YMCA awards grants for a healthy Southington

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Activate Southington, an on-going initiative administered by the Southington-Cheshire YMCA to improve the health and wellness of Southington residents, recently awarded grants of up to $500 to five community members for projects and programs that will provide a healthy lifestyle to residents.

Grants were awarded to Hacah Boros and founder of L.E.A.F. Mark Ramsay, Southington Public Schools Science Coordinator John Duffy, Director of Child Development at the Southington Community YMCA Katie Sherman, Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington director Joanne Kelleher, and Joy Through Laughter club member Leann Blanchard.

“One of Activate Southington’s goals is to help create a sustainable healthier community,” said John Myers, executive director at the SCCYMCA. “By providing financial support to local groups and agencies, we spread the generous funds we received from the Robert Johnson Foundation to help make Southington one of the healthiest communities in the state. We are thrilled to have such a variety of groups with such great passion and dedication.”

Ramsay and Boros will use their funds to create a town garden website to provide information to school garden clubs and community gardens. L.E.A.F. works to promote education through agricultural experience at the Lewis Family Farm in Southington.

Duffy will use the funds to build a garden at Kennedy Middle School, which is the only school in the district without a garden.

The YMCA Learning Center gardens will see some additions and refurbishing. The garden will serve as an interactive educational opportunity for children.

ECCS will host a free workshop for child care providers, “Gardening 101.” The workshop will be taught by a master gardener who will explain how to incorporate gardening into preschool curriculum.

Blanchard accepted the grant for the Joy through Laughter Club, a group exercise program for Southington seniors to use laughter exercises and breathing techniques to promote health.

Activate Southington is a town-wide initiative funded through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Each year, the organization accepts applications from local groups that have a specific project or program planned that will enrich and promote the health of the community.

The organization works year-round to support a healthy lifestyle in Southington. It is supported by a leadership team representing the community as a collaboration between the town, business and community leaders to identify opportunities to improve the community and take positive steps toward a healthy lifestyle.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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