February 8, 2014

Lakes region schools and childcares receive recognition in the 5-2-1-0 Let's Go! program

The Let’s Go! Cumberland County team congratulates schools, childcares, after-school programs, and healthcare providers for their achievements in the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Program. On January 8th, a celebration event took place at The Opportunity Alliance in South Portland, where awards were presented and inspiration was shared. The Opportunity Alliance Let’s Go! Coordinator, Ashley Edmondson, was proud to present awards to the sites she supports, but in particular, impressed by the lakes region area. School district RSU 14 had three schools recognized in the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! recognition program for their efforts during the 2012-2013 school year- Raymond Elementary, Manchester School, and Windham High School. 

Raymond and Manchester received a silver award and the high school received a bronze award. All schools are continuing to participate in the program for the current school year. School District MSAD 61 joined this school year and has three schools that participate, Songo Locks, Sebago Elementary and Lake Region Middle School, and are making great strides towards Let’s Go! recognition. The district wellness team set a goal for all schools in the district to participate and be recognized on some level within the next year. In the childcare sector, Little Dragon Flies, and Peter Rabbit Preschool, both home-based childcare sites, received the bronze award. Other childcares involved include A Child’s World, Pollywogs Speckled Frogs, Country Fun Day Care, Pine Rock Childcare, Plummer’s Place, Musical Chairs, Children’s Discovery Center, Creative Kids Childcare and Learning Center and Bridgton and Casco Head Starts. Together this celebration event acknowledged and commended sites drive and dedication to creating a healthier environment for children. 
To be recognized at the bronze level, sites have to be implementing all of five priority strategies including providing healthy choices for snacks and celebrations and limiting unhealthy choices; replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water and low-fat milk; providing non-food rewards; increasing opportunities for children to get physical activity every day; and limiting recreational screen time. If a site has at least one of these strategies in policy then they are recognized at the silver level, and if all 5 are written into policy then they are recognized at the gold level. 

The keynote speakers of the evening included president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Portland, Suzanne McCormick and the director of the Let’s Go! Program, Dr. Tory Rogers. Suzanne McCormick acknowledged Cumberland County’s efforts to collaborate and integrate 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! into other initiatives designed to promote health in Cumberland County, including the local Healthy Maine Partnerships and Community Transformation Grant work. She shared 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! is continuing to grow in Cumberland County with 116 enrolled in the program who all are working towards increased access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity! Dr. Tory Rogers encouraged sites to share what they were most proud of and how the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! program has made an impact on the children they serve. Deborah, program director from A Child’s World, a center-based childcare in Windham, stated, “Listening to other sites share their story was inspiring and provided us with more ideas!” This was exactly why the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! Cumberland County team wanted to bring the various sectors together and share that participating sites are part of a state wide effort to improving health and wellness for all Maine children and families. 

Let’s Go! Cumberland County plans to hold this event annually and is excited to see more sites creating healthy environments for children to learn, live and play! For more information please visit www.letsgo.org and find your local Let’s Go! coordinator.

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