Roswell and Athens-Clarke County, Georgia
The City of Roswell Recreation and Parks Department and Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services participated in a joint effort as a We Can!™ Intensive Site State Team. Roswell, a former Hearts N’ Parks Magnet Site, was excited to work with NHLBI again as a We Can! Intensive Site.
This site provided program implementation and outreach to elementary schools, recreation departments across the state, and the YMCA with all three youth curricula: CATCH, Media-Smart Youth, and S.M.A.R.T. This site also conducted outreach to diverse audiences and tailored sessions and materials to meet the cultural needs of its audiences, including the development of Spanish-language materials.
Roswell and Athens built on existing partnerships and extended their programming needs to support the We Can! program with incentives, funding, participant recruitment, and production support for the curricula. Working through the schools opened the most doors to the community and coordinating community events.
The site’s community events included community health fairs and local parades and special events tied to the schools. “The [program] was very well planned out. I feel like we really made the kids aware during our time with them to get out and get healthy.”
Key Site Successes
Roswell/Athens incorporated We Can! into five community events that ranged in audience size from 300 to 5,000 participants. These included -
Media outreach included TV coverage of the “End of Summer Celebration” on RCTV, the local government television station.
A print press release about the 55th Annual Youth Day Parade was featured in The Roswell Neighbor. Roswell also worked to get an article placed with the Georgia Recreation and Parks state magazine.
Roswell/Athens worked with 10 partners to implement its We Can! programming and community events. Through its partnerships, the site was able to offer exciting prizes, such as bikes, to the youths enrolled in the curricula implementations.
The North Fulton Regional Hospital provided financial and staff support for the CATCH Curriculum food component. Athens Regional Hospital provided staff support at National Gymnastics Day to describe healthy nutrition alternatives, first aid, and athletic safety information. The Alpharetta YMCA provided staff support, recruitment, and facilities for implementing the CATCH Curriculum.
Subway® provided heart-healthy lunches for National Gymnastics Day participants and dinners for programs reaching parents. Crabapple Middle School provided staff support for the youth curricula implementations. Athens-Clarke County School District provided staff support and student materials for the youth curricula.
RCTV (Roswell City T.V. Production) provided Media-Smart Youth (MSY) program support and helped participants create a PSA. Publix, a grocery store, was used for the MSY field trip and provided the snacks for the program. City of Roswell Recreation and Parks Department provided staff to run and facilitate the MSY, CATCH, and Parent programming. The University of Georgia provided students and interns that served as CATCH facilitators.
We Can! Energize Our Families: Curriculum for Parents and Caregivers
Roswell and Athens tried multiple approaches and incentives to entice parents to participate in the program, but without success.
The site tried working with its partner, Subway®, to provide dinner and offered free, on-site daycare and babysitting, but that was not enough to provoke participation. They also attempted to conduct the program when parents were dropping off kids for Summer Gymnastics Programming in Roswell and to implement the curriculum at a low to moderate income recreation center in the evenings after parents got off work.
Roswell tried to implement in a Spanish setting, but could not afford the $500 cost of the translator services. No data were available for analysis.
CATCH Kids Club
CATCH was conducted at three elementary schools in Roswell and in an after-school setting with the Fourth Street Elementary School in Athens-Clarke County. The primary population spanned kids in a range of low to high socioeconomic status areas. The program had 60 participants, including 31 girls and 29 boys. In the elementary schools, CATCH was combined with Media-Smart Youth, and the site met with the kids two and a half hours a week, on Tuesdays. The time was split between the two programs.
For the CATCH program in Roswell, the children met three times a week in an after-school setting for an hour and a half. Each nutrition session was followed by either a healthy snack or an action break. The after-school facilitators extensively used the CATCH activity cards after making a few adaptations to meet the children’s needs. North Fulton Regional hospital was a big financial support in providing the healthy snacks each week to the children.
For the after-school program, a PE teacher implemented the CATCH program three times a week and made some adaptations to the program. The after-school program retained the games from CATCH in its program based on the kids’ interest.
An analysis of 54 respondent surveys found statistically significant increases in food attitudes: intentions to reduce fat and healthy eating behaviors: eating fruits and vegetables. At completion of CATCH, youths reported increased intention to limit intake of high-fat foods and were more often choosing a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
Although not statistically significant, the analysis also suggested positive movement on measures (food knowledge; healthy eating behaviors: eating fiber and reading labels; physical activity behaviors; and screen time behaviors: weekday TV viewing, weekend TV viewing, and weekday video gaming) related to We Can! objectives.
Media-Smart Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active!
The Roswell Recreation and Parks Department implemented Media-Smart Youth once in September 2005 at Crabapple Middle School.
The site brought in some radio personalities to work with the kids on their production. The site also incorporated the use of a local government channel (RCTV) to support the design and actually create the video with the students.
“This program had more appeal than the others and doing it for two hours at a time wasn’t enough time to do what we needed to do. We were definitely impressed with Media-Smart Youth. It was just an exciting venture and with the media component and the health initiative part of it.”
The big premiere included a red carpet event during school hours that was well-attended by parents, school officials, County Board of Commissioners, program sponsors, and city and county officials. Children really enjoyed the program and described it as an exciting venture combining the media component with the health initiative. The grocery store visit to Publix provided a hands-on approach and was well-received.
An analysis of seven respondent surveys found statistically significant increases in food attitudes and physical activity knowledge. Students reported increased knowledge of the benefits of physical activity and increased intention to add more fruits, vegetables, milk, and whole grains to their diet while decreasing added sugars and fat. The analysis also suggested positive movement toward a We Can! objective related to physical activity attitudes. This was not statistically significant.
Athens-Clarke county combined S.M.A.R.T. and CATCH into a two and a half hour session that met at an elementary school for 17 weeks.
“I credit the group up in Michigan [SMART trainer] for doing an outstanding job of creating a wonderful lesson plan and an easy implementation for the kids.”
The site brought in leisure services to introduce alternatives to television and video games, including natural resources to discuss animals and art opportunities. “It was helpful to give [the kids] an opportunity to talk about how their home life is, what’s happening, what’s keeping them from getting active. The hour was enough time.” No data were available for analysis.
Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services
705 Sunset Drive
Athens, Georgia 30606
Roswell Recreation and Parks Department
38 Hill Street, Suite 100
Roswell, Georgia 30075
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