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We Can!® City: Brunswick, Georgia


Commonly referred to as the "gateway to the golden isles," the coastal city of Brunswick, Georgia, is proving to be a gateway to healthy living. That's because this We Can! City is making sure that community members—and employees—have the opportunity to participate in a variety of community events, classes, and activities that focus on healthy eating, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time.

For more information on how Brunswick is using the We Can! program to help residents live healthier lives, click on the links below to jump to specific topics.

Key Successes

In August 2009, Brunswick became the third city in Georgia to join We Can!. Since then, Brunswick's embrace of the program has strengthened We Can!'s presence in Georgia's Coastal Health District, which now includes five We Can! Cities and Counties. This We Can! City has experienced great success with We Can! programming, community events, and local partnerships. In January 2010, Brunswick even hosted a We Can! regional training, which attracted approximately 60 attendees from Georgia, Florida, Massachusetts, and South Carolina.

It is Brunswick's involvement of city employees—local law enforcement, in particular—that makes this city's We Can! efforts exceptionally innovative. Brunswick police officers travel door–to–door throughout the community to invite residents to We Can!–themed events.

In addition to using uniformed officers to draw attention to the city's We Can! movement, Brunswick also enlists the help of local newspapers, radio stations, businesses, and organizations to promote the benefits of becoming more physically active, reducing screen time, and eating right. Health promotion coalitions, fitness centers, and local volunteer chapters all partner with Brunswick's We Can! program, and help to distribute information.

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The City of Brunswick hosts three classes for the Media–Smart Youth® program, two of which are part of the City of Brunswick's afterschool program at Howard Coffin Park and the Roosevelt Lawrence Community Center. Each class attracts approximately 10 youth for the 90–minute sessions.

A third class is conducted by members of The LINKS, Inc., a volunteer service organization that is committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans. The LINKS offers its We Can! classes to youth participating in the Boys and Girls Club of Brunswick.

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The City of Brunswick has several local partners that support We Can!, including the host site of Brunswick's We Can! program, Children In Action Sports Club (or CIA Sports Club). The Club utilizes sports and physical activities as outreach to children, youth, and adults to build character, excellence, and teamwork.

Other partners to the City of Brunswick include the Coastal Health District, Glynn County Health Department, The LINKS, Inc., HealthyGlynn.com, Anytime Fitness, Advance Rehabilitation, and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

Brunswick's partners are actively engaged in the community–wide effort to address youth obesity and overweight prevention. Partners assist with all aspects of the program, from donating fresh fruit and water for snacks at community events, to volunteering their time to facilitate activities at We Can! Field Days—community events that encourage the whole family to get active—and even scheduling, coordinating, and delivering Media–Smart Youth programs at local afterschool centers.

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Outreach & Events

  • We Can! Field Days: Brunswick hosted several Family Field Days in 2009, and has plans to continue with the successful events in the future. Community partners provided plenty of volunteers to man jump rope, tug–of–war, flag football, batting cages, dodgeball, soccer drills, sack races, horseshoes, and several other relay activities.

“At the field days, we really try to encourage the parents to get active with the kids, instead of just standing on the sidelines," said Patti Hale, Chair of the Advisory Board for CIA Sports Club. "Drawings and prizes for fitness gear also help to keep participants engaged in the various activities."

We Can! materials and fact sheets were distributed at each event. Approximately 30 physical activity-related door prizes (e.g., jump ropes, sports equipment) were awarded to field day participants. In addition, the Mayor of Brunswick attended one Field Day and even participated in several of the activities. The most recent Field Day event even earned CIA Sports Club's childhood obesity prevention efforts an article in the Health and Fitness section of the Brunswick News.

  • We Can! Regional Training: In January 2010, Brunswick hosted a We Can! regional training, the first of several We Can! regional trainings being held throughout the year. Approximately 60 attendees learned more about the We Can! program and its curricula, and how it can be implemented in a variety of community, regional, and City/County settings.
  • Distribution of We Can! Materials to City Employees: Throughout the City of Brunswick, there is high demand from local businesses for We Can! information. In fact, the CIA Sports Club sends approximately 30 We Can! fact sheets, tip sheets, and flyers to local employers each week. These businesses and organizations then use the information to share with employees and with other interested community members.

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Contact Information

Allen Benner
CIA Sports Club
154 Granville Nix Lane
Brunswick, GA 31525
Phone: (912) 239-7760

For additional contact information‚ send an email to nhlbiinfo@nhlbi.nih.gov.

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Last Updated: February 13, 2013