How Can You Lead The Change ?

In order to make a difference in the health and well-being of Middlesex County children, we need to work collectively to help make the healthy choice the easy choice in our community. Healthier children start with healthier environments.  We invite you to help Lead the Change! 

Lead the Change Video 

This video showcases stories of leaders across the County of Middlesex who have ‘led the change’ in their respective agency by changing organizational practices to support the healthy choice as the easy choice.  You can visit the Gallery to see the short-clip versions as well.  

Lead the Change Agency Stories

The following short stories are courtesy of our Healthy Kids Community Challenge Lead the Change Recognition Award Recipients, officially launched October 2016! 

Ailsa Craig Branch, Middlesex County Library 

Thank you to Anne Vandenbogaard, Ailsa Craig Branch, Middlesex County Library, for her Lead the Change story! 

Sweets are a thing of the past for treats and prizes at the Ailsa Craig Library. We are eager to be role models for all, and most notably the children in our community. We have water available for any program that drinks are served at. When a more substantial treat is called for we serve healthy choices.

For example, for our end of Summer Wrap Up party we provided cold refreshing water and veggie sticks in cups – already portioned for the kids.  Also at our Customer Service Week – we thought we’d treat everyone and had a bowl of fresh, local apples out. We have also cut out the treats at our adult book club and stick with water or tea and occasionally fresh fruit.

I must say the feedback has been very positive and encouraging.  As much as we can, we take the time to explain and discuss this new healthier attitude and encourage them to visit hkcc.middlesex.ca!

As well, we incorporate healthy eating and physical activities into any of our programming – such as story times, PA Day Programs and Family Fun Days.  

Congratulations and thank you for your commitment to supporting #healthykidson  

 

Sacred Heart Catholic School, London District Catholic School Board 

Recently, Sacred Heart installed a Water Bottle Filling Station to help increase access to tap water and support efforts in encouraging children to pack a refillable water bottle in their school lunch. We look forward to working with the school community on further promoting Water Does Wonders! 

Sacred Heart as well has supported their students in active play with the naturalization of part of their school grounds. The children love their new space! 

Evidence shows that naturalized school grounds support children in moving in ways that promote physical, social and cognitive health benefits and support children in playing actively for longer periods of time! These are just some of the benefits. You can read more on the benefits of naturalized play areas by clicking on the following link:

NATURALIZED OUTDOOR PLAY AREAS AT SCHOOLS TO SUPPORT PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTH – HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RAPID EVIDENCE REVIEW REPORT 

Congratulations and thank you for your commitment to supporting #healthykidson!

 

Little Lambs, Child Care, Strathroy

Thank you to Cristina Gillan, Executive Director, Little Lambs Child Care for her Agency story. 

Cristina went down to the preschool room one morning and the staff and children had started to create a water area along with inspiring water messages. The children offered their insight into what water does for them! "I am super excited that the staff took it upon themselves to go above and beyond" says Cristina.  

As well, these lovely ladies dressed up as fruit in celebration of Halloween and in the spirit of healthy choices! Now that is role modelling!

Congratulations and thank you for your commitment to supporting #healthykidson!

 

Other ways you can Lead the Change! 

Municipal Services (such as parks and recreation, social services, public health units, municipal governments)

  • Map locations of existing drinking fountains or filling stations and promote their use with signage or other promotional materials (e.g., provide re-usable water bottles).
  • Assist with planning community events that will reflect your community’s needs and the ‘Water does Wonders’ theme
  • Share expertise on best practices and resources for drinking water safety, health promotion and chronic disease prevention
  • Improve access to fresh drinking water by installing new fountains, filling stations or by offering mobile filing stations/fountains for use at community events
  • Promote fresh drinking water policies that create healthier environments in municipal settings such as parks, playgrounds, recreation centres, sports facilities, trails/bike paths and other municipally owned buildings and public spaces.
  • Promote policies to maintain and expand fresh drinking water sources in municipal settings
  • Explore policy options to limit or restrict the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in your municipality’s food service outlets and public facilities.
  • Eliminate the option of bottled beverages in municipal buildings and parks, as well as at special events, and replace it with access to public tap water rather than with other bottled drinks, such as sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Offer non-fountain sources of drinking water (e.g. dispensers, pitchers, coolers) in areas where drinking fountains are not feasible.

Schools, school boards, parent councils and child care facilities

  • Encourage school and child care staff to model healthy behaviours for drinking water
  • Promote drinking water in school through daily announcements or school newsletters
  • Hold school assemblies and contests on the importance of drinking water
  • Integrate the importance of drinking water into curriculum where appropriate
  • Organize an art competition to develop posters that promote drinking water in school
  • Offer and encourage drinking water during lunch, nutrition breaks and physical activity
  • Ensure drinking water fountains are clean and functioning properly
  • Consider providing cups or re-usable water bottles at drinking fountains and other sources of water to encourage students to drink more water
  • Offer non-fountain sources of drinking water (e.g. dispensers, pitchers, coolers) in areas where drinking fountains are not feasible.
  • Provide and allow students to have re-useable water bottles in classrooms and keep them at their desks
  • Include language about drinking water access in school wellness policies

Health care providers and organizations (such as physician offices, paediatricians, family health teams, community health centres, hospitals, oral health care providers)

  • Counsel parents and caregivers on the importance of drinking water and its benefits to oral and general health
  • Share knowledge, expertise and resources to support increased consumption of water and healthy beverage options
  • Post promotional and educational material in offices and waiting rooms

Private partners (such as local grocery stores, gyms, fitness centres, restaurants, banks, businesses and industries)

  • Offer to re-fill re-useable water containers at retail outlets
  • Ensure drinking water fountains in private facilities are clean and functioning properly
  • Share information with employees, clients and community members on the safety and health of drinking tap water
  • Provide funding for planning, running or evaluating initiatives
  • Provide in-kind support that taps into the private partner’s products, services or expertise. For instance, private companies might have data on consumer behaviours or social marketing expertise. They may be able to help with printing materials, or donate media space, supplies or equipment
  • Make a commitment to not market sugar-sweetened beverages to kids and remove them from check-outs.
  • Encourage employees to join/support The Healthy Kids Community Challenge

Voluntary or non-profit organizations (such as the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, 4H Clubs, United Way, settlement and immigrant services, recreation/sport organizations)

  • Eliminate the option of bottled beverages in organization buildings, as well as at special events, and replace it with access to public tap water rather than with other bottled drinks, such as sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Ensure drinking water fountains in organization buildings are clean and functioning properly
  • Consider providing cups or re-usable water bottles at drinking fountains and other non-fountain sources of water
  • Offer non-fountain sources of drinking water (e.g. dispensers, pitchers, coolers) in areas where drinking fountains are not feasible.
  • Offer and promote consumption of water during after-school programs.  Encourage children participating in after-school programs to bring a re-usable water bottle with them to programming. 

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