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People eating a healthy lunch


The Pierre ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation and Environmental change) vision began with knowing changes were needed to reverse the rising trends in chronic disease, obesity and unhealthy lifestyles. The ACTION committee of volunteers has three divisions—workplace, schools and community at large—and is working to promote positive change for the community. Goals include instituting healthy activities across sectors that promote nutrition and physical activity and increasing the nutritional values of cafeteria and institutional meals. After multiple meetings with businesses, schools,  individuals, organizations and coalitions, the partners, workplans and goals are taking shape and there is an excitement and agreement for change. People are able to say, ‘These are the facts; this is what is going on. What can we can do together to make this a safe place and a healthy place to live and raise our kids?’

The Pierre ACHIEVE chart team has been in active implementation for a year now and is currently reviewing the evaluation results and planning next steps. A partial list of the extensive activities to date includes:

  • Worked with school lunch staff to monitor school lunch nutritional offerings
  • Developed signage for community gardens
  • Developed action plan for healthy eating choices for community groups
  • Encouraged healthy meetings, vending and snacks policies and began implementation
  • Offered health screenings
  • Promoted stairwell physical activity campaigns
  • Revived and reactivated school wellness policy committee
  • Provided materials to school board, principals, PTO, etc about the academic benefits of proper nutrition and physical activity
  • Promoted sugar-free zones for classrooms, conferences, concessions, etc.
  • Promoted Farmers’ Market and community garden
  • Started working with the Discovery Science Center to develop and promote the Family Garden Club
  • Worked with grocery stores and local bookstore to provide and promote nutritious foods
  • Provided weekly news articles for the Capital Journal newspaper to promote and explain ACHIEVE activities and events; articles drafted by CHART team members

Tiffany Sanchez, Community Volunteer and ACHIEVE Co-Coach, was invited to present at the 2010 ACHIEVE Community Coaches meeting in Washington, DC. She said, “It was nice to visit with the other 2009 coaches that were present to share ideas, challenges and accomplishments. Although we all spent most of last year forming teams, doing assessments and jumping through the hoops of developing our plans, we are seeing barriers coming down and people really willing to make nutrition and physical activity a part of their lives—who doesn’t want to prevent chronic disease and improve quality of life? Forming the CHART team, completing the CHANGE tool, and developing the CAP (Community Action Plan) all take time, but the outcome is a clear direction with regard to positive policy, systems and environmental change. Patience, teamwork, passion, and commitment are key to moving forward.”

This initiative is designed to create awareness of unhealthy behaviors and problems, and also help communities to become more active and fit and to live healthier lives. After all, this is the purpose of the program—to change the lives of all for the better.