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Gimme Five: Sharon Tripp



Name: Sharon Tripp
Title: Executive Director
Organization: Organized Parents Make a Difference, Inc. (OPMAD) Leader Sharon Tripp has watched Organized Parents Make a Difference, Inc. grow since she joined OPMAD in 2002. OPMAD was founded in 1992 by eight parents who were concerned about the lack of safe before and after-school programs in the Hartford Connecticut area. Today, they serve children at four different schools in Hartford, and provide safe before and after-school programs, breakfast and supper, and a literacy-based program for students from Pre-Kindergarten to 8th grade. 

What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?

I never specifically meant to work on childhood obesity issues. I was always very interested in the overall welfare of children, which I think is one reason I ended up here. My priority is that kids need to be active and safe.  

How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?

OPMAD has partnered with 4-H and other agencies to teach the kids about healthy nutrition. We also offer healthy meals through the schools before and after school as well as physical activity opportunities in our program. 

What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?

I think our biggest accomplishment is that we can offer an affordable, safe place for kids where they can be active, before and after school while their families are working. We serve low-income families. If we weren't able to serve these kids, they wouldn't have a healthy and safe place to be. It also allows the parents to work without wondering what their kids are doing or if they are safe before and after school. 

What do you look forward to most about your job?

My motivation comes from my love for my job. I love that the decisions that my staff and I make every day directly affect families and children. I think that many people don’t feel like they make a difference doing their jobs. I never feel that way. I feel like I make a difference every day. 

What healthy snacks did you enjoy growing up? 

 I have always loved apple with peanut butter. It’s my favorite snack. 

Each week, our own Amy Stone speaks with a Leader to get a quick look at why he or she loves working to create healthy environments for kids. Want to take part? Visit Amy's profile and contact her.