We Can!® Community Sites in Action
We Can! Across the Country
A total of 1,408 Community Sites have signed up for We Can! in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, and 12 other countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Fiji, Greece, India, Israel, Nigeria, the Philippines, Spain, and Uganda (142 Intensive Sites, 1,237 General Sites, and 29 We Can! Cities/Counties).
See a map of We Can! community sites by state and find a site near you to participate in their We Can! programs.
The We Can!® Hollywood Premiere
It was an event worthy of a red carpet. This spring, five hundred youth, parents, and
caregivers attended We Can!'s family-friendly premiere in Hollywood—Hollywood, Florida, that is. The setting was a sunny April morning at the YMCA of Greater Hollywood's Healthy Kids Day. We Can! star, community site leader, and health and fitness enthusiast, Veronica Tomor, seized the opportunity of the existing event to present We Can! to local residents.
"The YMCA's Healthy Kids Day is very much in line with the goals of the We Can! program," said Tomor, who alongside her 10-year-old son, ran a We Can! booth at the four hour-long event. "I saw it as a great opportunity to introduce the program."
At the booth, Tomor and her son displayed We Can! posters and curricula, distributed various We Can! materials and resources, and fielded questions from interested parents and kids.
"This is something that I want to champion," said Tomor, who before she began We Can! three years ago, was leading several different health and fitness initiatives. "It is amazing how We Can! gets people talking, and how connecting with people in your community creates great opportunities."
New We Can! City Works With Partners to Change Local Food Policy
In 2007, 100 public health professionals, nutritionists, teachers, and pediatricians convened at the Southeast Georgia Childhood Obesity Taskforce with one goal in mind: to plan ways the community could help children and adults adopt healthy eating and physical activity habits.
The result of the meeting was the creation of a coalition, named Satilla KIDS, which meets regularly to raise awareness for the issue of childhood obesity and the importance of healthy lifestyles in the area. Through local partnerships, events, and now We Can!, Satilla KIDS is helping to ensure families and community residents receive messages, resources, and education on how to maintain a healthy weight.
Since joining the We Can! County program in May 2010, Satilla KIDS and their local partners are making significant strides in the community, including changing policy around what is served to kids at the YMCA's afterschool and childcare programs. "In my opinion, this is the most important thing we have done so far," said Gail Seifert, Executive Director of the Satilla Health Foundation.
The policy change ensures that children are served nutritious meals and snacks of a quantity and quality to meet their daily nutritional needs. For example, breakfast served to youth must consist of at least three different food groups; lunch and dinner must consist of four different food groups; and snacks must consist of at least two different food groups. In addition to influencing local nutritional policy, Satilla KIDS is also involved in We Can! events and curricula. The organization kicked off its involvement in We Can! with the YMCA's Healthy Kids Day, where Satilla hosted We Can! games and offered activities such as Zumba®, basketball, and a hula hoop contest, to the 200-plus attendees.
Satilla KIDS is also collaborating with the local school district to work with third graders on the importance of We Can!'s three core behavior goals: eating healthy, staying active, and reducing screen time. However, students are not the only crowd Satilla is targeting in the schools! The organization is also sending information—for parents and caregivers—home with the kids, including letters with information on
how to keep their kids healthy, information on the We Can! program, and a link to the We Can! website.
The Empire State Scales New Heights to Serve Up We Can! Fun
Josy Delaney travels to events throughout her community with the typical materials: a folder of We Can! handouts, a We Can! display board, and an enthusiastic attitude. However, her most essential, and popular, event item is not so common.
The Community Wellness Specialist at Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, NY, uses We Can!-branded spaghetti servers to entice and educate event participants on the We Can! program. Additionally, Delaney uses the servers to demonstrate the standard serving size of pasta.
Delaney joined the We Can! cadre of community sites in July 2009, and has since kept busy planning events around We Can!'s three core messages (eating healthy, staying active, and reducing screen time), and promoting We Can! at various other community events and even places in between! From family fitness days, to farmers' markets, the county fair, and even Senior Action Council meetings, Delaney is focused on promoting health and reaching people of all ages.
This past year, Delaney partnered with several community organizations, including the Malone Central School District, the YMCA of Greater Malone, the Cornell Cooperative Extension's Eat Smart NY program, and a local foods program to host two community events that focused on physical activity, nutrition, and overall health. These events were held at a local high school and the local YMCA in November 2009 and April 2010, respectively, and each attracted more than 200 people.
"I knew the events were a huge success when I saw a six-year-old boy turn to his dad and say 'This was the best day of my entire life,'" said Delaney.
We Can! Community Site Breakdown
Demonstrating program flexibility, adaptability and value, We Can! sites represent a diversity of implementation settings, from schools and park and recreation departments to hospitals, health systems and public health departments
(12 different settings in total).
- Hospitals, Health Systems, and Health Providers: 24%
- Community–Based Organizations: 20%
- Schools and School Systems: 15%
- Obesity and Health Coalitions: 7%
- Health Deptartments: 6%
- Fitness and Wellness Centers: 6%
- Faith-Based Organizations: 4%
- Parks and Recreation Departments: 4%
- Private Companies: 3%
- Extensions: 2%
- Universities: 2%
- Other: 7%