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New Partners Take We Can!™ to the Next Level

It’s been a productive summer and early fall for our newest partners, who hit the ground running with the following We Can!-related activities:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
Although HRSA officially became a We Can! partner on September 23, it was working with us long before then. Following an important conference of its grantees in June—during which We Can! was profiled—HRSA officials sent two e-mail announcements to its network of community health centers, encouraging them to adopt We Can! The promotion resulted in 116 centers signing up to become new We Can! community sites over the course of the summer.

UPMC Health Plan
UPMC Health Plan has provided financial assistance to the HEALTHY Armstrong program, a county-wide, school-based wellness initiative in Armstrong County, PA, that works to prevent childhood obesity. HEALTHY stands for Healthy Eating and Active Lifestyles Together Helping Youth. This program utilizes the We Can! curriculum in its efforts to keep kids healthy. The HEALTHY Armstrong initiative sets guiding principles at the county level, and seven school wellness committees — one for each elementary school in the Armstrong School District — are now operating within the program’s framework.

HEALTHY Armstrong had fresh fruits, veggies, and other nutritious food choices on their minds when they reached out to several grocery stores in the county as part of its Healthy Recipe of the Week campaign. This community-wide activity helps residents understand the importance of proper food choices, nutritional content, and portion control. This event runs from October 2008 through June 2009. HEALTHY Armstrong worked with the grocery stores to prominently display nutritious recipes along with the ingredients. By making a different healthy recipe every week, shoppers will learn that healthy food can also be tasty food. And good tasting healthy food is a great way to reinforce how easy it is to make important and nutritious food choices.

Spearheading the HEALTHY Armstrong initiative are program partners Armstrong School District, ACMH Hospital, ACMH Foundation, Children’s Community Pediatrics–Armstrong, County of Armstrong, and UPMC Health Plan. Additional partners include community groups, such as Rails to Trails, Belmont Sports Complex, and the Greater Armstrong County YMCA. Through the collective efforts of these partners, Armstrong County was designated as the nation’s first We Can! County.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC-DASH)
Step aside, High School Musical! The We Can! program is singing about an important first—partnering with CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC-DASH) to reach teens and other adolescents. The division has agreed to distribute We Can! information and resources through its vast national network of school-serving organizations. In addition, the Roswell (GA) Recreation and Parks Department—an active We Can! City and founding intensive site since 2005—will be presenting its We Can! experiences to senior CDC-DASH leaders on October 28. We’ll let you know what happens in our next update.

Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)
When you think of a place devoted to health and fitness, a gym might be your first thought. But if you read the last e-newsletter, you know that the Association of Children’s Museums—of which CMOM is a member—is an active We Can! partner. Like its compatriots, CMOM seeks ways to serve children and families in at-risk populations through partnerships with community-based organizations, schools, and libraries.

CMOM recently launched a "Healthy Lifestyles" series, which includes demonstrations and hands-on projects and incorporates key We Can! messages. The program is designed to show students how hard their bodies work to keep them healthy, and why it’s important to make smart choices when it comes to eating and physical activity.

U.S. Department of Interior Fish & Wildlife Service & National Park Service
June 14 was National Get Outdoors Day, a day created to show children and "first-timers" the benefits of outdoor recreation and activities. Since this message dovetails with the We Can! mission, We Can! joined up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to celebrate Father’s Day the following day (June 15). The goal was to encourage kids to give their dads the gift of good health by going with them to a nearby national park or national wildlife refuge.


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