The Heart and Stroke Foundation seeks your help to combat our province’s growing epidemic of childhood obesity, inactivity and tobacco misuse. In Saskatchewan, one in four children are overweight or obese, more than half are not active enough for optimal growth and development and our province continues to have the highest youth smoking rates in the country. As part of its Heart Healthy Children & Youth Strategy, the Foundation is providing My Healthy Community Grants to support cities and towns across the province to make healthy, lasting changes at the grassroots level.
“The My Healthy Community Grants program recognizes that Saskatchewan is a geographic, social and cultural mosaic, with different communities facing different challenges. That is why we are seeking community-driven, innovative solutions to help make healthier choices a reality for all communities,” says Stephanie Cross, the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Sr. Manager of Health Promotion. Examples include healthy eating initiatives and before and after school or peer-to-peer smoke free programming.
Carrot River Elementary School was awarded funding for one such program in 2012, called the “Extreme Healthy School Makeover”. It incorporated school-wide nutrition education, a noon-hour running program, and “Blessings in a Backpack”, which provided community support for struggling families: “‘Blessings in a Backpack’ was a voluntary and confidential program that sent food home with children on weekends to ensure they wouldn’t go hungry,” says Najma Moumin, Heart and Stroke Foundation Community Action Specialist. Overall, the “Makeover” received tremendous support, addressing issues of food insecurity and encouraging physical activity and healthy eating.
The My Healthy Community Grants will be awarded to organizations and groups in any Saskatchewan community for projects that help children, youth and families to be more active, to be able to access healthier food choices or to reduce use of or exposure to tobacco.
The round of grants projects will be awarded up to $4000. Any group or organization in Saskatchewan working to make a healthy difference in their community, may apply for a My Healthy Community Grant beginning January 27, 2014. More information is available at www.heartandstroke.sk.ca/communities.
The Foundation is actively involved in research, health promotion and advocacy programs focused on improving the health of Canadians of all ages, so that they can enjoy longer, healthier lives. Through proactive programs like the My Healthy Community Grants, together, we can make health last.