Recently, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported that Cumberland County ranks last in state health outcomes in New Jersey. Vineland is the largest city in Cumberland County and is home to almost 40% of all residents that reside within its borders. About 25% of all children living in Vineland are overweight. To combat chronic disease and childhood obesity, LIVE HEALTHY VINELAND has begun spearheading Safe Routes to School Programs.

In celebration of Bike to School Day 2015, LIVE HEALTHY VINELAND coordinated one town wide bicycle rodeo and two bike to school days. On the 16th of May, the 2nd Annual Community Bicycle Rodeo was held in conjunction with Founders’ Day at Elwyn Grounds. Over 150 helmets were fitted and given out courtesy of Safe Kids. Cooper Hospital’s Emergency Medevac Unit landed Air Two on a field adjacent to the bicycle rodeo where children who completed the course could tour the helicopter. Cross County Connection TMA, the Vineland Health Department, the Vineland City Police, the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA, and the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey disseminated bicycle safety posters, bicycle reflectors, and a variety of other educational materials.

The 2nd Annual Community Bicycle Rodeo served as an opportunity to educate students on how to be safe bicyclists prior to participating in bike to school events. On May 6, Max Leuchter Elementary School participated in their first Bike to School Day. Ten helmets provided by Cross County Connection were raffled off to students in need of one. The Vineland Police Department reviewed with students the importance of bicycle safety and how to brake properly. On June 5th, Sabater Elementary School held their 2nd Annual Bike to School Day. Fifty helmets were given out and fitted for students in need of one, as the YMCA conducted advanced bicycle skill lessons. The City of Vineland is a recent recipient of the Safe Routes to School infrastructure grant due in part to the accomplishments of Sabater Elementary School in organizing a sustainable Safe Routes to School Program.

LIVE HEALTHY VINELAND is a partnership of several public and private organizations that aim to make Vineland a healthier place to live, work and play. The initiative is an extension of the New Jersey Partnership of Healthy Kids-Vineland (NJPHK-V), which was founded in 2009 with co-directorship by the Cumberland County YMCA and the Vineland Health Department through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. LIVE HEALTHY VINELAND aims to expand the reach and accomplishments of NJPHK-V through a variety of community, school, and work based initiatives. Over the next three years, LIVE HEALTHY VINELAND has plans to create a Travel Plan for each of the City’s 12 public schools.

Thank you David Calderetti of the Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA for putting this post together about the great work that has been happening in Vineland!

[lightbox link=”” thumb=”×705.jpg” width=”940″ align=”center” title=”DC2″ frame=”true” icon=”image”]