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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Important Announcement from AHA: February 15, 2019

Dear Advocates for Health in Action Partners and Friends,

Thank you for your partnership over the last 12 years. Together, we have been able to improve the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives through policy, systems and environmental change.

In recent months, unfortunately, our funding has decreased substantially. As a result, the AHA Board of Directors voted to dissolve the organization as of March 15. We are very pleased to share that the ACEs Resilience Initiative in Wake County will continue with a new home at SAFEchild. As a new member of SAFEchild’s team, ACEs Resilience Project Coordinator Lisheema Barr will continue to be point on coordinating this community-driven work to prevent future ACEs and build resilience for all community members. For more information about SAFEchild, contact SAFEchild Executive Director Cristin DeRonja at (919) 743-6140 or CDeRonja@safechildnc.org.

We are proud of the impact we’ve had across Wake County. Through your partnership and support, we’ve accomplished so much together. Here are just a few ways we have made an impact together:

  • ACEs: More than 100 organizations impacting thousands of people in Wake County are taking action to prevent future Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and build resilience for those who have experienced trauma to improve health and well-being in Wake County. Organization leaders are moving beyond awareness to action, including training staff.
  • Local Food Access: Schools, child care centers and homes, churches, nonprofits, parks and other organizations in Wake County are growing fresh, local produce.  Many of those gardens and urban farms were started or supported through expertise, resources and network provided by AHA at Dig In! for the last 9 years.What’s more, 8 farmers’ markets in Wake County accept EBT/SNAP benefits. AHA and Wake County Human Services advocated for and provided technical assistance to these markets so that they could offer this healthy food access to community members.
  • Changing Practices and Policies: Both the City of Raleigh and Town of Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources departments implemented healthy snacking within youth sports leagues and camps, and both switched from sugary treats to fun, non-food treats for their annual Easter Egg Hunts. More than 55,000 children/year enjoy healthier snacks in Cary, Raleigh and other municipalities in Wake County.

For more about the impact we’ve made, see below. We could not have accomplished any of this work without our partners and advocates. Again, on behalf of the Board of Directors, our staff team and all those who have benefited from your commitment to a healthier Wake County, thank you. We know our partners will continue their excellent work to support a healthy Wake County.

We invite you to join us for a celebratory Open House on Wednesday, March 6 from 3-5 pm; RSVP here.

Sincerely,
Mack Ochs
Chair, Board of Directors
Advocates for Health in Action

Successes in Review

We’re so proud of the work of AHA and its partners. This far-reaching work around policy and systems change will continue to have positive impacts for Wake County residents for years to come. Here’s a snapshot of some of the successful outcomes of our work together.

ACEs: 

  • More than 100 organizations impacting thousands of people in Wake County are taking action to prevent future Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and build resilience for those who have experienced trauma to improve health and well-being in Wake County. Organization leaders are moving beyond awareness to action, including training staff.
  • 6,000+ people in Wake County have viewed the film Resilience since April 2017 when AHA, Wake County and the YMCA of the Triangle hosted the first film screening in the county and gathered community leaders to address ACEs.
  • Nearly 300 people from 168 county and Triangle organizations are trauma-informed as a key way to build resilience.
  • AHA staffed the first and only funded position dedicated to our community’s response to the impacts of ACEs.

Local Food Access: 

  • Wake County is home to more than 110 edible gardens/urban farms in schools, child care centers, child cares and communities. Many were started or supported through expertise, resources and network provided by AHA at Dig In!
  • More than 4,000 children in child care facilities are eating an average of 4.5 servings of locally grown produce—either purchased from a North Carolina farmer/supplier or grown on site, thanks to the amazing Farm to Child Care partnership.
  • 8 farmers’ markets in Wake County accept EBT/SNAP benefits to offer healthy food access to community members thanks to advocacy and technical assistance from AHA and Wake County Human Services.
  • AHA and partners lead the development of the Capital Area Food Network, our area’s local food policy council, which developed the Wake County Food Security Plan, and AHA supported changes in the City of Raleigh that would foster community gardens and urban ag.

Changing Practices and Policies

  • The Raleigh and Cary Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources departments implemented healthy snacking within youth sports leagues and camps. More than 55,000 children/year enjoy healthier snacks in Cary, Raleigh and other municipalities in Wake thanks to AHA’s tools, the Sports Snack Game Plan and the Camp Snack Game Plan.
  • Both departments also prioritized physical activity and healthy eating in their annual Easter Egg Hunts, by switching from eggs stuffed with sugary treats to fun prizes, as a result of AHA’s advocacy.
  • AHA provided input to the Wake County Parks’ Master Plan and the City of Raleigh’s Pedestrian Plan.
  • AHA worked with partners to grow walk and bike to school programs in Wake County through the creation of the Safe Routes to School in Wake County Toolkit and the Sneakers and Spokes Award program. A record number of schools – 47 of the 116 elementary schools in the Wake County Public School System (WCPSS), participated in Walk to School Day in 2018.
  • AHA awarded 43 schools, many multiple years, with its Brains and Bodies Award or its Sneakers and Spokes Award; the awards recognize best practices and policies being in place around school wellness.

Recognition for AHA

AHA has earned eightawards since 2014! We thank the organizations that supported and recognized our work for these awards!

  • Public Health Partner Award
    NC Association of Local Health Directors
  • Stan Norwalk Community Engagement Award
    Wake UP Wake County
  • Champion for Children’s Health
    North Carolina PTA
  • Certificate of Excellence
    Wake County Council on Fitness
  • Organization Award
    City of Raleigh Environmental Awards Program
  • Urban Stewardship Award
    City of Raleigh Environmental Awards Program
  • Urban Agriculture Award
    City of Raleigh Environmental Awards Program
  • NC Main Street Award for Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina–Best Public/Private Partnership
    honored with the Growers Market and WakeMed Health & Hospitals

FAQs

Will Dig In! be held on March 9, 2019?
No, Dig In has been cancelled. There are excellent resources in the community to support you in increasing access to healthy food through edible community gardens and urban agriculture.

  • Extension Master Gardeners of Wake County are an excellent resource for anyone interested in exploring what to consider in starting an edible community garden (at schools, child care centers, in parks, etc.)
  • Natural Learning Initiative houses an excellent package on child care production gardens.
  • School gardens are thriving at many schools in Wake County; reference this list and consider asking if you can tour their garden to learn more.
  • Wake Network of Care lists community gardens in Wake County; these gardeners may be a resource to you.
  • We are exploring whether some partner organizations may house some of the past Dig In! materials on their website.

Will the Brains and Bodies Award and the Sneakers and Spokes Award programs continue?
No, but we commend the schools that prioritize practices and policies for healthier students and staff.

Will the ACEs Resilience in Wake County Initiative continue?
Yes! SafeChild, which has been involved in the Initiative since its inception, will be the new home for the ACEs Resilience Initiative. Lisheema Barr, ACEs Resilience Project Coordinator, will continue to coordinate.

Will the Resilience film screenings scheduled at Marbles Kids Museum IMAX be held?
We anticipate that Marbles Kids Museum will continue to provide this service to the community. See all the screening dates and reserve free tickets for film screenings here.

Organizations also may contact Lisheema Barr about borrowing the Resilience DVD to show groups (staff, volunteers, Boards, funders, etc.)

How long will AHA resources be available through this website?
Access and download resources from AHA’s site by March 15.

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