By Eric C. Sharer, MPH, RD, CDN Wildwood Dietitian & HEAL Committee Co-Chair
HEAL started in 2014 as an initiative to improve nutritional habits and increase physical activity for the students at the Wildwood School. Some of the HEAL accomplishments included creating a greenhouse at the school, starting a weekly running/walking club, and instilling a healthier culture within the school.
In 2019, HEAL was able to expand its reach to all adults at Wildwood – including individuals that receive support as well as staff – thanks to a grant from CDPHP. The purpose of HEAL is to empower the Wildwood community to make choices and promote changes in their physical and social environment to improve nutrition and physical activity.
After months of building involvement from departments across Wildwood, the Adult HEAL Initiative kicked off with the National Nutrition Month challenge in March of 2020. The challenge included a virtual kitchen scavenger hunt and submitting photos of healthy home cooked meals and videos of people exercising. A large focus of HEAL is to embrace all of the healthy lifestyle choices you are already making, and this challenge helped to highlight this within the organization.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the challenge embraced positivity and fueled a variety of activities each month including virtual cooking classes, a joke contest to benefit laughter and mental health, guided meditations, an exercise awareness challenge, and a walking challenge, among others.
The HEAL committee is hard at work and looking to offer new activities for this coming fall, including a mindfulness challenge, expanding gardens within Wildwood, and putting an emphasis on how to increase access to healthy food throughout the organization. Please consider joining one of HEAL’s activities so that you can continue to live healthy and embrace active living!