One of VFHY’s first childhood obesity prevention grantees, Get Fit Dan River Region has gone on to do some pretty amazing things, including winning a national contest and starting their own healthy cooking TV show!
“VFHY planted a seed here and it’s grown into something much bigger than we could have ever hoped for,” says Get Fit Dan River Region Program Director Stephanie Ferrugia. “It just blossomed and we’re not finished.”
Get Fit Dan River Region was among the first programs to receive funding through VFHY’s Healthy Communities Action Teams (HCAT) childhood obesity prevention grant program. From 2010 to 2012, Get Fit Dan River Region received funding as part of a $59,700 HCAT grant from VFHY to the Martinsville-Henry County (MHC) Coalition for Health and Wellness.
Founded in 2010, Get Fit Dan River Region used their VFHY funding to implement nutrition and physical activity education outreach programs in three public housing neighborhoods in Danville. Get Fit Dan River Region representatives held regular neighborhood events such as healthy cooking lessons, 5k walks or Zumba classes. They took teens to local grocery stores and taught them how to shop for healthy foods and held healthy food tastings. They promoted the news that the Danville Farmer’s Market was now accepting SNAP benefits, so people receiving food assistance could buy fresh, healthy foods.
Get Fit Dan River Region also launched a multimedia ad campaign to teach their neighbors about the 9-5-2-1-0 model for healthy living, which Get Fit Dan River Region representatives learned about at one of VFHY’s biennial Weight of the State childhood obesity conferences.
With its initial infusion of VFHY funds, Get Fit Dan River Region was able to launch sustainable programs that led to new initiatives such as creating a viral video to promote healthy living. The video, which won an award from the National Association of Community Health Centers, features hundreds of community members dancing to “Call Me Maybe” in the streets of Danville while they promote the 9-5-2-1-0 message.
More recently, Get Fit Dan River Region launched its own cooking show on local TV, What’s Cooking on the Dan, which offers healthy cooking lessons to Danville residents.
“We’re trying to take what y’all helped us start and take it to a bigger level,” Ferrugia says. “We’re trying to reach as many people as we can.”