United Way of Greater Lorain County and the Lorain County General Health District have partnered with Cleveland Clinic and 30 other local organizations to create a community collaborative that will increase access to physical activity and healthy food options in order to reduce the risk of chronic disease in the Keystone and North Ridgeville communities. The group will align strategies to provide resources in the worksite, community, school and home settings.
The new collaborative aspires to have a community where more adults have access to exercise programs – both formal and informal – and are exercising regularly, an increased availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, neighborhoods and workplaces results in more consumption of these foods from people of all ages, youth spend less time playing video games or watching television and more time engaging in the recommended amount of daily exercise.
“It’s really breathtaking to see this many partners working together with such a strategic focus and acting as a strong, cohesive group,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper.
Projects being planned in North Ridgeville include healthy cooking classes hosted by Parks and Recreation Department on school grounds and working with the Metro Parks to map and promote walkable and bikeable areas of the community.
North Ridgeville Heart and Sole will host a kickoff event on Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the North Ridgeville Education Center. The event will feature free health screenings, food samples, exercise demonstrations and information on how to get involved year-round. Registration for the event is recommended through North Ridgeville Parks and Recreation.
“Being a part of the Heart and Sole Challenge was ultimately a no-brainer for the City of North Ridgeville,” said Parks and Recreation director Kevin Fougerousse. “Parks and Recreation has been a part of the Heart and Sole Challenge since day one and we look forward to continuing to grow while changing the lives of our residents for the better.”
“Every day, Cleveland Clinic is finding new ways to serve the community. The efforts of Cleveland Clinic Community Outreach are informed by the belief that the entire community benefits when the people within it are physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. We are thrilled to build upon this partnership with the city of North Ridgeville and its community members. We believe in helping individuals make positive health and wellness choices and look forward to engaging in the North Ridgeville Heart & Sole Challenge,” said Marilyn Gesing. Cleveland Clinic Director, Regional Coordination, Government and Community Relations.
Thursday’s announcement took place at Lorain County Community College and featured a panel of collaborative partners discussing their vision for the future and how they plan to work together to achieve the collaborative’s goals.
“Our collaborative partners in North Ridgeville and the Keystone community envision a place with easier access to physical fitness and healthier food options so that we will, in time, be able to reduce chronic diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease,” said County Health Commissioner Dave Covell. “We hope to provide an environment where the healthy choice is the easiest choice and residents are informed of the resources that are in place to help them live healthy lives.”
The collaborative will have specific strategies for each community. The group focusing on the Keystone area will be known as KEY (Keystone Empowers You) and the group focusing on North Ridgeville will be known as the North Ridgeville Heart and Sole Challenge.
More information on KEY and North Ridgeville Heart and Sole Challenge can be found at www.uwloraincounty.org or by calling 440-277-6530.