As the end of the year approaches, the Texas State Alliance of YMCAs would like to take a look back on our accomplishments for the year 2013. Our collective endeavors, no matter how big or small, remind us that we are so thankful for the people who share in our cause and help positively impact the communities we serve throughout the state of Texas. Because of the thousands of children and families that we serve, we are able to strengthen community and make Texas a healthier place to live.
The Texas State Alliance of YMCAs is especially thankful for a grant we received from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. With this grant we were allowed the opportunity to launch the Statewide Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) initiative; an initiative in which we are charged with combating the childhood obesity epidemic in our state through policy, systems, and environmental changes.
As we set our goal to improve physical activity standards during in- and out-of-school time, we have worked diligently this year to build a solid foundation that will facilitate further advancing the mission of the PHC in 2014. For example, through educational meetings with elected officials and other stakeholders, we focused building strong partnerships. We have actively engaged local School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) in every school district where the Y serves to provide helpful information and make recommendations on increasing physical activity among students.
Internally, all Ys in Texas are now committed to providing more fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity time in all of our early childhood and afterschool programs by adopting the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) standards.
Also, this year the Texas Alliance of YMCAs representatives joined the steering committee for the Partnership for a Healthy Texas and Texas Action for Healthy Kids. In these roles, we hope to create policies that will reduce the childhood obesity rates in Texas and improve children’s overall health.
For more than 160 years, Ys across the nation have focused on improving the health of families and communities. In this newsletter, we would like to share some of the exciting highlights from the Ys across Texas. We wish you a happy holiday season and hope you will join in our cause and vision of making our state healthier.