For the past three years, the Union Gardens Elm Street Program run by the LEDC has improved the neighborhood through façade programs, homebuyer programs, new playground equipment, new trees and sidewalks, etc. Moving forward, we are widening our focus from brick-and-mortar programs to more public health and community programming partnerships. Through these initiatives, our Elm Street Program is “ensuring opportunities for residents to make healthy choices.”
The LEDC recognizes that children have a greater chance of achieving good health throughout life if they are raised in families that provide a well-regulated and responsive home environment. Our Healthy Community Initiative addresses “non-medical health needs” such as access to healthy food, youth and adult educational classes, social supports, and safe housing. Special attention is being paid to quality early childhood and family support programs and initiatives to foster healthy community development, building a bridge between personal health and community health.
Part of our initiative is to encourage exercise. The LEDC has partnered with Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital and developed “Steps to a Healthier You” historic walking tours featuring area neighborhoods. Mercy Fitzgerald provides free pedometers and we developed short walking tour maps to give everyone incentive to start an exercise regimen. The Annual Memorial Day 5K race sponsored by the LEDC is an extended step for this exercise program. We promote the support groups and classes provided by Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital through our social media pages and e-newsletter reaching over 3000 recipients. Stop in our office to pick up your free pedometer and walking tour brochures.
In the future, we will continue this partnership by using guidelines set forth by hospital nutritionists to analyze menu options of our area restaurants. We will work with the restaurants to come up with “heart healthy” food offerings for customers. Each participating restaurant will get menu stickers and plaques to designate the healthy menu. This partnership is in addition to our Farmers Market, which is one of the best in Delaware County and continues to offer fresh produce to residents of the area.
Our initiative is unfolding as we grow into this new role for the LEDC. Getting (and staying) healthy is something we feel strongly about and are excited to undertake.