Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A fitness CAN-do with new grant from Coca-Cola

Story and photos by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

Bronx Borough President Ruben Díaz Jr. works out four times a week.
His workouts even include pick-up basketball games on the weekends.
While not everyone has to practice their jump shot as often as the Borough President, for residents of the county that has long been ranked as one of the unhealthiest in the state, and with the highest obesity rate in the city, increasing exercise levels and physical activity could well be life-saving moves.
Now a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation might make it a little easier to get the wellness word out.
As announced this past Mon., Oct. 22nd at Macomb’s Dam Park and Joseph Yancey Track, The Bronx Change Attitudes Now (C.A.N.) initiative, launched last June by President Díaz and State Senator Gustavo Rivera, will receive a $75,000 grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation.
“We can’t do this without resources. Now we can amplify our efforts,” said President Díaz.
The grant is good news for the CAN Health Initiative and its partners, which include the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC), the East Side House Settlement, Lincoln Hospital and several Bronx hospitals and not-for-profit organizations.
“Only through collaborative efforts can workable solutions to today’s health challenges be achieved,” said Donna Cirolia, Region Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications for Coca-Cola Refreshments.
Present at the grant presentation was Marlene Cintron, President of BOEDC; John L. Sanchez, Executive Director of the East Side House Settlement; and representatives of Blink Gym and Lincoln Hospital—representing just a few of the dozens of community partners involved in the CAN Health Initiative.
For Cintron, the connection between physical health and the economic vitality of the borough was an obvious one.
“Economic development is all for naught if there are not enough healthy Bronxites to work at new jobs,” explained Cintron.
The East Side House Settlement serves 1,200 children, families and seniors who stand to benefit from joining the CAN Health Initiative.
“It will allow us to build on our obesity prevention efforts and provide nutrition education to program participants in a hands-on way,” said Sanchez.
The efforts of the CAN Health Initiative have best been substantiated by one of its co-founders, State Senator Gustavo Rivera. During CAN’s first five months, the Senator trimmed away 14 pounds by reducing portion sizes, salt, sugar and fat from his diet.
While Senator Rivera was not present on Monday, President Díaz was happy to report that his colleague had now trimmed 10 percent of his weight since last summer. He noted that even just a 20-minute workout three days a week could result in positive changes.
“We’re the most obese borough, but we’re also the hungriest borough, which is a conundrum to me,” said President Díaz, noting too that food scarcity afflicts many Bronxites.
Eric García, a general manager of Blink Fitness, a new 15830-square-foot gym at St. Anns Avenue, was excited about the new partnership.
For Blink Fitness, which bills itself a “friendly, affordable gym,” the Coca-Cola grant will allow it to offer greater access to residents.
“Everybody blinks,” said a smiling García. “That’s why we want fitness to be available for everybody.”
For more information on the Bronx CAN Health Initiative, please visit

Friday, October 12, 2012

Important Dates from School Wellness Weekly

School Wellness Weekly, 10.12.2012

Application Closes October 22 for $2,500 School Wellness Council (SWC) Grant
Thank you to the schools that applied last week and received tickets for the Fun and Fit in the City event. To continue the momentum, the next 50 schools to submit a completed SWC grant application (by October 19) will receive a copy of HBO’s The Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary series about the obesity epidemic.  The third episode, Children in Crisis, examines how schools can become the centerpiece of public efforts to ensure that kids participate in physical education and develop healthier lifestyles that can last a lifetime. Host a screening and use the documentary as a tool to bring together your SWC, staff, educators, students, parents, and community to generate new strategies to improve wellness in your school. We look forward to receiving your applications and hearing about how you will use the documentary.     

Also, for any schools that have questions about the grant, or require technical assistance on filling out the application, email [email protected] so a member of our team can assist you.

Opportunities and Recognition
·         October 15-19 is National School Lunch Week:  Use this week as an opportunity to discuss with your students, staff, parents, and community the change in menu options and the importance of the new nutrition standards implemented by SchoolFood. Also, share this link with families for more information on school meals applications, instructions, and how to apply online. Application submitted by 10/19 will be entered automatically into a sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip to the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii and other great prizes provided by the New York Jets.
·         October is National Farm to School Month: Learn how your SWC could start a farm to school program here. This is a great opportunity to connect your school to a local farm and provide health education opportunities about nutrition and food origins – from farm to plate.
·         Parents are the Strongest Partners, in our schools, especially on SWCs. Check out the NYC DOE Parents as Partners Week starting 10/15, and join events which will engage parents around various topics throughout the City. Also, log in to the Action For Healthy Kids Parent Leadership Series on how to work with school wellness policies 11/9 at 2:00 p.m.
·         Creating Inclusive Learning Environments: Part of wellness is creating the best environment possible for learning, free of intolerance and prejudice. Check out Tanenbaum’s array of offerings for teachers, including an upcoming P-credited course, Cultivating Global Citizenship starting 10/20, and World Olympics, a multicultural curriculum promoting team building and collaboration. For more information, contact Marcie Denber-Serra.
·         The Partnership for a Healthier New York City, charged with reducing chronic disease in NYC, has launched a new website with events, fact sheets, updates, and links specific to your neighborhood. Browse or sign up for as a partner today.
·         Free Health Education Professional Development: Check out additional HealthTeacher and HealthSmart training opportunities added from the Office of School Wellness Program here.

Wellness in the News
·         Local Coach Becomes “Champion of Change” (NBC 4 New York, 10/11)
·         Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott Runs Staten Island Half Marathon (Staten Island Advance, 10/8)

Additional Resources
·         2012 We’re Walking HereK-12 students are invited to track the blocks they walk in a two-week period.  Click here to register (grand prize of $1,000).  Entries are due by 11/16.
·         Want Healthier Foods in The Bronx (or Your Neighborhood)? NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene works with city schools to provide fun, simple ways SWCs can support local stores to stock and promote healthier foods. Contact the Shop Healthy team for more information.
·         Check out the Active Living Research’s resource sheet on increasing physical activity before, during, and after school, especially the infographic.
·         NASPE Monthly Teachers Toolbox provides opportunities, ideas, and resources for PE teachers and schools.
·         New York Road Runners invites DTFS schools, grades 3-8, to register for free October meets, or request more information by emailing here. Also, don’t forget to register for the 10/21 Youth Jamboree.
·         Green and Healthy: Grow to Learn mini grants (due 11/1) and planning workshops, and Greenmarket Youth Education Project opportunities are available. Plan and plant now!
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