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PUBLISHED: 8:07 AM on Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska awards community grants
SITKA - The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program awarded small grants worth $85,000 to five Southeast community groups so they can implement community-based wellness programs and policy changes.

The grants were available to not-for-profit, community-based organizations, such as faith-based groups, after-school programs, coalitions, and local and tribal governments in Southeast Alaska. The community organizations are required to promote at least one of the following wellness efforts - physical activity, clean air or nutrition/healthy eating. Community organizations have to complete their projects by the end of February 2009.

"We are excited to work with these groups as they take the next step toward making their communities healthier places to live, work and play," said Gretchen Clarke, Community Coordinator for the SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program.

The grants were awarded to these groups (note that descriptions only summarize some of the grant activities):

• Alaska Island Community Services, Wrangell, $17,500, will work toward a community-wide media campaign to educate the community of Wrangell about the effects of secondhand smoke and the importance of reducing tobacco use among youth and adults. The media campaign will be designed to build community readiness to protect the public from the dangers of secondhand smoke and reduce tobacco use.

• Chilkoot Indian Association, Haines, $20,000, work toward a community-wide media campaign to educate the community of Haines about the effects of secondhand smoke and the importance of reducing tobacco use among youth and adults. The media campaign will be designed to move the community to understand the dangers of secondhand smoke and the value of clean air.

• CoastAlaska, Juneau, $12,500, will engage in a region-wide media campaign to raise public awareness regarding physical activity, nutrition and clean air in Southeast Alaska. They will collaborate with Steps to a Healthier Southeast Alaska to produce enhanced public service announcements that will be broadcast throughout the Southeast Alaska listening area which encompasses 31 communities.

• Healthy Wrangell Coalition, Wrangell, $17,500, will work toward a community-wide employee wellness campaign beginning with the five largest employers within Wrangell. The employers will work together providing mutual support and accountability as they establish worksite wellness program and policy within their respective organizations.

• Sitka Community Schools, Sitka, $17,500, will actively work with the Hames Center Task Force to establish a long-term sustainability plan for the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center by hiring a consultant to work with the group.

The SEARHC Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program targets three main focus areas - obesity, diabetes and asthma - by working with schools, worksites and other community groups to increase physical activity, encourage healthy eating and reduce tobacco use. The Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska program is part of a national Steps to a Healthier US program run by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, contact Steps to a Healthier SE Alaska Community Coordinator Gretchen Clarke at 966-8629.


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