June 7, 2017
PITTSBURGH – The Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) announced today that the Deer Lakes School District has formally been designated as a Live Well Allegheny School. The announcement was celebrated at the district’s 8th Annual Employee Health & Wellness Fair.
“We know that what attracts people to Allegheny County and its municipalities most is the quality of life that we offer here. We are grateful to the Deer Lakes School District and North Versailles Township for joining us in our efforts for a healthier community,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “Along with the existing members of the campaign, each of these steps ensure that we continue to offer a great quality of life in our communities and that we are also focused on continuing to improve those quality and, along the way, the health and well-being of our residents.”
The Deer Lakes School District is committed to providing a healthy environment for their students and staff members. The district intends to start a school garden through a recent grant for Tower Garden growing units, which will use aeoroponic technology and grow a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, the high school will incorporate Life-Skills program in conjunction with hands-on approach to gardening practices. The Skyward communication tool has helped the school promote healthy food changes to school lunches, including increasing low-fat milk options over sugary beverages and limiting processed foods. Deer Lakes School District has a wellness committee that has developed a walking club for staff and offers a complimentary salad meal to one teacher per week for participation in the club. Lastly, the school district is participating in the “Building Healthy Schools” program with Penn State PRO Wellness.
“As the Live Well Allegheny campaign continues to grow, it is so exciting to see how communities and school are taking on activities for health. We now have 12 schools/districts and 46 communities who have committed to adopting live well activities,” said Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department. This is a movement and it takes all of us working together to make Allegheny County a healthier place.”
The Township of North Versailles has also joined the Live Well Allegheny campaign, having been designated as a Live Well Allegheny Community. The township has committed to a number of action steps in order to provide a healthier community for residents. The community promotes smoke-free buildings, perimeters, as well as parks by participating in the “Young Lungs at Play” program. North Versailles is also committed to providing residents with opportunities to be physically active by maintaining parks and recently developing a walking trail. The community actively promotes and supports local Farmers’ markets. Lastly, the township commits to sharing information on wellness campaign events with the broader community to encourage the voluntary participation of residents.
Participants in the Live Well Allegheny campaign work with Health Department’s staff. While monetary resources are not part of the initiative, participating workplaces can receive materials, information and collateral items to promote the campaign and their individual efforts to live well.
Live Well Allegheny was launched by County Executive Fitzgerald in January 2014 as a comprehensive, innovative strategy on wellness that embraces a broad concept of living well to include physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more. The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.