The "Capital of the South" Becomes 21st We Can!® City
Posted June 14‚ 2010
Atlanta, GA, added some fuel to the We Can! fire this spring by joining 20 other municipalities across the country that have committed to the We Can! City/County program.
With two We Can! Cities and Counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area—and eight total in Georgia—it only made sense that the Peach state's most populous city should join the movement to help keep its children at a healthy weight through We Can!.
By joining the We Can! City program, Atlanta's mayor has committed to bring the
We Can! core messages—improving food choices, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time—to parents, caregivers, and youth through a series of events and programs in the local community. City employees will also receive tips and information about We Can!'s messages.
The official announcement was made at the 5th Annual Children's Nutrition Education and Physical Activity Expo on March 27, 2010, and it was covered by multiple media outlets including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta INTown, Around Town, Atlanta Parent, Enliven Atlanta, and on WSB–Channel 2 TV.
The Atlanta City Council also proclaimed March 27, 2010, as Childhood Obesity Awareness Day, to some 2,000 attendees including children.
"We had some 200 children from Atlanta public schools acting as Wellness Ambassadors, working with other children to help them with the different interactive fitness activities, exhibitions, mini-workshops, and free health screenings at the event," said Vanetta Keyes, founder and executive director of the Center for Helping Obesity in Children End Successfully, Inc. (C.H.O.I.C.E.S.), a We Can! community site. "When we showed families the GO, SLOW, WHOA foods chart, even some of the adults realized they were not making the best choices."
Keyes reports that this chart, the parent brochure, and the tip sheet on sugar and calories in drinks are all extremely popular We Can! materials when her organization attends the approximately 25 wellness fairs in the area every year.
Keyes and her team first heard about We Can! in 2006. C.H.O.I.C.E.S Program Director Kenya Heard brought We Can! program materials home with her after attending a workshop on it in September 2006, in Bethesda, MD.
"We were so impressed that we immediately took steps to become a community site," said Heard.
They report great success using We Can! materials, and are excited that the program and lessons learned will be shared with an even greater number of people now that Atlanta has taken on the We Can! banner.