Celebrating Two Years of the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program
By: Kristin Kessler, RDN, CDN, CYT, Project Manager, Department of Health and Wellness, City of Kingston
Creating Healthy Schools and Communities Program
Creating Healthy Schools and Communities (CHSC), a New York State Department of Health-funded project through the City of Kingston, is thrilled to share an update on activities and successes after wrapping year two and entering into year 3 of the five-year grant. With a goal to make healthy choices easy choices in Kingston, CHSC does this by supporting policy, system, and environmental changes that increase access to nutritious food and physical activity in our schools, community, and early care centers.
Two years in, and we’ve developed meaningful, wonderful partnerships with organizations and individuals across our community. To date we’ve worked with six community nutrition partners, four elementary schools, 15 daycares and early care centers, and on six pedestrian or cyclists support projects.
A few of our project highlights include:
- 1 Pedestrian Bicycle Master Plan Policy Created
- 3 KCSD School-Based Wellness Committees Formed
- 5 Community Nutrition Policies Created
- 5 Water Fill Stations Installed
- 162 People Trained in Nutrition and Physical Activity
- 1554 Kids Reached
We’ve also hosted a culinary nutrition training through The Teaching Kitchen for our community nutrition partners, and were featured in a Hudson Valley 1 article about the many new wellness initiatives we’ve launched through this state-funded program. Check out our Overview of CHSC Years 1-2 to read more!
Click on the timeline below to see a brief, yet comprehensive overview of our activities over the past few years:
Two of the projects we’re particularly proud of and excited to share include the designing of the two new greenspaces at the Broadway and Prince intersection, and the Spinach Fest hosted at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in collaboration with the Rondout Valley Growers Association.
Spinach Fest at John F. Kennedy Elementary School
During the 2022-2023 school year, three schools received training, technical assistance, and resources to increase access to healthy food outside the school meal program. Building on a successful pilot year, the Kingston City School District food service expanded the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program to two more schools with advocacy and coordination from building wellness committees. The Rondout Valley Growers Association, a local farm coalition, provided locally grown spinach for the first annual “spinach fest” after school event at John F. Kennedy Elementary School that celebrated May’s vegetable of the month with various spinach tastings, gardening, face painting, and more!
Check out our Community Collaboration Offers Fresh Produce & Kids Eat It Up! success story to learn more about this fun and nutritious event!
Designing Two Greenspaces at the Broadway and Prince Intersection
In 2022, the City of Kingston, NY, hired KaN Landscape Design to develop a community-driven design of two new greenspaces along the Kingston Greenline (a network of trails and complete streets) to support and encourage walking and bicycling. The outreach feedback was the most diverse of recent City projects, and resulted in a beautiful design that the City will be implementing Phase 1 of construction on in either Fall 2023 or Spring 2024.
Check out our Planning an Everyday Destination for the Local Community success story to learn more about this fun and project!
With all of these exciting events, we can’t wait to see what Years 3, 4 and 5 will bring from the Creating Healthy Schools and Communities program. We already have plans to expand the number of schools, daycares and early care centers, and community nutrition centers that we work with. We are launching a city-wide veggie of the month campaign this September, are looking to install bike racks across the city to make riding your bike to your destination easier by providing a safe place to put it, will be creating a plan to create wayfinding signs for the Greenline that helps to direct you, and many more fun, meaningful, and impactful activities.
If you are interested in learning more, contact:
Kristin Kessler, RDN, CDN, CYT