YMCA looking to award healthiest school in county

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Sussex County’s Pioneering Healthier Communities once again is searching for the school most committed to making healthier choices for its students.

All public and private schools in Sussex County are eligible to participate and this year, the search has been expanded to include high schools. The chosen school will be announced at the Sussex County YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day and will be awarded a banner to display at their school and a $1,000 grant from Newton Medical Center to support their continued healthy efforts. The Merriam Avenue School in Newton was named the Healthiest School during this search in 2013.

The formation of local PHC teams is a national collaboration of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and YMCA USA. It is a community leadership strategy to facilitate active living and healthier eating through policy and environmental change. One of PHC’s main focuses is addressing our nation’s growing health crises of childhood obesity. Sussex County was among the first regions to be selected for a PHC initiative and its team is composed of chosen Sussex County professionals in areas of health care, government, business, education and community service.

PHC is working to make Sussex County the healthiest community in New Jersey; ensuring that healthy living is incorporated into the culture of its 24 municipalities. They advocate healthier eating, healthy lifestyle knowledge and an increase in physical activity for school-aged children. Therefore, PHC enthusiastically proposes this friendly and healthy challenge to the more than 50 public and private schools with their own campus, grades kindergarten through twelve.

Sussex County schools that wish to participate must request a nomination and evaluation form from the Sussex County YMCA in Hardyston, a PHC partner organization, by calling or e-mailing Rose Steinwand at (973) 209-9622 or rsteinwand@metroymcas.org. To be included in the search, forms must be completed and submitted to the Y by April 4. Forms are available online at www.sussexcountyymca.org. Schools will submit their own nomination explaining how they exceed the state standards in physical activity and healthy eating as well as other innovative approaches they are taking to improve the health of their students.

The chosen school will be announced at the Sussex County YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day on April 26 at the Y’s Hardyston facility. This is a popular, free community event that emphasizes the Y’s message to put play in your day and partners with more than 20 other community organizations to promote healthy living to families.

“Our PHC team is here to offer support to schools, families and communities, Jennifer Gardner, executive director of the Y commented. We appreciate the commitment of Newton Medical Center and the Y is excited to be the venue for this award and welcomes the entire community to join us on Healthy Kids Day.”

For more information on the PHC search for the healthiest school in Sussex County or on the Y’s Healthy Kids Day in April, please call (973) 209-9622 or visit www.sussexcountyymca.org.

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