YMCA of Greater Long Beach Receives $20,000 Grant To Expand Healthier Communities Programs

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The YMCA of Greater Long Beach received a twenty thousand dollar grant from YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) to continue its efforts to help make the healthy choice, the easy choice for residents of Long Beach.

Long Beach has participated in Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) – part of the YMCA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives – since September 2009. The Y’s Healthier Communities Initiatives focus on making policy and environmental changes that support healthy lifestyles and are built on the concept that local communities can work together to provide all community members with healthy choice options. This latest grant, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allows a total of 23 communities, including Long Beach, to expand their current work to advance high-impact policies. High impact policies reach and impact large groups of people. For the purpose of PHC Initiatives, they are defined as any chronic disease health policy that can be implemented across an area.

“The Y is dedicated to strengthening community,” said CEO, Jason Hagensick. “Advancing our PHC work will help our families, friends and neighbors live their lives to the fullest potential. We are honored to be part of the growing movement of communities who are leading healthy change through policy strategies.”

In Long Beach, the PHC grant will unite The YMCA of Greater Long Beach and its collaborative organizations to create walking loops in parks and neighborhoods. The walking loops will be marked paths with identification signs and mileage markers to encourage walking in parks, neighborhoods and business districts to promote active lifestyles. Exercise stops, interpretive signage, and other amenities might be located along some of the walking loops. There will also be organized events, educational and promotional programs and materials to encourage use of the walking loops. There are five on the list of initial loops to explore and develop. A toolkit will be developed as part of the process to help other neighborhoods develop walking loops in the future.

Under the County’s RENEW program, the Long Beach Health Department was awarded a grant to work in partnership with community coalitions and residents to create a healthy food initiative for Long Beach. The Long Beach Alliance for Food and Fitness and the YMCA of Greater Long Beach Pioneering Healthy Communities Leadership Team have put forward the goal of developing a healthy food and beverage policy for the City to include healthy vending machines on City property and healthy beverages and snacks at city events and programs. The groups see a City level healthy food and beverage policy as an important step in addressing obesity and creating a healthy food environment.

Pioneering Healthier Communities is the Y’s signature initiative to create opportunities for healthy living through policy and environmental change. For more information about the YMCA’s Healthier Communities Initiatives visit http://www.ymca.net/healthier-communities/

About the Y:
The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the greater Long Beach area, the Y engages 35,000 youth and families– regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the community’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Lbymca.org

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