Lisa Nimmer, right, dances with children from First Steps Early Child Development Center during its student achievement program in August. (File Photo)
Lisa Nimmer, right, dances with children from First Steps Early Child Development Center during its student achievement program in August. (File Photo)

Archived Story

Healthy Kids celebrates 15 years

Published 3:45pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013

If children truly are our most valuable resource, then Healthy Kids Inc. has ensured that the Greenville area’s future will indeed be a bright one.

For the past 15 years, the non-profit organization has been dedicated to the well being of Alabama’s children in all aspects of their lives.

Lisa Nimmer, executive director of Healthy Kids, mused on the past 15 years with fond reminiscence.

“It has been an absolutely wonderful experience to be able to serve the community and bring a program to our area that can help empower families,” Nimmer said.

Children’s health is a broad topic, but a comprehensive problem requires a comprehensive solution.

To that end, Healthy Kids has established a number of ongoing programs to tackle a variety of issues, from child abuse awareness to nutrition and everywhere in between.

Through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), children in daycare facilities receive up to two nutritious meals alongside a snack, free of charge.  During the 15 years following the program’s inception, more than 8,400 children have been provided these meals and snacks.

The newer Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY) Program aims to give parents lessons, books and other materials necessary for their children to succeed.

Because the program is flexible, parents are able to participate at their own convenience.

“Any time you’re trying to make a difference, you have to have a multifaceted approach,” Nimmer said.

“Because of that, we’ve offered those programs to help benefit the children and benefit the community. We know that child obesity is an issue and if we can provide quality programs to ensure that our children get what they need at an early age, they won’t have the issues and problems that we’re having because we’ve laid the foundation in their early life.”

But the community plays as large a role in the organization’s success, driving home the old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

“We do well when we send a unified message,” Nimmer said.

“Everything we do ends up coming back around. As we invest in children early in life, for every dollar we invest, our community will get back $7.”

But there’s more on the horizon for Healthy Kids.

The organization has begun a major fundraiser with a T-shirt campaign, encouraging all area students to submit a design for the shirt by Feb. 22.  One lucky design will be chosen for this year’s shirt, and then all area residents will be asked to support the program by wearing it every Friday in April.

Also that month will be a 5-K/10-K run at Confederate Park on April 13.

Roughly 200 runners have already committed to the event, but volunteers are still needed.

The run won’t be all about the competition, though—the entire affair is also a celebration of Healthy Kids’ accomplishments throughout the past 15 years.

“We’re inviting everyone to come over and join in,” Nimmer said.

“After 15 years, we’re wanting to use this time to celebrate the children that we serve.”

For more information on contributing to these causes, visit healthykidsal.org.

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