The Antioch Children’s Health Alliance plans to spend $150,000 in the next year or two figuring out how to best wage a campaign to get families to exercise more, provide better diets for kids and get more health checkups.
“This is a great opportunity for Antioch and for East Contra Costa County on looking at some healthy alternatives for our youth,” said Police Chief Jim Hyde at last week’s City Council meeting. “Right now for our youth population we are dealing with an increasing problem with obesity in reference to diet, and then also an increasing problem with juvenile diabetes at an epidemic level.
“This will be looked at as not only a model for the county of Contra Costa, but I think the state of California and ultimately the nation. We are a partner in this.”
In addition to the Antioch Police Department, the partners include the Antioch Unified School District and REACH Project Inc. The $150,000 seed money has been provided by the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Community Health Fund.
“We are thrilled to be a collaborative partner to start addressing some of the wellness needs for the students in the community,” Chris Hiroshima, AUSD chief academic officer, told the council. “We’ve already begun meeting, and we have some wonderful plans to move the project ahead. And I find it very exciting and I think everybody will be on board and be very supportive.”
Mickie Marchetti, who is the director of the Antioch Children’s Health Alliance, said the idea for the group was launched in January when the groups got together “to discuss and see about developing a project that would result in strengthening families.”
The discussions were prompted by Antioch’s Quality of Life forums in which youth problems in the community were discussed.
Marchetti said the goal “is that a project be put in place that is sustaining – certainly beyond this first year, but it’s one year at a time – with the focus on a long-term project that would motivate, mobilize and strengthen parents in caring for the better health of their children.”
Mayor Don Freitas said to John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health Fund President and CEO Grace Caliendo, “We appreciate your even entertaining a grant proposal, and then to actually award the grant proposal. I really truly want to thank you for having a true East County presence. I think we are all looking forward to this particular project. We think it’s going to be wildly successful.”
Caliendo responded, “We are very excited about this project. It’s the first city in the county that’s doing something like this. So we hope it’s going to be a model for other cities. And we hope that as soon as the planning process is done and there’s a real plan of action that we’ll move toward funding the program for several years.”
For more information, call Marchetti at 779-6908 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.