Department of Health Promotes Healthy Living through Mini-Grant Awards

May 30, 2013, 15:40 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Health

HARRISBURG, Pa., May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thirty schools and community-based groups are set to receive mini-grants supporting activities and initiatives that will promote healthy lifestyles.

The Department of Health is delivering the mini-grants in collaboration with the Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center as part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program.

A federal initiative, jointly administered in the state by the departments of transportation and health, SRTS helps to enable and encourage students, including those with disabilities, to walk or bicycle to school while creating safer routes for commuting.

"The administration's goal of a healthier Pennsylvania starts with our children," Secretary of Health Michael Wolf said. "While we encourage all Pennsylvanians to be more physically active, we know the importance of instilling healthy habits in our children, as they are more likely to become healthy adults."

The nearly $90,000 in total funding will be used in the development, coordination and administration of the SRTS program, as well as providing assistance to awardees to complete a school health assessment, as well as develop internal policies and programing that will influence the entire school/community environment to adopt healthier behaviors.   

SRTS mini-grants were available to schools in Pennsylvania that include grades K-8 for programs such as:

  • A walking school bus, which is a group of children walking to school with one or more adults;
  • A block parenting program and a safe walking educational program; and
  • A bike education program that consists of classroom curriculum, school assemblies, community education seminars and a bike rodeo.

Mini-grants to encourage healthy behaviors as it relates to nutrition and physical activity were also available to schools and community-based organizations that include grades K-12 to increase physical activity opportunities. These programs include, but are not limited to:

  • A family and community fitness program that will open to the public after school and in the evening, including a fitness and nutrition education component, goal setting, daily tracking, and measuring results;
  • Programs featuring community recognized personalities that will motivate kids to exercise more, eat properly, avoid tobacco and learn team-building skills; and
  • A bike share program to allow families to sign out bikes for travel to school and work and during the evening and weekends.

"Since one in three American children is overweight or obese, implementing programs to increase physical activity has never been more important," Donna Kephart, executive director at Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center, said.  "We are happy to partner with the Pennsylvania Department of Health in this way, and look forward to seeing the funded programs put into place."

The applicants, from 25 different areas in Pennsylvania, will be awarded funding from the Department of Health through the Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Media contact: Kait Gillis, 717-787-1783

Editor's Note:

About Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center
Penn State Hershey PRO Wellness Center (formerly Penn State Hershey Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion) is committed to educating and inspiring youth and their families to eat well, engage in regular physical activity, and become champions for healthy choices for life. Its approach of prevention, research and outreach provides schools, communities and like-minded organizations with educational programs, collaborative partnerships and access to proven wellness interventions.

Mini-Grant Recipients:

  • Bald Eagle Area Middle School, Wingate
  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Pa, Harrisburg
  • Cambria Elementary School, Ebensburg
  • Delaware Valley Charter High School, Philadelphia
  • Forest Hills Elementary School, Sidman
  • Fort Cherry Elementary Center, McDonald
  • Harlan Rowe Middle School, Athens
  • Hatfield Elementary School, Hatfield
  • Henry Houck Elementary School, Lebanon
  • Hickory Grove Elementary, Brookville
  • Homer-Center High School, Homer City
  • Howard Elementary School, Howard
  • John B. Kelly Elementary School, Philadelphia
  • Juniata Valley Elementary School and Juniata Valley High School, Alexandria
  • J. W. Price Elementary School, Lancaster
  • Lincoln Charter School, York
  • Millersburg High School and Millersburg Area Middle School, Millersburg
  • Mountain Top Area Elementary School, Snow Shoe
  • New Foundations Charter High School, Philadelphia
  • Northern Lebanon Middle School, Fredericksburg
  • Nye Elementary School, Hummelstown
  • Palisades Middle School, Kintnersville
  • Park Forest Elementary School, State College
  • Penns Manor Area Junior Senior High School, Clymer
  • Port Matilda Elementary School, Port Matilda
  • School District of Philadelphia (Francis E. Willard School, Edwin M. Stanton School, Stephen Girard School, Southwark School), Philadelphia
  • Tussey Mountain Jr./Sr. High School, Saxton
  • United Junior Senior High School, Armagh
  • Wingate Elementary School, Wingate

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health