Thursday, October 28, 2010
Program focuses on healthier communities
By SUE WATSON
Healthy Kids/Healthy Communities continues to get attention in Holly Springs.
Holly Springs and Byhalia were among several municipalities in DeSoto, Benton and Marshall counties that got a site visit from the Northwest Mississippi Community Foundation leadership team and the program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s national program.
The team met with mayor Andre’ DeBerry, aldermen Harvey Payne, Johnnie Ree Bagley and Russell Johnson, and with Main Street Association members and director Judy Smith, as well as Cissy Cox with the Mississippi Department of Health and local committees.
Mark Dessauer, communication director, and Fay Gibson, project officer with Active Living By Design in Chapel Hill North Carolina, participated in a walking tour of the town. Also on hand were Shelly Johnstone, consultant, and Peggy Linton, community development director, with the community foundation, Donna Cothern with the Marshall County administrator’s office, and Lorena Adams, nurse with Holly Springs Primary School. Adams is chair of the Marshall County Community Health Council.
They explained that healthy kids and communities can be attained through a variety of community activities through churches and schools as well as by government support of these projects.
A key concept of Healthy Kids/Healthy Communities and other programs that offer new approaches for solutions for old problems endemic in the South, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease and diabetes, can be imagined and implemented in communities if the communities themselves decide what they want to achieve and how they want to approach problem-solving.
“We will be working with our local elected officials and the Bouchillon Institute for Community Planning in offering training that relates to healthy communities with emphasis on policies and environmental changes that lead to healthy eating and active living,” Linton said.
The community foundation is working with governments to seek changes in laws and in the environment itself that will assist people in making healthier choices - nutritional choices and exercise and community-based initiatives.
The Holly Springs Main Street Association is a partner with NWCF in seeking to establish a local farmers’ market in the city next spring and to encourage producers to participate and homeowners to get back to nature by growing a garden.
For more information contact Judy Smith with the Main Street Association at 551-8396.
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