HEAL continues to raise community awareness of the importance of health and wellness and increased outreach. As a result of the growth in our donations and grant funding, we are able to launch new programs and continue popular programs that focus on healthier eating and more active lifestyles in our community.
In 2017 through the consolidation of the YMCA and HEAL, as one nonprofit working together, the expertise and existing community outreach will grow and strengthen. This consolidation will also help guarantee longevity of programs and services that allow us to be even greater stewards of our donor and grant dollars, and greatly expand our community outreach.
Washington County residents experience higher than average rates of heart disease mortality and diabetes mortality. Over a quarter of our residents report no physical activity in the last 30 days. Only one-third report eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Nearly three-quarters are overweight or obese, including 12% of Washington County’s children – a rate higher than the Maryland state average.
The HEAL program, in collaboration with the Fitness and After School programs, launched a targeted fitness and nutrition after school program thanks to the generous support of the Martin’s Foods.
The goal of this initiative is to improve the overall health of Washington County elementary school-aged children and their families through targeted and intentional programming with youth enrolled in our After School enrichment program. Two hundred and fifty children who participate in the Y’s After School program received targeted physical activity and nutrition education. The program was designed to foster healthy lifestyle changes through fun physical activities, simple and enticing dietary changes and educational opportunities to meet the needs of the whole family. This includes visits from a certified trainer twice a week and nutrition education lessons from a certified nutritionist from the University of Maryland Extension Food and Nutrition Program.