ESMMYC Chair Receives Community Honor

Tega Cay, SC (July 5, 2018)  Elizabeth Duda, chair of Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC), was recognized as 2018 Citizen of Year in the City of Tega Cay. The Tega Cay Lions Club awards this honor to a Tega Cay resident having demonstrated exceptional dedication and service to our community. Liz has lived in Tega Cay for 13 years with her husband, Aaron. She is a mother of three children – two in Tega Cay Elementary and one a rising Gold Hill Middle Schooler. The winner of the Citizen of the Year award was announced at the city’s July 4th festivities.

Liz has been a member of ESMMYC since 2015. As chair, she leads this coalition of diverse, passionate, dedicated community members in their shared mission of making the healthy choice the easy choice in York County. The ESMMYC vision is “to have a York County in which healthy eating and active living are essential to the everyday culture where we live, work, learn, pray and play.” Related to her ESMMYC role, Liz is a member of the York County Bike/Ped Task Force, which supports York County becoming more bicycle and pedestrian friendly through education, advocacy, and promotion of the health, economic, environmental, and social benefits of bicycling and walking. Liz also participates in Impact York County, dedicated to empowering and improving our community through health and wellness.

Liz became involved in working to promote children’s health when she realized how many sweet treats other people were offering to her own children – in school, on sports teams or studios, at camps, in the bank,  pharmacy, supermarkets and postal center – even though the offering adult did not know if the sweet treat fit into the child’s healthy diet that day. She knows the serious health issues associated with that 36% of SC’s children are obese/overweight, and almost half do not meet heart-lung fitness standards when tested on physical activities like brisk walking or running (as per recent FitnessGram results). So she worked with fellow parents to create the Tega Cay Healthy Kids Facebook page and implement related efforts. The goal is to educate families on healthy eating for kids and promote local opportunities for kids to get active.

After starting the Walk and Bike to School Days at Tega Cay Elementary in partnership with ESMMYC, SC Safe Routes to School and the PE teachers when the school opened in 2015, she continues to organize these wonderfully successful events. The events promote physical activity, environmentalism, biker and walker safety and community. Community participants regularly include the Tega Cay Police Department (TCPD) through its very popular Coffee with a Cop, the Tega Cay Fire Department which brings out a truck and firefighters to welcome the kids to school, and the mayor and city council which meet the students at the bike racks and congratulate them for walking and biking to school. With this year’s Bike to School Day following a student’s bike accident on Tega Cay Drive, Liz worked with fellow community volunteer Ben Ullman to set up a table at Coffee with a Cop to promote bicycle and pedestrian safety to the kids, then presented the information in a kindergarten classroom.

Also at Tega Cay Elementary, Liz is a School Improvement Council (SIC) member, health and wellness committee co-chair, and Science-Technology-Engineering-Arts-Math (STEAM) club co-chair. Liz and her family take advantage of the Tega Cay Parks and Recreation offerings, and with Aaron coaching their kids’ teams, Liz assisted on her daughter’s advanced t-ball team this spring and looks forward to coaching her soccer team this fall.

Liz is an active Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation member, as a Covekeeper working to protect Lake Wylie, and Tega Cay Marina site captain for the annual Lake Wylie Riversweep. This year’s Riversweep will be on October 6, 2018.

It is important to Liz that she and her family engage in the Tega Cay community. To learn more, she participated in the fall Tega Cay Citizen Academy. Her family also regularly participates in the Spring Pickmeup, the Memorial Day run, 4th of July events, and TCPD community presentations.

Liz works (part time) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond in Charlotte. Though primarily in banking supervision and regulation, she also is her office’s Civic Engagement representative where she fosters her passion for promoting volunteerism and community engagement.