BOCA RATON, FL – October 15, 2020 – In support of the Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative, Smart Growth America (SGA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity announced today that Boca Raton City Council Member, Andy Thomson, will be part of the inaugural class of the Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Champions Institute (the “Champions Institute”). The Champions Institute is a program created to help motivated local elected officials equitably define, design, build and evaluate Complete Streets in their communities. Thomson was selected as one of over 20 local elected officials from across the United States and its territories.
“Being selected to the inaugural class of the Champions Institute is in recognition of Andy’s commitment to making their hometown a more equitable, accessible, and viable community for all residents,” said John Robert Smith, Senior Policy Advisor at Smart Growth America, and the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “Andy will learn valuable skills throughout the program and share his own insights in developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.”
Over the next six months, participants in the Champions Institute will attend virtual learning sessions that will make them experts in equity-based principles and train them on the fundamental steps to take to achieve activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations in their community, from envisioning to implementation. Participants will also learn about best practices and challenges from across the country, as they grapple with different strategies in a collaborative and supportive peer-learning environment.
Local leaders who are selected for the Champions Institute will have the opportunity to learn from a broad array of national experts and former local elected officials in the areas of public health, policy, street design and project implementation. At the completion of the inaugural class, participants will be experts in promoting community improvements to create safer streets for all users including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists. Participants will be prepared to support plans, policies and funding that promote the CDC's Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative of expanding activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, in their communities.
After participants complete their work in the Champions Institute, SGA will provide continuing support to the local champions as they serve their communities. They will act as emissaries to other local leaders, sharing their expertise and ideas to grow a network of Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Champions across the country who will build and expand activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations across the country.
“I’m honored to have been selected to participate in the Champions Institute,” commented Thomson. “The design and implementation of Complete Streets in Boca Raton has been a priority of mine since I joined the City Council, and I look forward to learning from national experts in the field so as to better serve our residents in making our streets safer for everyone.”
This program is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. This program is designed to support the Active People, Healthy Nation initiative through developing more activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.
About Smart Growth America: Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. For more information visit http://www.smartgrowthamerica.org.
About Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative: Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative is a national initiative led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Active People, Healthy Nation℠ provides a comprehensive approach to improving physical activity by promoting strategies that work at the local, tribal, state, and national level in partnership with other federal agencies and national organizations. For more information and to join the movement, visit https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/activepeoplehealthynation/index.html
About the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity: The CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity protects the health of Americans at every stage of life by encouraging regular physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy weight. Through support of state and community partners, they provide data, programs that work, and practical tools so that Americans have the best possible chance to achieve healthier lives and avoid chronic diseases.
About the City of Boca Raton: As the second-largest city in the Palm Beaches, Boca Raton is located in the southernmost region of the county, conveniently located between two commercial airports and three international ports. A true full-service city, Boca Raton offers miles of pristine beaches, 47 beautiful parks, recreational and athletic amenities, a low tax rate, a low crime rate, cultural programs and facilities, and a wide variety of shops, restaurants, and hotels. Consistently ranked as one of America’s best cities in which to live, work, learn and play, Boca has it all. Home to three universities and more than 30 corporate headquarters, the culture of life–long learning, research and education is ingrained in the Boca Raton community. The mission of the City of Boca Raton is to provide the highest quality of programs and services to the community through responsible use of public resources to enhance the unparalleled quality of life. To learn more about the City of Boca Raton, please visit www.myboca.us.
Anne Marie Connolly