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Webb Lyons spreads the word on success of Y partnership

March 7, 2011

The Community Foundation has many great partners, includes our own Birmingham YMCA. This week, Director of Initiatives Webb Lyons and the Y’s Lisa Jones are involved in training in Washington, D.C., that grew out of that partnership.

Here’s more from Webb: A few years ago, the national Y (Y-USA) made a proactive and important decision to become a leader in the movement to tackle our nation’s most pressing health issues. They launched a range of initiatives to empower local communities with the tools and resources necessary to help create healthier places.

Birmingham was fortunate to be part of one initiatives, Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC), an effort to change policies and environments so that people can eat better and move more. When Y-USA identified Birmingham YMCA to do this work, the Y picked the Community Foundation as its partner, with Lisa and Webb as co-chairs of PHC.

The initiative has accomplished great things, helping to energize Jefferson County’s Health Action Partnership (HAP) by starting a host of strategies to improve nutrition and physical activity, and by laying the groundwork for HAP to successfully pursue two other major grant opportunities focused on obesity – Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and Communities Putting Prevention to Work from the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Webb has enjoyed the chance to work with PHC and, as he and Lisa are doing this week, to train new communities as they embark on PHC programs. Here’s why:

“First, it’s exciting to talk about our progress in Birmingham, made possible by a lot of incredible people working hard to make the healthy choice the easy choice in our community. Second, I always appreciate the chance to connect with folks – many of whom are now my friends – who are driving change at the national level. The staff of Y-USA are remarkable leaders.

“And finally, as I meet people from all around the country who are about to begin this important work, it’s humbling to recognize that we are in the midst of a national movement to create healthier communities, and it’s an absolute honor to be a part of that movement.”

Good luck on your training this week, Webb and Lisa. You represent another reason to be proud of the work going on in our community and what it means for our shared future.

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