We're Having A Ball

Jay ThompsonThe Safe Routes to School Mississippi network prides itself on the ability to connect with those organizations within the state that are passionate about ridding the state of the childhood obesity epidemic. We continue our efforts in expanding our parameters to partners that are champions for the cause. While attending a meeting with the Obesity Coalition (formulated by The Partnership for A Healthy Mississippi) there were strategic innovations that were shared that would assist our state with waging war on childhood obesity.

The Partnership for A Health Mississippi has developed structured youth programs for kids aged 5-18. For Obesity Prevention, they offer HERO (Health Education Reduces Obesity) and Just Have a Ball. These programs are taught in schools, faith-based organizations and after-school settings.

HERO includes comprehensive and concrete projects and activities that engage not only the school systems to meet state standards, but also engage the community at large to become part of the solution in Mississippi’s obesity epidemic. The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi will draw upon its proven record of changing adult and youth attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding tobacco use to demonstrate success in the fight for our very lives against unhealthy lifestyles and obesity. The Partnership seeks to demonstrate the importance of an active larger community and provide tangible results for changing policies and practices governing health decisions from every aspect of the community, including schools, media, faith-based, governmental, healthcare and others.

Just Have A Ball raises the awareness of play to combat childhood obesity and offers a concept that fosters peer to peer interactions to encourage healthier lifestyles. Youth Philanthropists Wilson (11 years old) and Hartwell (9 years old) Furr founded Just Have A Ball. Positive leaders with a sense of social responsibility, they identified a need in their community and through this initiative, they are encouraging meaningful play as a means to reverse childhood obesity.

Efforts such as these run parallel with those of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to encourage more schools and communities to engage in shared use agreements.  By combining our efforts we will reach our goal of becoming fit, one child at a time.

In future blogs we will talk about others around the state dedicated to the cause. To join the Mississippi Network list, contact me.

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