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Published April 09, 2020
A collaborative health project among a Laramie business, Albany County School District 1 and the University of Wyoming’s Division of Kinesiology and Health Promotion is the recipient of the Marvin Millgate Excellence in Community Partnership Award.
Healthy Kids Rx, in partnership with Mike Dorssom and Nicole Bleak of CrossFit 7220, the local school district and the Division of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, has been providing local youths with the opportunity to participate in year-round, no-cost fitness and nutrition classes.
The program began in 2012 when CrossFit 7220 representatives approached UW personnel to provide health assessments for a community-wide nutrition challenge. The annual challenge is open to all Laramie residents and provides a six-week course on healthy eating.
The program eventually led to Healthy Kids Rx development, with the goal of providing Laramie youths with the resources to make healthy choices and to participate in exercise classes. Dorssom and Bleak later endowed a scholarship for internships with Healthy Kids Rx for UW undergraduates.
The program has grown over the years. The partnership now serves Laramie community members between the ages of 3-83, with the goal of empowering individuals to live happier and healthier lives through functional fitness and nutrition opportunities in a supportive environment.
Every week, Healthy Kids Rx serves 100-150 Laramie youth, at no cost, and has an impact on those who are involved. Many parents in Laramie have found a resource in Healthy Kids Rx, and the program ensures access for the local community, says Jean Garrison, director of UW’s Office of Engagement and Outreach, which presents the Millgate Awards.
“UW’s partnership with Healthy Kids Rx and Albany County School District 1 embodies UW’s land-grant mission and our commitment to support the communities we serve,” Garrison adds. “This is a long-standing program with clear impact that will continue into the future to serve the Laramie community.”
A Laramie mother says her 5-foot-9, 275-pound son was encouraged to attend Healthy Kids Rx by his doctors.
“I was delighted the program was free, or it would not have been financially possible for him to attend,” the mother says. “At first, he was reluctant to go; he was embarrassed about his appearance and inability to keep up with the other kids his age.”
She adds that, if it had not been for the other kids being positive and welcoming, along with the instructor, her son would not have continued to attend the classes.
“My son’s body mass index numbers have come down significantly, as he has lost over 80 pounds so far, losing fat, gaining muscle and cutting back on carbs,” the mother says. “Now, my youngest son is excitedly attending his age group Healthy Kids Rx classes.”
The partnership with Healthy Kids Rx also serves local youth with disabilities, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Cathedral Home for Children, The Open School and Laramie High School athletics.
Other Millgate Engagement Award recipients are Morgan Longstreth, a UW psychology doctoral candidate and founder of the Caring Companions Program, who received the Marvin Millgate Engaged Student Award; Associate Professor Ana Houseal was awarded the Marvin Millgate Engaged Faculty Award; and UW’s Jane Clayton and Mary Louise Wood share the Marvin Millgate Engaged Staff Award.
About the Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards
Outreach and engagement with the state are core goals of UW and integral to the university’s land-grant mission. Building a strong culture of engagement and collaboration, involving the exchange of knowledge and resources, means developing partnerships in a context of reciprocity with the citizens and institutions of Wyoming, the nation and the world.
The Marvin Millgate Community Engagement Awards recognize individuals and groups at UW and in the community who have rendered exceptional engagement and service to Wyoming communities.