AHA Receives NCPTA Champion for Children’s Health Award
From left, Wake County Commissioner Sig Hutchinson, Otha Thornton, National PTA President, Sara Merz, Michele McKinley with AHA, Donald Dunn, NCPTA President.
AHA was awarded the Champion for Children’s Health Award, established this year by the North Carolina PTA Executive Committee to recognize strong NCPTA partnerships with health organizations that positively affect health outcomes in the children and schools throughout North Carolina. AHA received the award on Fri., April 17 at the NCPTA’s Parent Education & Leadership Conference at the McKimmon Conference Center in Raleigh.
AHA, a collaborative of more than 75 partners, works to improve health in Wake County through healthy eating and physical activity, through policy, systems and environment change. Part of that work involves encouraging schools and parent-teacher organizations to enforce local school wellness policies and create a healthier learning environment for students and staff at schools in Wake County.
“We are so honored to receive this recognition. The PTA has been a wonderful partner in increasing healthy behaviors throughout the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), and throughout our state,” said AHA Director Sara Merz. “We know that increasing physical activity for kids during the school day improves academic achievement and decreases behavior issues, and increasing healthy behaviors around physical activity and healthy eating has both short-term and long-term health benefits for students and staff,” she continued.
AHA works with school leaders, including the school board, administration, and the School Health Advisory Committee, and also showcases individual schools in Wake County through the annual AHA Brains and Bodies Award, which celebrates schools with a sustainable culture of wellness, and the AHA Wellness Star, which specifically recognizes schools with outstanding and ongoing walk/bike to school (or at school) programs that promote active transportation.
“Because children spend so much time at school, schools have a unique opportunity to impact health in a positive way,” said NCPTA President Donald Dunn. “NCPTA values AHA’s continued work to make a difference in the lives of children and youth across Wake County, and we’re pleased to honor AHA with this inaugural award.
NCPTA also awarded NC Action for Healthy Kids with a Champion for Children’s Health Award and Wake County Public School System Superintendent Dr. James Merrill with the Administrator of the Year Award.