Healthy Heroes Initiative Receives Award

Posted on: March 6, 2015

This year, the Mississippi Association of Partners in Education’s top school-community partnership award ― the Governor’s Award of Distinction ― will be presented to the Laurel School District and Laurel Police Department for the Children’s Healthy Heroes’ Initiative. MAPE will present the 2015 partnership awards at the Governor’s Awards luncheon on March 18 at Pearl River Resort during the annual PREPS-MAPE Conference.

The Laurel School District partnered with the Laurel Police Department and Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation of Mississippi to launch a program for third and fourth graders focusing on fitness, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. The initiative involved more than 2,000 students and faculty members at Oak Park, Maddox, Nora Davis and Mason elementary schools.

As part of the initiative, uniformed police officers visited schools monthly to talk to children about health-related topics and engage them in physical activities to improve strength, endurance and agility. Officers also discussed proper nutrition and making healthier food choices.

After each health and wellness session, the Laurel Police Department participated in a community walk with students that included teachers, parents, government officials, community leaders and neighborhood residents. More than 600 participants walked in the first event at Oak Park Elementary as onlookers lined the streets to clap and shout words of encouragement.

In addition to improving health and wellness, student achievement and community involvement, the initiative helped build positive relationships between children and police officers and increased understanding of the many ways that police serve and protect communities.