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Dexter Completes Wellness Plan, Applies for Grant Funding for Fitness Programs

Bicycle rentals, a youth substance prevention coalition, and healthy cooking classes are part of a comprehensive plan for funding from the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation.

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."

Shawn Letwin February 07, 2013 at 12:24 PM
I think the overall intent of this program is great. I am troubled by the aspect that Dexter Schools is using a portion of its budget (intended for the childrens educational experiences) will be used to support 1/5th of the salary for the coordinator of the 5 Healthy Towns program overseen by CWF. I also truly hope that the position of school farm coordinator is wholly subsidized by the grant (now and throughout the entire program) and that no monies from the general fund of the school district are used. If the program is for the community, let the community support the positions (Village and townships) and not the Dexter school budget. But with Cobler having a significant role in the Chelsea Wellness Foundation, he may have inappropriately influenced the decision by the school board to fund a non-classroom expense for the community coordinator and possibly the school farm coordinator. I am equally troubled that although we have two pools in the school district, one of them designated the "community pool", but the availability to the general public during the evenings and on weekends is virtually non-existent. So the taxpayer will have to pay to use a pool in the community. It is great that the SRSLY program is coming to Dexter. Having volunteered in the Chelsea program, it is awesome. The location of the Chelsea summer program is incredible-not sure where an equivalent venue can be found in Dexter.
Jennifer Schwab-Williams February 26, 2013 at 12:06 PM
I was very disappointed at the membership costs. We have a large family and it would cost nearly $200/month for us. Not to mention the $400 membership fee (although that is being waived if you enroll now) Even in this area that is a pretty big addition to a budget. I think that the whole point should be to offer affordable ways for the community to become healthy and active. At this cost, we would have to work overtime just to cover the costs and have no time to fit in a trip there. Not worth throwing off our budget so much when we can travel just a little further to the Y or One on One Club.
MGOBLUE February 27, 2013 at 05:10 AM
"Sales Office" is a curious name for the place you register to be members. It sounds like a time-share. It's also curious that no prices are posted on their website. That's really not acceptable these days. People comparison shop on the web, and they might as well just tell us. It puts me off to go to the website and only see sales pitches with no useful details. And by useful, I mean the actual prices. I love the center. I'd love to sign up. But I really need to know how much it's going to cost.

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