On February 1, 2011, the City of Winter Park—with a lot of help from community partners and a group of wiggly Lakemont Elementary School kindergartners—officially launched Tobacco-Free Parks month.
Together, community leaders and children posted the first of about 80 signs that were to be scattered in city parks announcing Tobacco-Free February and asking visitors to “Please help us promote a healthy environment.”
Though relatively small in size, the signs are an outward sign of a major effort underway to boost the health of the Winter Park community prompted by the local ACHIEVE Healthier Communities Leadership Team.
Made up of local leaders and stakeholders from the public and private sector, the ACHIEVE (Action Communities for Health, Innovation & EnVironmental ChangE) Leadership Team was convened by the Winter Park Health Foundation in 2010, and it is focused on making Winter Park a healthier place to live, learn, work and play.
Team members use a planning framework designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their work is focused on making the healthy choice the easy choice through the development of policies and practices that focus on increasing physical activity, improving nutrition, and eliminating tobacco use.
The CDC’s national ACHIEVE initiative is designed to engage communities throughout the country in developing partnerships and programs that result in healthier communities and less chronic disease. The CDC has selected about 100 communities across the country to participate. The Winter Park Health Foundation has partnered with the CDC to implement the ACHIEVE model in Central Florida beginning in Winter Park. Eventually, the Foundation plans to expand these efforts into its other communities of focus – Eatonville and Maitland.
Communities working in partnership with the CDC receive free technical assistance and training, and get access to the CHANGE (Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation) assessment tool. The tool can be used to size up policy, systems and environmental change strategies already in place in a community and help local community leaders prioritize needs and allocate available resources.
The local team is made up of representatives of the City of Winter Park, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, Orange County Public Schools, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Health Department, the Central Florida YMCA, Orange County Government, UCF, Publix, St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church and the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF).
After receiving training from the CDC at an Action Institute in Tampa during summer 2010, the local team used the CHANGE tool to do the groundwork necessary to better understand the current health of the community and look for opportunities for change. It has created its mission and vision statements and developed a multi-year community action plan for Winter Park.
Vision: Winter Park, FL is a community where healthy living is a priority and possible for all residents.
Mission: The ACHIEVE leadership team will work to enhance the health of all Winter Park residents and make the healthy choice the easy choice through the development, implementation and evaluation of policies and practices that focus on improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and eliminating tobacco use.
Action Plan Priorities:
- Tobacco-free outdoor public places
- Safe and friendly streets for all users (including pedestrians and cyclists)
- Worksite wellness
- Health-supporting programs and practices at the new Winter Park Community Center (opening late summer 2011)
Winter Park’s Tobacco-Free February proclamation was stimulated through the work of the ACHIEVE Leadership Team and spearheaded by several of its members including Mayor Ken Bradley and Assistant City Manager Michelle del Valle. It is hoped it will lead to a more permanent tobacco-free designation.
“This is a terrific first step and our first observable ACHIEVEment toward a healthier community!” said Debbie Watson, WPHF Vice President and one of the Foundation staff who serve as “coaches” for the Leadership Team.
“We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the CDC to create a healthier community starting in Winter Park; and we are thankful for the enthusiasm and dedication shown by all of our Leadership Team members,” she said. “2011 is going to be an important year for us as we begin to put plans into action.” For more information on the national ACHIEVE initiative, go to www.achievecommunities.org.
ACHIEVE Winter Park Leadership Team
Cathy Csemyck-Laschober – Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church
David Overfield – Orange County Health Department
Dwaine Stevens – Publix Supermarkets
John Cardone – Central Florida YMCA
Joie Cadle – Orange County Public Schools School Board
Ken Bradley – Florida Hospital & Mayor, Winter Park
Marian Chase – University of Central Florida-College of Nursing
Michelle del Valle – City of Winter Park
Patrick Chapin – Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
Sharon Line Clary – Winter Park Memorial Hospital
Susan Caswell – Orange County Government
Lisa Portelli, Diana Silvey & Debbie Watson – Winter Park Health Foundation
Many members of the ACHIEVE Winter Park Leadership Team attended the launch of Winter Park’s Tobacco-Free Parks month including, from left, Marian Chase, Diana Silvey, Michelle del Valle, Joie Cadle, Patrick Chapin, Ken Bradley, Debbie Watson, Lisa Portelli, and David Overfield.