Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Initiative
In January of 2010, The School District of Palm Beach County was awarded a $360,000 Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to improve opportunities for physical activity and access to affordable healthy foods for children and families in the Lake Worth, Greenacres, and Palm Springs communities. The HKHC Coalition representing twenty community partners was formed in July 2010 to create policy and environmental changes for children and families by increasing opportunities to access healthy foods and participate in physical activity.
During year-two of the project, school gardens were created at Pine Jog Elementary, Berkshire Elementary, C.O. Taylor/Kirklane Elementary, Diamond View Elementary, Heritage Elementary, and Lake Worth Community Middle. Progress was made on gardens at John I. Leonard High, Cholee Lake Elementary, and Forest Hill Elementary with an anticipated completion in the spring of 2012. Each principal signed a Garden Agreement that included decisions about what will be done with the food and commitments to ensure long-term success of the project. Local business or community partners were secured when possible to provide support to the gardens beyond the life of the grant. This year we sought new ways to enhance student and teacher engagement within the school gardens. Partnering with the Fine Arts Department allowed for students to paint murals and create mosaics. Some school gardens were used as an extension of the classroom for learning. A pamphlet was created in March of 2011 to assist schools as they develop and enhance school gardens.
The City Commission of Lake Worth tasked their Recreation Advisory Board and the HKHC Coalition with developing the city’s first Urban Land Use Plan. This plan is being developed with the assistance of the city’s Planning and Zoning Advisory Board and Tree Board. It will include recommendations for urban agriculture, changes to zoning regulations and the comprehensive plan.
A grant was received from the Palm Beach County Office of Community Revitalization to install a walking trail on the campus of Berkshire Elementary School. This project is a part of The School District of Palm Beach County’s first public access joint-use agreement and is planning to be open on weekends and holidays. The agreements are currently being developed and trail installation is anticipated for the Fall of 2012.
A policy is currently being developed to improve the options offered in the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation vending machines. This policy is scheduled to be completed by the Fall of 2012.
The first walking school bus was developed at Berkshire Elementary School through the partnership with the South Florida Commuter Services and the Department of Health. The District's Wellness Promotion Policy language pertaining to students walking and biking safely to and from schools was revised on May 16, 2012.
The HKHC Coalition is very proud of the accomplishments made during the 2011–2012 school year, and they look forward to continued success in 2012-2013.
For information regarding this grant and how to get involved, please contact Erica Whitfield at Erica.Whitfield@palmbeachschools.org or call (561) 969-5880
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Meetings ~ FY 2011-2012