5.30.18 - United Way of Greater Lorain County announced today that it has committed up to $304,286 over the next three years to continue building a system of healthy living options in North Ridgeville and the communities making up the Keystone School District.
Two different Community Collaboratives, Keystone Empowers You (KEY) and North Ridgeville Heart and Sole, are supported by United Way and are leading the efforts in these communities to make the healthy choice the easy choice by increasing access to physical activity and healthy food options. Both collaboratives are led by Lorain County Public Health.
“We initially targeted these areas because we saw a high percentage of adults who are classified as overweight, there were increasing levels of poverty and a general lack of neighborhood walkability. But we’re breaking through those barriers due to a strong commitment of the local residents and the partners in working together, and we’re proud of these communities for stepping up to the challenge to improve their health,” said United Way of Greater Lorain County executive director Bill Harper.
Initial strategies that have been successful include improved walking paths connecting often-visited locations, outdoor exercise equipment, and shared use agreements with the school districts for indoor walking and the use of exercise equipment in the winter months.
The collaboratives have also organized farmer’s markets incentivized with discounts, Salad Wednesdays at senior centers, community garden support, healthier options at the schools and community concession stands, diabetes prevention programming, and plant-based diet support groups.
On average, about 600 people per month attend physical activities led by the collaboratives in each community. Approximately 10 percent more of the population is getting at least three servings of fruits and vegetables a day and the average water consumption has increased by 15 percent.
North Ridgeville Heart and Sole and KEY were both launched in January of 2015.
“Over the past few years, through developing partnerships and working within the collective impact framework, we've been able to take steps toward creating environments where accessing the healthy choice is easy. We look forward to continuing our work serving the residents of North Ridgeville and the communities within the Keystone Local School District,” said Dave Covell, Health Commissioner, Lorain County Public Health.
The two collaboratives have a combined 25 partners, with many of the partners overlapping to work in both communities. The partners meet regularly and continue to test improvements to become more efficient and provide better services.