2015 HJCOPC “Heart of the Community” Award Honorees: Organizational 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 grow up healthy throughout Duval County.

The Organizational Leadership Category recognizes any community-based organization or corporation that provides direct services, funding, in-kind support, etc. which directly or indirectly impacts the health of the community. We invite you to get to know the honorees and to call upon as healthy, active resources in the community.

YMCA of Florida’s First Coast 

The YMCA’s policy, environmental and direct service approaches to prevent childhood obesity has a significant impact on children each year. Through Fit for Life, an evidence-based program that provides cardiovascular exercise and resistance and behavioral skills training, the YMCA served more than 2,700 children in before- and after-school programs. Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards create a healthier environment and target areas such as role modeling, family engagement, physical activity, screen time and healthy food/beverage options. The YMCA integrates HEPA standards in its programs including a partnership with Atlantic Urban Farms and their youth sports programs impacting 6,145 young people.

UF Health Breastfeeding Initiative

Research demonstrates the many health benefits of breastfeeding, including fewer ear infections, less severe respiratory illnesses, improved vision, higher IQ and a significant reduction in childhood obesity. UF Health’s lactation consultants work as part of the team by encouraging breastfeeding during prenatal visits and after birth. Nurses in the Women’s Services Department, nursing students and pediatric residents are trained to provide a consistent educational message to encourage and support breastfeeding. As a teaching hospital, this impacts not only the women served at UF Health, but the areas of practice students enter after graduation. Sandy Inman, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, is leading UF Health efforts in building the foundation for a Baby-Friendly Hospital.

University of North Florida Department of Nutrition and Dietetics

The UNF Department of Nutrition and Dietetics works to build a passion for promoting better health to the community by encouraging students to volunteer to gain real-world educational experiences. Students promote nutrition and health education in more than 20 local agencies such as Communities in Schools, the Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless, the YMCA, Beaches Emergency Assistance Mission, The Bridge, local food banks and famer’s markets. Many students also participate in the Food Policy Council and the Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition.

GCA Services, Inc.

The men of GCA Services, Inc. provide support, assistance and mentoring to youth leaders in the I’m A Star foundation. Every Saturday, more than 20 men serve as partners, mentors and coaches for young people who are planning and implementing health initiatives for Jacksonville. GCA also provides logistical assistance, funding, games and healthy food for the annual Let’s Move Jacksonville event. GCA has trained students to serve as focus group facilitators for the Youth-led Obesity Summit.

Chartwells – Thompson School Dining Services

Chartwells-Thompson is dedicated to “developing the whole child” in Duval County Public School students and serving the local community. This year they dedicated more than $200,000 toward community engagement through programs such as its Food Expo and Farm to School Initiative. Chartwells-Thompson believes it is important to help create and sustain an environment and community in which its Eat.Learn.Live philosophy shines.


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