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Healthy Heroes builds healthy habits – expanding in Pawtucket, Central Falls

Healthy Héroes afterschool program to expand to serve more students in both communities in 2023

More third graders in Rhode Island will have a chance to learn healthy habits that can have a lasting effect on their health and their lives. Healthy Héroes, a wellness program designed to encourage kids and their families to develop healthy exercise and nutrition habits, is expanding to serve more students in 2023. This year, Healthy Héroes had two successful pilot programs that included more than 48 students. 

“Building healthy habits for Pawtucket’s children and families is such a critical component of overall community health, especially as we are still dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Don Grebien. “That’s why we deeply appreciate Tufts Health Plan and Point32Health’s commitment to the Healthy Héroes program, as well as the collaboration with community organizations like the Pawtucket YMCA and Project Goal to get our young students more active and thinking about healthy food choices. We’re also thrilled that Healthy Héroes is set to expand in 2023 to serve even more Pawtucket children and families.”

The program, funded by Tufts Health Plan, a Point32Health company, brought together local community organizations including the American Heart Association, Pawtucket YMCA, SNAP URI, Project Goal, and the Empowerment Factory to provide fun afterschool programming to students at Ella Risk and Veterans Memorial elementary schools in Central Falls, and Curvin McCabe and Potter Burns elementary schools in Pawtucket. 

“Improving community health has been one of my top priorities as Mayor, and through programs like Healthy Héroes, we’re empowering our youngest residents to get active and make healthy choices at a young age,” said Central Falls Mayor Maria Rivera. “Afterschool activities are the perfect opportunity to promote physical activity and smart food choices, especially when they’re done with local community organizations. I’m excited that the Healthy Héroes pilot program is seeing promising early results and will be expanding to serve more of our children and families in 2023. Thank you to Tufts Health Plan, Point32Health and all the local organizations involved for supporting this wonderful wellness program in Central Falls.”

The Healthy Héroes program includes games, educational activities and child-friendly materials designed to help kids make better food choices and be more active. Students and families track their program success through a simple point system with incentives including individual rewards for top participants, healthy food prizes, and class parties at the end of the 8-week program.

“We are thrilled Healthy Héroes is working alongside our Child Opportunity Zone program, to expand opportunities to more students in Pawtucket,” said Dr. Cheryl McWilliams, Superintendent of Pawtucket Schools. “We are thankful for everything our community organizations do for our students.”

“We know that instilling healthy habits in families early pays huge long-term dividends in terms of reducing childhood obesity and other weight related health conditions, which can often become chronic,” said Domenic Delmonico, Executive Director for Public Plans at Tufts Health Plan, a Point32Health company. “This collaboration empowers children and families through simple and fun physical activities and nutritional education to build lifelong exercise and healthy eating habits. It is a true example that when public, private and nonprofit organizations come together, anything is possible. I want to thank all those involved, including Pawtucket and Central Falls, for helping us to continue our mission of guiding and empowering healthier lives for everyone.”

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