Shrewsbury, NJ (June 7, 2018) – Youth development advocates from The Community YMCA joined over 100 Healthy U partners from YMCAs and schools across the state at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on May 18 to celebrate 10 years of community impact. Healthy U was also formally presented with the 2017 CATCH® Award for Excellence in State Health.

CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) is the nationally-recognized curriculum used in the program that is keeping children in 13 of Monmouth County school districts active and healthy. The award recognizes the partnership between the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and its 36-member associations for Healthy U’s efforts to promote nutrition education and increased physical activity in schools and YMCA childcare settings, advocating for policies that support healthy environments, and convening partners across the state to create a positive collective health impact.

More than 1,150 children throughout Monmouth County participate in the Healthy U program through The Community YMCA afterschool program in 30 schools. Additionally, 72 pre-k children in the Red Bank school district and 61 preschoolers at the Y’s Child Achievement Center in Matawan are engaged in the childhood obesity prevention program. Because of the many initiatives made possible by Healthy U, scores of Monmouth County children and families report that they are eating more fruits and vegetables, and consuming fewer processed and sugary foods. They are spending more time being physically active and less time in front of screens.

Attendees of the event participated in physical activity workshops such as: “Get Focused: Empowering Youth to Read and Exercise Fitness and Literacy Boot Camp” with Golden Martinez and “Yogapalooza: How to Immediately Incorporate Yoga & Mindfulness with Music, Beloved Activities, Tips, Tools and Creative Relaxation” with Bari Koral and participation games with CATCH and QB54.

The Healthy U program launched in 2008 as a collaboration between The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance with the goal of promoting healthy behavior and preventing childhood obesity through more physical activity, family involvement and nutrition education, said Laurie Goganzer, President and CEO of The Community YMCA.

“More than 76,000 children and their families have experienced Healthy U over the past 10 years at 480 YMCA early learning and afterschool sites and 70 schools across the state,” Goganzer said. “The Community YMCA is proud to be part of the collective impact of Healthy U.”

“It is critical to engage parents to get them more involved with their children to learn about good nutrition and the importance of daily exercise,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “Childhood obesity can and must be overcome, and with the support of more than 100 leaders coming together, it is our collective commitment and vast network of health advocates that will help us reach this attainable goal.”

Since Healthy U’s inception, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested more than $4.7 million to sustain the program through 2019. For more information on this program, contact, Stacey Lastella at The Community YMCA at slastella@cymca.org. Follow on social media at @YHealthyU.

The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For more information on The Community YMCA’s health initiatives in your community, call 732.671.5505, e-mail information@cymca.org or visit www.TheCommunityYMCA.org.

About Healthy U
The Healthy U program is the result of a collaborative partnership between The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and the New Jersey YMCA State Alliance. Through preschool, after-school and school-based programs, Healthy U impacts more than 90,000 children, ages 3 to 13, at 480 YMCA and elementary school sites statewide.   These YMCA afterschool and preschool programs and partnering schools are implementing environmental strategies and activities, and education to increase physical activity and promote good nutrition for students and their families.  Since its inception in 2007, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey has invested $4.7 million to develop and sustain the program through 2019. For more information, please visit www.njymca.org/main/healthy-u

About The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey
The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is committed to working alongside those who can help us improve our neighbors’ health, inform their health decisions and inspire them to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. The Foundation’s funding pillars are Caring, Connecting and Creating. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey is the sole member of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, both of which are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information please visit www.Community.HorizonBlue.com.  

 About The Community YMCA

The Y is a leading nonprofit charity that strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The Community YMCA serves more than 20,000 residents in greater Monmouth County, NJ through programs such as: preschool, before and after school care, summer day camp, teen leadership, arts enrichment, health and wellness and personal and family counseling. In 2017, the Y provided $871,250 in financial assistance and program subsidies to strengthen 1,746 children and families in Monmouth County. For more information, visit TheCommunityYMCA.org.