If your New Year's resolution is to exercise and improve your fitness in 2013, you may get a little help from an unlikely source: The Dexter Community Wellness Initiative.
After more than a year of planning, the coalition's comprehensive wellness plan was approved for funding by the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation, and will be phased in beginning this year.
The plan includes 21 program interventions designed to promote healthy eating, moving more, avoiding unhealthy substances, and connecting with others in healthy ways in the Dexter community.
"The Dexter Wellness Coalition’s ultimate goal is to create a culture of wellness in Dexter and help individuals, families, organizations, and businesses promote healthy lifestyle choices," the coalition wrote.
Roughly $172,000 was approved to fund the programs in Dexter.
Eat better interventions include after school and summer cooking classes for kids and adults focused on healthy and local foods. The program will be administered through Dexter Community Education.
Local grocers such as Busch's Fresh Food Market will provide a "What’s For Dinner?" program, offering easily accessible meal suggestions and easy to grab ingredients, to support family cooking. Cooking demonstrations and nutrition information will increase knowledge of healthy choices.
Dexter also requested funding for a school farm coordinator, who will design and develop interventions supporting education and outreach on healthy and local food consumption. Gardens at Dexter Community Schools would be expanded and foods would be offered in school cafeterias.
Move more interventions for the first year include Safe Routes to School, a national program to increase the number of school-age children who walk and bike to school. The coalition is also planning more community walks, and will create and strategically place maps at kiosks around the village to promote walking and identify new paths in the area.
Plans are also in place to offer a bicycle rental program administered through the village. Bikes will be loaned to encourage non-motorized transportation along paths, to nearby shopping areas, and throughout the village. The program will begin in March.
To help promote substance abuse prevention among Dexter youth, the coalition applied for funds to launch its SRSLY program.
SRSLY, which is text language for SERIOUSLY, is a community coalition made up of youth, parents, neighbors, coaches, teachers, librarians, doctors, police officers, pastors, business owners, and anyone else who wants to prevent destructive behavior in Dexter youth.
SRSLY Director Reiley Curran said it will take about six months to get the program up and running.
Matt Pegouskie, program and community resource manager for the CWF, said Dexter's wellness plan has the potential to bring positive healthy results to the community.
"Dexter's initiatives, combined with the opening of the Dexter Wellness Center, will have a large impact on the community. There are programs that all ages — from students to older adults — can participate in," he said.
To view the complete Dexter wellness plan, visit the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation website and click on "Dexter."