food marketing
They are working on other obesity-related issues, such as:
Their primary focus is working on individual behavior (e.g., teaching kids about food, play, etc.), but they have access to organizations that could provide opportunities to change environments, such as
Public Health Agencies
Their project is commercial, but contributes positively to changing policies and environments, such as:
2. Applicant is organizing others or contributing to organizing efforts
They are organizing others by:
Providing volunteer opportunities
Building contact lists of supporters to engage in advocacy
They provide support to organizations or leaders doing work changing policies and environments, such as:
They are a leader in a governmental body that may be the target of organizing efforts to change policies and environments, such as a:
Federal or state agency
Mayor or other local executive office
Federal, state, county or local public health department
Federal, state, county or transportation department
Federal, state or local education agency or school board
If the applicant claims to work for an organization, at least one item must be checked below:
3. Applicant works for an organization:
Has an email address that matches the domain of the organization they list
Is listed on the organization website as staff
The Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center is looking for bloggers who can write about issues that matter to our community on a regular basis. If you would like to be considered for this network, please check this box.