A Houston/Harris County Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative 
February 2016  /  Issue XXXIX

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HLM Winter Collaborative Meeting Highlights - Focus on Cross-Sector Approach  SavetheDate

HLM had a wonderful 1st Quarter meeting last month, with 74 Collaborative members and friends of HLM in attendance.

The meeting focused on the work that is being done by HLM and partners to affect change within the education, built environment, and healthcare sectors. Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services staff provided updates on the work that is being done to advance the HLM policy priories within these sectors. Representatives from the YMCA of Greater Houston, the Texas Hunger Initiative, the SPARK School Park Program, and MD Anderson Cancer Center provided examples of some of the work they are doing that aligns to various HLM policy priorities. 

Halfway through the meeting, Pasadena ISD staff representing the Kinesthetic Classroom Collaborative, lead the group in a series of exercises that are currently being conducted within Pasadena ISD classrooms to engage children in action-based learning. 

During the second half of the meeting, attendees formed groups and were asked to discuss additional opportunities to advance the HLM priorities within the different sectors. Each small group brainstormed action items for each sector that could be achieved within the next three months.

Healthcare sector breakout group discussing strategies that could be implemented within the next three months. 

To learn about these action items and other information shared at this meeting, click here to download a copy for the full meeting highlights.
SPARK Parks Make Park Access a Reality SPARK 

At the last HLM Collaborative Meeting, Kathleen Ownby, Executive Director of the SPARK School Park Program, provided an overview of SPARK. The program started in 1983 in response to a green ribbon study on how to increase parks in Houston. The solution was to "make use of public school grounds" since a major barrier was buying the land to create parks. This aligns directly with HLM Policy Priority P2, which is to "Support Harris County School Health Advisory Councils (SHACs) in implementing policy that requires physical activity (PA) subcommittees and recommendations for joint-use agreements or community/school partnerships".

Recently, the Houston Endowment asked The Trust for Public Land to study SPARK and its benefits to the Houston community. The Assessment of SPARK School Park Projects showed that SPARK parks are well-maintained, promote community involvement through fundraising and planing, and often provide the best way for neighborhood residents to get outdoors. The analysis also found that more than 300,000 people live near a SPARK park.

At this time there are 160 active SPARK parks in 15 school districts in Houston/Harris County.
For more information on the SPARK School Park Program visit sparkpark.org.  
City of Houston Invites Residents to Capital Improvement Plan Community Meetings CIP 

The City of Houston invites residents to participate in the annual Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) process at public meetings scheduled for dates in late February and through early March, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in each City Council district.  The meetings afford residents an opportunity to hear from city officials about CIP projects in their districts, voice questions and concerns and provide input regarding needed community improvements and services. ReBuild Houston updates and the City's draft Bike Plan will also be presented. To view the ReBuild Houston Draft "5 +5" Ten-Year Plan, visit www.rebuildHouston.orgTo view the city's Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2016-2018 and for a schedule of meeting dates by City Council district, visit www.houstontx.gov/cip
Take the VegOut! Challenge: 30 Veggies in 30 Days! VegOut

An easy, delicious food adventure created by Recipe for Success Foundation, the VegOut! 30 Ways in 30 Days Challenge is a year-round toolkit of resources that features a call to action every March:  A challenge to eat 30 different vegetables within the month, with special prizes and recognition for participants.  With your help, we will inspire a spring surge of healthy eating from coast to coast! Find out how to get involved at http://vegoutwithrfs.org. 
Featured Resource: Support for Early Care and Education ProgramsFeaturedResource   
Together Counts is seeking early childhood education or Head Start centers which offer a Pre-K program to apply for a $20,000 cash grant! The Smart from the Start Awards are designed to encourage preschool teachers to create practical, long-term improvements in nutrition and physical activity in their classroom. Ten second prize $2,500 cash grants will also be awarded. Deadline is Thursday, March 3rd, 2016. Click here for more information.  
Early Matters 2016 Summit
Friday, March 4, 2016 from 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Rice University, Alice Pratt Brown Hall, Stude Concert Hall, 6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005
More information

Presentation: The Link Between Urban Food Deserts and Community Health
Monday, March 7, 2016 from 11:45 AM - 1:30 PM
Rice University Baker Institute, Doré Commons, 6100 Main St, Houston, TX 77005
More information

Texas Trails & Active Transportation Conference
Wednesday, March 9 - Friday, March 11, 2016
Houston Marriott Medical Center, 6580 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030
More information

HLM-Pasadena Community Task Force Meeting
Thursday, March 17, 2016 from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Pasadena City Hall, 1211 Southmore Ave, Pasadena, TX 77502
For more information, contact Katie Chennisi at cchennisi@hcphes.org

Webinar: School Nutrition Policy and Practice
Tuesday, March 22, 2016 from 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
More information

To view more events, visit our Calendar of Events webpage