LaFayette High School students, educators and alumni are already reaping benefits from using new, state-of-the-art weight room equipment. Over the last twenty-nine months, Chambers County Extension has received $249,275 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to enhance and implement evidence or practice-based strategies in Chambers County to increase physical activity and improve nutrition, reduce obesity, and prevent and control diabetes, heart disease and stroke. CDC Coalition members prioritized community resource opportunities and Coach Lucas provided a detailed list of needs, resulting in Chambers Extension purchasing the weight room equipment valued at nearly $50,000.
The next phase of Grant efforts will focus on relocating and renovating the weight room to the School’s Ag Building. The new site will provide sufficient space and height for all weight room equipment and activities. Renovation efforts will include providing rubber flooring, drop ceiling, LED lighting, new air conditioners, fresh wall paint, window replacements, and fans to circulate air. Extension and Coalition community members are partnering with the Board of Education and LaFayette High School administrators to vastly improve the community’s physical activity resources.
So, who was present to celebrate these accomplishments and see how you can benefit from these resources and opportunities? Two community leaders from the CDC Coalition, Councilwoman Tammie Williams and Reverend Melvin Owens, joined Chambers County Board of Education members, School leaders and Extension. Coach Lucas stated, “Students and teachers are so excited – they are already using the equipment to become healthier and active. After an already-full day, we do not have to travel far to exercise. We now have everything needed on-campus for a complete workout.” All expressed their deep appreciation of these new health resource opportunities.
Other Grant efforts resulted in starting and operating the LaFayette Farmers Market, building and operating raised-bed community gardens at two sites, building the Walking Trail and installing sturdy outdoor exercise equipment at the Ag Center, purchasing substantial children’s playground equipment, adult exercise equipment and benches for the new City of LaFayette Park, and providing nutrition, gardening and physical activity education. Elected and appointed officials, and community volunteers have sacrificially provided you these new opportunities and resources. They did it out of deep love and respect – for their community and you. Please take time to tell them “Thank you.” Most importantly, encourage our youth to invest in their healthy future! Lead by example – take (literal) steps to live an active, healthy lifestyle yourself.
Recommendation: Visit the Raised-bed Gardens on Alabama Avenue E. Also, go to the Chambers County Agricultural Center (1084 Alabama Highway 77, LaFayette, AL 36862). The Ag Center is open to the public from sunrise to sunset. See for yourself what is available. If you want to start gardening, contact Eric Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org . If the LaFayette Farmers Market is what you are seeking, contact Kim Slay at email@example.com and/or attend the Market Monday afternoons (3:00 to 6:00 Central). Finally, if the Walking Trail is more “your thang”, join your friends and neighbors already using it! Better yet, why not try all three – gardening, the Farmers Market, and the Walking Trail?
For more information on these resources, please contact your Chambers County Extension Office at 334-864-9373. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University), is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Everyone is welcome!
Ken McMillan, Ph.D. CPA, Chambers County Extension Coordinator Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 18 Alabama Avenue E, Room 201, LaFayette, AL 36862-2092