Posted: Thursday, October 4, 2012

LiveWell Greenville announced today at Monaview Elementary School that it received a $1.95 million Community Transformation Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support healthy choices in schools and after school sites in Greenville County.    

Students in Greenville County Schools will reap many benefits from the grant.  Superintendent W. Burke Royster was on hand for the announcement, stating, “The grant provides a tremendous boost to expand the efforts already underway in Greenville County Schools. We all know the importance of good health to the academic performance of our students and to the wellbeing of our employees. The healthier our employees are, the better they are able to deliver services to our students and help us create a healthier community throughout Greenville County,” he said.

School Board Member Debi Bush, who is also on the Leadership Team of LiveWell Greenville, is excited about the impact the grant will have on Greenville County Schools.  “LiveWell Greenville has brought over 100 partners together to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” she said.  “Teachers across the district have found that students do respond to rewards other than candy. Parents have found that students love to walk to school. Students have learned that foods made from scratch taste better than hotdogs and processed chicken nuggets.”

LiveWell Greenville partners plan to expand successful strategies that include improving nutrition in schools and after school settings, increasing physical activity throughout the day, increasing Safe Routes to School programs and promoting tobacco-free environments.  

“We are pleased that Greenville County was selected for this grant award,” said Eleanor Dunlap, Lead Facilitator of LiveWell Greenville.  “It provides affirmation that the partnerships we have forged and the work already underway is providing a successful avenue for improving the health of our residents.”
One key grant strategy will provide financial support to schools and after school programs creating healthy environments, such as promoting physical activity, serving fresh fruits and vegetables, and supporting employee wellness. Schools and afterschool programs that develop and implement wellness plans can receive a LiveWell designation and $250 to support their activities, and those making exemplary changes are eligible for top prizes of $1,000.  Technical support will be provided to these schools and after school centers by LiveWell Greenville and Greenville County Schools.

Implementation partners include The YMCA of Greenville as the grantee and fiscal agent, Greenville County Schools, Safe Kids Upstate/Greenville Hospital System, Building Dreams, BOOST/Communities in Schools, Piedmont Health Foundation, Greenville Family Partnership and Meals on Wheels.   An evaluation team has been assembled with researchers from Furman and Clemson Universities.  

“As the host organization for LiveWell Greenville, the YMCA is committed to working in partnership with the many organizations and individuals seeking to make Greenville County a healthier place to live,” said Scot Baddley, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greenville. “We are dedicated to offering the healthiest environments for children and families served by the Y and throughout our community.”

This grant is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’s) Community Transformation Grants (CTG) to support public health efforts to reduce chronic diseases, promote healthier lifestyles, reduce health disparities, and control health care spending in small communities.

“The cost of managing chronic diseases in South Carolina is estimated to be $1 billion and growing,” said Matt Petrofes, Region 2 Director of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. “In the United States, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death, disability, and health care costs, accounting for 70% of all deaths each year and 75% of the $2.5 trillion spent annually on health care. Although chronic diseases are among the most common and costly health problems in the country, they are also among the most preventable.  We must take action to support health within all settings to address this crippling economic issue.”

By focusing on where people live, work, learn, and play, the CTG program is expected to improve the health of more than four out of 10 U.S. citizens—about 130 million Americans.  Overall, HHS awarded approximately $70 million in prevention grants to 40 awardees focused on improving the health of small communities across the nation.

Through the CTG program, HHS emphasizes the importance of support from the business community, school districts, community-based organizations, and other non-traditional partners as critical to reducing deaths and health costs due to heart attacks, strokes, cancer, diabetes, and other serious health problems. LiveWell Greenville has demonstrated a commitment to engaging leaders from all sectors to achieve the vision of making the healthy choice the easy choice for all.

(Source: LiveWell Greenville Press Release)

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