TIMMINS-MISIWAY HEALTHY KIDS COMMUNITY CHALLENGE
After two and a half years, the Timmins-Misiway Healthy Kids Community Challenge will be coming to an end this September.
Launched locally in May 2016 as part of Ontario’s Healthy Kids Strategy, Timmins was one of 45 communities across Ontario selected to take part in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge, a program funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to promote healthy eating, physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices for children. Misiway Milopemahtesewin Community Health Centre, with support from the City of Timmins, was chosen to lead the project within our community.
Over the course of the Challenge, community partners from different sectors across the city,such as public health, education, recreation and local business, came together to collaborate on programs that promoted healthy behaviours for children and families, offering up activities and information to help kids stay active and healthy.
“We had more than 40 different community partners participate in the Healthy Kids Community Challenge over the past two and a half years,” said Madison Mizzau, project manager for the Challenge in Timmins. “Because of the incredible support from local partners and the community, we were able to implement a total of 43 initiatives during the four themes of the Challenge and reach over 20,000 participants, which is amazing.”
The Healthy Kids Community Challenge was rolled out as a series of four themes, each focusing on a different area of children’s health.
The first theme was 'Run. Jump. Play. Every day.' This theme encouraged physical activity through a mix of active play, active transportation, sports and structured physical activity. As part of this theme, outdoor fitness equipment was installed in the north end of Mountjoy Historical Conservation Area (Participark).
The second theme, 'Water Does Wonders,' was launched in June 2016, and encouraged kids and families to reach for water when thirsty instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. This theme saw the installation of water bottle refill stations at two local parks, as well as 14 schools and non-profit organizations. Together, these indoor water stations have so far saved over 117,000 single-use plastic water bottles from landfill sites.
The third theme, 'Choose to Boost Veggies and Fruit,' was launched in April 2017, and encouraged kids and families to make vegetables and fruit a part of every meal and snack. During this theme, the Timmins-Misiway Healthy Kids Community Challenge hosted Family Cooking Classes, a weekly Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt, and provided 20 local schools with Tower Gardens to get students excited about growing and eating vegetables.
The fourth and final theme was 'Power Off and Play!' This theme was launched in January 2018 and encouraged kids and families to build a balanced day, replacing screen time with other activities, such as learning, physical activity, social interaction, and fun activities. As part of this theme, community partners provided many opportunities for families to participate in screen-free activities together at no cost, including the Amazing Race Week, the Power Off and Play Summer Calendar, and Outdoor Reading Kits at the Timmins Public Library.
“We would like to sincerely thank the community for participating in the Challenge and helping to make this program a success,” says Mizzau. “We hope that families were able to take away something positive from the Challenge, and will continue to incorporate the healthy behaviours and activities that the program promoted, into their everyday lives.”
Community members are invited to participate in an online wrap-up survey to share their thoughts on the program for a chance to win one of three grand prizes. The survey closes at midnight on Sept. 16 and can be accessed via the Timmins-Misiway Healthy Kids Community Challenge Facebook page.