2015 HJCOPC “Heart of the Community” Award Honorees: Community Leadership

Editor’s note: On Friday, September 11, nearly 200 attendees gathered to celebrate healthy kids and active communities in Duval County. The fourth annual awards breakfast, hosted by the Healthy Jacksonville Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (HJCOPC), commemorated National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and provided a forum to honor 15 local organizations and individuals for their commitment to helping children in Duval County grow up healthy and strong.

The Community Leadership Category recognizes any individual or group of individuals over the age of 18 who go beyond the call of duty to create awareness about healthy living and promote substantial changes among peers and in the community, which ultimately lead to better health outcomes for all residents in Duval County. We invite you to get to know the honorees and to call upon them as healthy, active resources in the community.

The Pulse
Pulse Ministries, a faith-based organization offers an after-school program serving young people living in the Spring Park area. Pulse is led by Pastors Ed and Laura Wolanski. Ed and Laura are committed to being sources of stability for the children they serve, demonstrated by including fresh fruits and vegetables in the lunches and snacks they serve and starting a community garden.

Justice League of Fitness
The Justice League provides free community fitness classes at the Emmett Reed Community Center. Its goal is to provide knowledge and education on nutrition, and cardio and strength training to those seeking a healthier life, including individuals with health issues. Participants work out in a group setting, and may receive one-on-one attention from trainers as needed. Justice League leaders believe “a family that trains together can overcome life’s toughest challenges together.”

North Florida Health Corps/National Health Corps – AmeriCorps
The North Florida Health Corps fosters healthy communities by developing volunteer health leaders. The Health Corps focuses on educating kids and adults about wellness, disease and smart health choices. They also connect children and adults to health and social services in the community. Each year, they recruit, train and place emerging leaders in resource-limited organizations to help improve health outcomes in underserved communities.

Bruce Ganger
As CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida, Mr. Ganger leads the agency’s efforts to bridge the gap between hunger, health and access to healthy foods in Northeast Florida. Bruce has led collaborative efforts to improve best practices such as including fresh produce to increase the nutritional quality of the food banks’ product offerings.

Susan Cohn
As a member of the Duval County Food Policy Council, Susan has played a vital role in addressing food access issues and health disparities through policy improvements and developing the Food System Assessment. The Council’s mission is to strengthen and expand the regional farm and food economy in Duval County, promote food systems that support improved nutrition and public health, and increase access for all to safe and wholesome food. Susan has been an active member of the Council for more than two years and has served as Chair.

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