The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is investing over 1.5 million dollars into the health of Seneca County residents through the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities grant over the next five years. The purpose of this grant is to implement policies or plans that increase physical activity and healthier eating among all age groups.
Seneca County Public Health has partnered with all four public school districts in the county, which consists of twelve schools, to increase opportunities for students to be more active and improve nutrition. This includes purchasing and maintaining gym equipment, creating afterschool exercise clubs, and motor skill activities for classrooms. With funding from the CHSC grant, schools are also purchasing gardening supplies, hydroponic grow towers, and supporting nutrition policies such as healthy celebrations and offering smart snacks after school. Child and Family Resources (CFR), a partner on this grant, will help create healthier practices in early childcare settings by conducting assessments and providing trainings to childcare providers. Seneca County-Cornell Cooperative Extension (SCCCE) will be assisting in improving food services guidelines and in supporting the school districts with training and compatible programs like Farm to School. The Farm to School Program helps Seneca County Schools obtain locally grown foods, and provides education about local farms, foods, and gardening. The worksite and community wellness focus of the grant will make healthy food choices available in vending machines and snack locations around the county. Other grant partners include Seneca County Planning and Community Development, Seneca County Office of the Aging (OFA), Seneca County Finance Department, and Pivital Public Health Partnership.
“We are excited to have this opportunity to positively impact our communities. The CHSC grant will allow us to positively impact many Seneca County residents,” said Public Health Director Scott King.
Seneca County will also participate in the Connecting Routes to Destinations project or “Complete Streets”. This project helps create roadways that are designed to increase the safe, convenient access and mobility of roadway users of all ages. Over 150 municipalities in New York State have adopted Complete Streets policies. Complete Streets includes adding sidewalks, lane striping, bicycle lanes, paved shoulders for bicycles, signage, crosswalks, bus pullouts, curb cuts and more.
Seneca Towns Engaging People for Solutions (STEPS) Project Director Theresa Lahr said, “STEPS is pleased that residents‘ longstanding desire to place two speed control devices in Lodi is now a reality made possible through this important grant.”
The CHSC Grant has enabled Public Health and its partners to create access to healthy foods and opportunities to increase physical activity for Seneca County residents of all ages. As the first year of the grant is wrapping up, we look forward to continuing to engage the community with this exciting opportunity to invest in healthy resources over the next several years.
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