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Hope for the future

Patricia Bing knows kids. As the owner of a preschool for the past eighteen years, Patricia has seen and worked with a lot of children. In recent years, she’s notice that more and more of the kids are overweight or even obese. She knew she wanted to do something to help, but was at a loss as to what to do. She had tried a few things here and there, but really didn’t know what to do. When she went looking for affordable, easy-to-use programs, she came up empty-handed. Until, one fall day, Ms. Bing received a call from a person at the Henderson County Health Department with what might be her answer.

Tricia Stauffer, the health promotion coordinator for the Henderson County Health Department called to ask Ms. Bing if she would be interested in participating in a new program coming to the county. The state had allocated some money to the county to fund a program called The Childhood Obesity Prevention Demonstration Project. Ms. Stauffer explained that the whole community would be working together to help kids eat better and get more activity – doctor’s offices, hospitals, schools, churches and – yes – preschools. Part of the money could fund preschools to begin using the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC). NAPSACC helps day care directors and their staff assess their preschool environment – everything from what kind of milk they serve, to how the day is structured when it’s raining outside and kids can’t get out to play. Ms. Bing knew that NAP SACC was just what she had been looking for. She signed up immediately.

During the training that was provided, Ms. Bing learned many ways she could help the kids in her preschool, simply by making some small changes in the way her preschool operates. For instance, she ordered skim and low-fat milk for the children and she offered them more fruits and vegetables. She also took advantage of a mini-grant that allowed her preschool to buy 12 new tricycles for the children to use to get more activity. The kids were ecstatic. They could barely wait until the tricycles were assembled to go outside and ride them.

Ms. Bing has seen positive changes in her preschool children. They are getting more time outside and love the fruits and vegetables they get each day. She wants to teach the children how to live a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. “I appreciate all this grant has done for me in enhancing the lives of the children,” says Ms. Bing. She loves that the children are excited about trying new foods and engaging in physical activity, so much so that their parents and grandparents are excited too! She hopes to use NAP SACC for years to come to improve the lives of the kids in her preschool. And in her own, small way, make a difference for North Carolina.


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