ESMMYC Let’s Go Celebration

by Elizabeth W. Duda

York County, SC (June 11, 2018) Eat Smart Move More York County (ESMMYC) hosted community partners in a celebration of our successes during the 3-year Let’s Go grant. ESMMYC chair, Elizabeth Duda, credited the coalition’s success to its diverse partnerships with the common goal of positively impacting the health of York County residents. Partners and attendees included York County residents, city and county council members, city and county planners, medical professionals, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), educators, master gardeners, education professionals, and community organizations including the Upper Palmetto YMCA.

ESMMYC coalition coach, Jessica Cody, shared “the story of how everything led to everything else.” As an example, she explained ESMMYC’s roles in hosting a Complete Streets Workshop for Clover and York; the following walkability study to determine needed improvements; the resulting sidewalk improvements; the area farmers markets and community gardens; and the subsequent Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification training for participating farmers.

Cody looks forward to continuing the ESMMYC partnership with Atrium Health through the Healthy Together 5-2-1-0 program in her role as setting lead. This program tackles childhood obesity by promoting healthy behaviors through engagement, education, collaboration and policy change. We will continue its implementation in Fort Mill and Rock Hill Elementary Schools, and roll it out in preschool and after-school settings in 2018-2019.

Jane Wojcik, Winthrop University Associate Professor and Program Director of Exercise Science and ESMMYC Food Policy Council Co-Chair, talked about ESMMYC successes with helping communities gain access to healthy foods. In Rock Hill, ESMMYC supported a walkability study around the Old Town Farmers Market, then marketing, then farmers’ acceptance of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the Healthy Bucks program to enable lower-income people to triple their produce purchasing power. Gloria Kellerhals of the Catawba Farm and Food Coalition shared the exciting news that the regional food hub, which ESMMYC and partners have been working towards, will be established in York to serve York, Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster and Union Counties. This is important because food hubs help small farmers compete in large markets and improve access to healthy food.

Beth Barry, Senior Program Manager for the Healthy Schools and Communities Program at Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Alliance), described how 700 schools have implemented the Healthy Schools program in an effort to reduce childhood obesity and empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. She also described the Rock Hill School District (RHSD) implementation of Alliance, led by Sadie Kirell, ESMMYC leadership committee member and RHSD clinical lead nurse. Barry announced a new funding opportunity for SC K-12 schools to support their wellness action plan. And Trimease Carter talked about our Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) program.

With the celebration held at the Larne Building in Clover, guests enjoyed the Jackson’s Kitchen catering using local foods, the Carolina Selfies photo booth and the Bush-n-Vine gift baskets.

To learn more about ESMMYC, come to a general meeting – the second Tuesday of even months at noon. Our next general meeting will be on August 14, 2018.