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Campaign for Healthy Kids in the New River Valley
Faith communities have a rich history of working together for social change. Faith-based coalitions have been at the forefront of local and state efforts on social issues such as homelessness, hunger and poverty. Today there is emerging energy among faith communities to advocate for improved food, nutrition and environmental policies.
In 2010, the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy received a grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. The two-year grant is part of a new statewide initiative to impact the issue of childhood obesity.
The grant calls for working within diverse faith communities to advance community policies or environmental changes that aim to increase access to healthy foods and safe places to play, with an emphasis on reaching those children who are at the highest risk for obesity.
On the Ground in The New River Valley
The Virginia Interfaith Center is working toward a healthy New River Valley community. We're addressing the issue of childhood obesity by organizing the faith community, coalition partners, community leaders and allies. We will work together to establish a policy agenda and train members to take action on policy issues in the New River Valley. By educating and activating our growing coalitions, we'll not only raise awareness about childhood obesity, but also healthy living and what that can look like in our community.
As Virginia’s oldest faith-based advocacy group, the Interfaith Center’s roots are deep in the New River Valley. In 2008, the Center began a multi-year health care reform initiative focusing on state-level education and policy reform. The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth grant allows the Center to build on this important foundation work in the New River Valley.
The theme for the NRV Campaign for Healthy Kids is "Back to Basics." We are using community programs and outreach activities to advocate for family dinners, cooking at home, gardening and food preservation. Using the pediatrician's model for healthy kids, the campaign promotes "5210 a day": five servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour of activity and zero sugary beverages.
To learn more about the NRV Campaign for Healthy Kids or to get involved, contact Melanie Smith, Community Health Organizer at
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Richmond, VA 23223
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