We Can!® Community Sites in Action
We Can! Across the Country
A total of 1,458 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 (144 Intensive Sites, 1,284 General Sites, and 30 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.
Houston Gets in the Zone!
Earlier this fall, Tamara Duncan—who is the Program Developer for Family Health and Wellness at Neighborhood Centers, Inc. and who joined the We Can! program in November 2008—organized six Back-to-School Health Fairs in the Houston area.
Last year, Neighborhood Centers, Inc. kicked off their We Can! involvement by hosting an event with Tab Ramos—the former Olympic soccer star—facilitated by We Can! partner SUBWAY® restaurants. "Last year's turnout was so great and the community was so energized by Tab and We Can!, that I knew I wanted to incorporate We Can! into future Neighborhood Center, Inc. events," said Duncan.
At each fair, Duncan set up a We Can! Zone, which included several active games, exercise tips from a physical trainer, healthy snacks and healthy meal ideas, and We Can! materials and resources for participating kids and their parents.
According to Duncan, the health fairs were a huge success—they attracted over 16,000 participants, many of whom are at higher risk of becoming obese. The We Can! Zone was definitely the star of the fairs! By the end of the sixth fair, over 1,000 youth had participated in the We Can! Zone, and just as many parents picked up program materials and tips.
Paving the Way for a Healthier Community, One Step at a Time
It was a busy fall for Georgia's We Can! in Cobb Coalition—a community site partnership that includes Cobb and Douglas Public Health and the Cobb County School District. From promoting
We Can! through a state-wide walking program and on a local TV show, to building a new walking and biking path for area students, the Cobb Coalition is truly stepping up their game.
Cobb and Douglas Public Health first kicked off the season when they upgraded their We Can! commitment from an intensive community site to a We Can! City.
Shortly after becoming a City, the Coalition landed an article in a local newspaper where they were featured for their "Walk Georgia" program, a free, Internet-based program that community members could use during the months of September and October to track their physical activity levels. "The program worked so that the distance logged would virtually map out participants walking across the state of Georgia," said Bev Kartheiser, Health Educator at Cobb and Douglas Public Health, who presented and promoted the Walk Georgia program to various businesses and worksites in the region.
While traveling to, and presenting at, these various organizations, Kartheiser also promoted the We Can! Energize Our Families: Parent Program classes, which she leads at several PTA meetings throughout the county.
Being featured in the newspaper for their We Can!-related activities was not the only source of media attention the Coalition earned this fall. Kartheiser appeared on a local TV station's cooking show, where she demonstrated how simple it can be for families to prepare quick and healthy meals. During the show, Karthesier made breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes from the We Can! website.
The Coalition also broke ground—literally—in their efforts to help the community's youth become more physically active. On October 6, 2010, We Can! in Cobb held a groundbreaking ceremony to begin the work on their new walk-and-bike path for the students of Floyd Middle School. The path is an initiative of the We Can! in Cobb Coalition, aiming to increase the number of youth incorporating more physical activity into their daily routines by encouraging students to walk or bike to school.
We Can! Is Just What the Doctor Ordered
Pediatricians in Broome County and Binghamton, New York—a community site partnership that joined the We Can! City/County program in 2007—have found a way to talk to kids and parents about healthy weight: they are "prescribing" We Can!.
"When some physicians in the area see patients with high BMIs, they recommend that the patient and the patient's parents join the Stay Healthy Kids Club," said Patricia Fell, Director of Community Health Services at United Health Services.
The Stay Healthy Kids Club is a 12-week program for both parents and youth. During each session, the kids go into a gym area and work with a physical trainer who facilitates interactive games and CATCH Kids Club activities, while the parents work with a dietician on the We Can! Energize Our Families: Parent Program, in addition to supplemental lessons and activities.
According to Fell, the program has been a major success. In the past 3–4 months, Stay Healthy Kids Club has received 70 referrals from local physicians, and the Club is gearing up for their third 12-week session. "Some kids have even expressed an interest in being mentors for the next group of youth participants." said Fell. "They want to come back and share their stories on the healthy changes they made in their lives."
In addition to learning valuable information on how to live a healthier life, the program participants also receive a free year-long membership to the local YMCA, where they can continue to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives.
The Broome County and Binghamton partnership is working with Binghamton University to eventually evaluate the program. For now, Fell and her colleagues are collecting pre-and-post-surveys from the kids and the parents, as well as pre-and-post-BMI measurements.
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: 23%
- Community–Based Organizations: 20%
- Schools and School Systems: 16%
- 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%