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Savannah Site Hits Home Run for We Can!™ & Health

July 18, 2009

The Coastal Health District in Savannah, GA, signed up as a general community site little more than a year ago but has already rounded all the bases to score a big win for We Can! site leaders convinced city leaders to make Savannah a We Can! City, and on June 13, 2009, Savannah became the 15th city to join our ranks.

Dr. Weems presents the We Can! City sign in Savannah

“The Coastal Health District’s mission is to assure conditions in which people can be healthy, and to provide leadership in the prevention of disease and injury,” said Cristina Gibson, MPH, director, Health Promotion & Disease Prevention with the Coastal Health District. “That’s why we were delighted to discover We Can!. We became a site in January 2008 and encouraged our city leaders and the Healthy Savannah Initiative to go the extra inning by becoming a We Can! City.”

Kids in Savannah play baseball with the Sand Gnats

As you’ve probably figured out by the photos and the baseball terminology, Gibson and her team scored this home run and then officially launched it in the home stadium of the Savannah Sand Gnats. A few days before the actual launch, Savannah Mayor Otis Johnson was joined by several other notables, including Dr. Diane Weems, the Chief Medical Officer of the Chatham County Health Department, members of Healthy Savannah, and other community partners involved in implementing the Media-Smart Youth® and We Can! parent programs in issuing a proclamation declaring June 13th "We Can! Day."

The Savannah Sand Gnats’ team mascot Gnate the Gnat and his minor leaguers rolled out the program in style on We Can! Day, after an announcement was made on a local radio station about the new We Can! status. They led local youngsters through an “official” Sand Gnats warm up to encourage and inspire physical activity. Meanwhile, in front of the stadium, fans were hula-hooping.

A child in Savannah hula hoops on We Can! Day

The hula-hooping was part of a creative new way to introduce kids to physical activities that they can do at home, called portable “We Can! Community Field Days,” and is a program through which youth-serving organizations can borrow bins full of balls, hula-hoops, jump ropes, and other items to get kids up and moving.

The stadium wasn’t the only hot-bed of activity on June 13. The city launched the first of a series of We Can! parent program classes at the Forsyth Farmers’ Market. Classes will run every second Saturday of the month for the next six months, as part of the market’s Health Pavilion.

Lastly, Savannah has officially received and will soon be displaying its We Can! City road sign. We look forward to having our newest city display it as it hits the road to help We Can! knock its messaging out of the ballpark.

We Can! and the We Can! logo are trademarks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS).

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