BETHEL, NY— On September 21, just before the weekend rain rolled in, Sullivan 180, a nonprofit dedicated to improving health in Sullivan County, hosted its third annual Empowering a Healthier …
BETHEL, NY— On September 21, just before the weekend rain rolled in, Sullivan 180, a nonprofit dedicated to improving health in Sullivan County, hosted its third annual Empowering a Healthier Generation (EHG) awards ceremony. Schools in the county that had participated in the Healthier Generation program over the 2022-2023 school year were honored and grants for the coming year were awarded.
Guests mingled on the patio of the museum building of Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, a longtime partner of Sullivan 180, as the sun gleamed golden over the pristine lawns. Hors d’oeuvres by Legends Catering and live music took place inside before the ceremony.
Attendees included Sullivan 180 donors, staff, partners, teachers, Healthier Generation advisors, district wellness coordinators who facilitated the school programming, student participants and local officials. The last included county manager Josh Potosek; John Liddle, commissioner of health and human services; acting director of public health Karen Holden; and other local officials.
The ceremony opened with a performance of “What a Wonderful World,” sung by Morris German, a Monticello High School youth vocalist, intended to remind the audience of the beauty that exists in the world around us. The welcome speech by MeaghanMullally-Gorr, Sullivan 180 director of health and wellness, highlighted the importance of preserving that beauty “by ensuring the health of the next generation.”
The EHG program, which champions prevention as a means to improve health outcomes in Sullivan County, implemented a multitude of in-school programs over the 2022-2023 school year to create healthier habits among Sullivan’s youth.
Facilitated by Sullivan 180, each of the 10 participating school districts—with the help of district wellness coordinators and individual school Healthier Generation advisors—implemented various school-specific programs to improve health. Representatives from each district spoke about the health and wellness highlights, including student yoga, a blender-bike activity, a mental health curriculum, a focus on nutrition in the cafeteria, outdoor mobile classrooms, building a garden, school fitness centers open to the community, gaga ball pits (a variant of dodgeball), the implementation of walking classrooms and much more.
The first EHG awards, sponsored by the Gerry Foundation, were also announced. Taking home first place and $75,000 was Sullivan West Elementary School. Second place, with an award of $50,000, went to Benjamin Cosor Elementary in the Fallsburg School District.
To judge the EHG award winner, various health and wellness stakeholders from outside the county—to prevent bias—reviewed the schools’ EHG work done over the 2022-2023 school year. Judges considered final school reports, heard presentations from each school, and even visited each school to assess the projects in action. These grants will contribute to the continuation of health and wellness initiatives in the 2023-2024 school year.
Turtle Awards of $500 each acknowledged schools and school leaders, faculty, and parents for their contributions toward healthier lifestyles.
Collaborator awards—Fallsburg High School and Sullivan West Elementary School,
Mental Health Award—Sullivan West Elementary School,
Mother Earth Award—Livingston Manor Central School,
Nutrition Awards—Fallsburg Central School and Livingston Manor Central School,
Physical Activity Awards—Monticello’s George L. Cooke Elementary School and Robert J. Kaiser Middle School.
The Grant Project of the Year was awarded to Monticello’s Robert J. Kaiser Middle School for a project led by Scott Cooper. The Committee of the Year Award went to Livingston Manor Central School, for a group led by Calley Erlwein and René Carlson. The HG Advisor of the Year Awards went to both Elisa Mendels from Monticello’s George L. Cooke Elementary School and Calley Erlwein from Livingston Manor High School.
Turtle Awards were sponsored by local businesses and organizations including Wendy Brown in loving memory of John Brown, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County, Foster Supply Hospitality, the Gerry Foundation, Jeff Bank, M&T Bank, NYSEG, the Sullivan County Democrat, Thompson Sanitation and the Zufall Family Foundation.
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