CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Maine — The Cumberland County local Healthy Maine Partnerships in partnership with United Way of Greater Portland applaud the recipients of this year’s Let’s Go! Recognition Awards for their efforts to promote and support healthy eating and active living for the children they serve.
Nine local schools, 12 after-school programs, 14 healthcare practices, and 14 childcare facilities in Cumberland County received awards. This announcement highlights the community-wide effort to promote healthy living for children, from birth to age eighteen, by increasing physical activity and healthy eating, a priority for the local HMPs, United Way of Greater Portland, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Let’s Go!.
The awards were given to schools, childcare, and after school sites that met all or a portion 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; offering rewards other than food; providing children with opportunities for physical activity every day; and limiting recreational screen time. Each of these five, evidence-based strategies are being implemented in the majority of Let’s Go sites in Cumberland County. For example, 84 percent of childcares, 79percent of schools, and 95 percent of after-school sites are doing priority strategy 4 and providing opportunities for children to get physical activity every day for all or most students.
Healthcare sites were recognized for hanging a Let’s Go! poster in the waiting room and all exam rooms, accurately weighing and measuring pediatric patients, and having a respectful conversation around weight using the 5210 Healthy Habits Questionnaire. The Let’s Go! Healthcare sector is generously funded by Harvard Pilgrim Foundation’s Growing Up Healthy Initiative.
Let’s Go! offers these awards to sites that are working hard to move against the concerning increase in obesity of younger children.
One site of distinction, Feels Like Home Daycare of Westbrook, Jennifer Murphy Westcott, owner and director of the daycare, implemented a number of initiatives including adopting a sticker reward program and shifting the focus of celebrations away from sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages by inviting families to bring a book to share at circle time and rewarding the birthday boy or girl with a crown. She also ensures that her children go outside every morning and afternoon for fun, creative outdoor activities. In the occurrence of bad weather, Jen utilizes an indoor play space which was made possible by receiving funds from a competitive Lets Go! grant.
Nicole Gagnon, of RSU 5, who oversees five gold level sites in the school and after school sector, commented, “Having my programs be a part of the 5210 program is as important today as it was years ago when we started implementing the 5210 goals. In the beginning, it was a challenge to have the parents and staff “buy into” the practice, but now it is just a part of program as teaching letters and colors. It has been an amazing process and great support from all involved with the 5210 program.” Nicole’s sites are five of forty-three child care programs in the county have adopted Let’s Go policy recommendation of rarely or never using food as a reward, and of thirty-six child care programs that provide opportunities for physical activity every program day, program-wide.
United Way of Greater Portland and Healthy Maine Partnerships of Cumberland County are working together to reduce and prevent obesity with the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 program. Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program that started locally in twelve Greater Portland communities. Currently, Let’s Go’s healthy messages are reaching a total of 62, 143 students or patients in 43 childcares, 33 schools, 21 after-school sites, and 21 health practices across Cumberland County. 5-2-1-0 is an easy to remember health guideline: five or more servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity, and no sugary drinks. Let’s Go encourages policy change to make this message sustainable and, due to their involvement with Let’s Go in the past year, 13 schools reported their district strengthened their Wellness Policy to support the 5-2-1-0 message, and 18 schools did more to implement their existing wellness policy recommendations around nutrition and physical activity. Funding was provided by United Way of Greater Portland to Healthy Maine Partnerships of Cumberland County to work directly with child care facilities, schools and afterschool programs. Improving the health of the community’s children starting at birth is a priority for the Healthy Maine Partnerships in Cumberland County, which includes the Communities Promoting Health Coalition, Healthy Casco Bay, and Healthy Portland.
A complete list of Cumberland County award winners is below:
Manchester School, Windham (Silver)
Raymond Elementary School, Raymond (Silver)
Windham High School, Windham (Bronze)
Memorial Middle School, South Portland (Bronze)
Pond Cove Elementary, Cape Elizabeth (Bronze)
East End Community School, Portland (Silver)
Riverton Elementary School, Portland (Silver)
Morse Street School, Freeport (Bronze)
Yarmouth Elementary School, Yarmouth (Silver)
Laugh and Learn, Durham (Gold)
Laugh and Learn, Freeport (Gold)
St. Elizabeth’s Child Development Center, Portland (Gold)
Peaks Island Children’s Workshop, Peaks Island (Gold)
Shunk Child Care, Portland (Gold)
Trinity Day School, Portland (Gold)
Toddle Inn, Cumberland (Silver)
KIDCO Family Child Care, West brook (Bronze)
Feels Like Home Daycare, West brook (Bronze)
LIttle Dragonflys Childcare, Raymond (Bronze)
Peter Rabbit Preschool, Naples (Bronze)
Toddle Inn, Westbrook (Bronze)
Toddle Inn, Scarborough (Bronze)
The Opportunity Alliance Head Start Gorham Center, Gorham (Bronze)
RSU 5 RCE Laugh & Learn, Durham (Gold)
RSU 5 RCE Laugh & Learn, Mast Landing School, Freeport (Gold)
RSU 5 RCE Laugh & Learn, Morse Street School, Freeport (Gold)
Waldo T. SKillin Elementary After-School Program, South Portland (Bronze)
Cape Elizabeth Community Services After- School Program, Cape Elizabeth (Silver)
East End Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Hall Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Longfellow Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Lyseth Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Ocean Ave Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Riverton Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Reiche Before & After School Rec. Program, Portland (Bronze)
Barbara Bush Childrens Hospital Pediatric Clinic
Countdown to a Healthy ME
Family Medicine Center, Portland
InterMed Pediatrics, Portland
MMC Internal Medicine-Pediatrics
InterMed Pediatrics, South Portland
Family Medicine Center, Falmouth
InterMed Pediatrics, Yarmouth
Maine Medical Partners, Westbrook Pediatrics
Maine Medical Partners, Falmouth Pediatrics
Maine Medical Partners, Saco Pediatrics
Maine Medical Partners, South Portland Pediatrics