The article is part of our series of blog posts featuring each of the individuals and/or organizations selected for the National AfterSchool Association’s Most Influential in Health and Wellness for afterschool. The Walking Classroom proudly sponsored the competition because of our strong belief in the value of afterschool programs and the importance of promoting healthier lifestyles for all kids.
Our next honoree is:
Arizona Empower Program
Phoenix, Arizona | http://azdhs.gov
Early Care and Education (ECE) Providers are in a special position to empower young children to learn habits that can keep them healthy for life. ADHS developed the Empower Program in 2010 as a voluntary program to support licensed ECE facilities’ efforts to empower young children to grow up healthy. The Empower Program focuses on 10 strategies to empower children to lead healthy lives. Participating facilities receive a 50% discount for child care licensing fees.
The Empower Program reaches more than 200,000 children in state-licensed and certified early care and education facilities throughout Arizona. Empower has won numerous awards for being a best practice; most recently, the program received the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) National Best Practice Award.
Facilities participating in the Empower Program pledge to adopt 10 standards that support healthy eating, encourage active play, prevent exposure to second- and third-hand smoke, practice sun safety, and promote good oral health habits in exchange for reduced licensing fees.
Selections were made by NAA based on strong advocacy for and support of health and wellness in afterschool. Those selected represent individuals and organizations whose service, action, and leadership align with and support the NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards and affect large numbers of youth, families, or afterschool professionals.
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