Local Residents and Community Leaders Take White House Tour

The Hockomock Area YMCA’s Healthy Futures Initiative was selected to visit the White House Kitchen Gardens in recognition of its positive impact on local communities, through its Healthy Futures Initiative. The visit, part of Let’s Move on Thursday, October 30th, included a private tour of the White House.

Hockomock YMCA Healthy Futures group outside the White House
Hockomock YMCA Healthy Futures group outside the White House

The goals of the First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative are aligned with, and supportive of, the Hockomock Area YMCA’s Healthy Futures Initiative, which focuses on community-based initiatives to reduce inactivity and poor nutrition in the fifteen communities served by the Y, through programs, projects, and policies. Healthy Futures incorporates prevention and intervention-based strategies that support families, especially those most at risk due to food insecurities.

The Hockomock Area YMCA’s Healthy Futures Initiative is active in 15 communities, serving more than 10,000 children annually, totaling over 184,382 hours of physical activity and nutrition education.

The 30 attendees included local volunteers, community leaders, families, and Hockomock Area YMCA staff. This special White House visit allowed the Y’s Healthy Futures volunteers and participants an opportunity to learn more about the importance of growing fresh food, and making healthy nutrition and dietary decisions.

In addition to Hockomock Area YMCA staff, attendees included residents and community members connected with the Y’s Healthy Futures Initiative from the towns of Bellingham, Foxboro, Franklin, Holliston, Mendon, Milford, and Plainville:

  • Bellingham: Jeanne Sheridan of Bellingham Public Schools, Food Services; Kimberly and Aiden Cohen
  • Foxboro: Deb Spinelli, Foxboro Public Schools Superintendent; Carrie, Ryan and Meghan Kelley
  • Franklin: Erin Lynch of the Franklin Food Pantry and her children Sierra and Kai; Healthy Futures volunteer Ansh Tarafder and her mom Rakhi Tarafder; Erin Earley and her children Sean and Brigid
  • Mendon: Hockomock Area YMCA Chairman of the Board of Directors Jeff Dufficy
  • Milford: Ellen Freedman of Milford Regional Medical Center and her daughter Mae
  • Plainville: Julie Kinney and her children Grant and William; Bethany Lotfi and her children Sawal, Mohamad, and Yousef
  • Hockomock Area YMCA Staff included Marykate Bergen, Kimberly Cohen, Caitlin Gibbs, Ed Hurley, and Kelly O’Neill

“As the Franklin Food Pantry continues to advocate that access to nutritious food is a critical component of emotional and physical health, we need champions like the Hockomock Area YMCA. This visit to the White House and the collaborative work we are doing on the Healthy Futures Initiatives brings much needed attention to the serious impact of hunger in our communities,“ exclaimed Erin Lynch, Executive Director of the Franklin Food Panty.

Hockomock YMCA Healthy Futures group visiting the White House garden
Hockomock YMCA Healthy Futures group visiting the White House garden

Located in the White House South Lawn, the Kitchen Garden is home to different fruits, vegetables, and herbs each growing season. The First Lady planted the White House Kitchen Garden in 2009 to initiate a national conversation around the health and well-being of our nation and to serve as an inspiration for schools and community groups across the country to plant gardens of their own.

The Let’s Move! Program was launched by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2010 and is a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years.

The Hockomock Area YMCA, working with community partners, is creating innovative initiatives to ensuring everyone has access to healthy food and a healthy lifestyle to combat the increase in chronic disease and healthcare costs related to obesity. The Y’s partnerships with school superintendents, principals, teachers, food service directors, and parent groups, have been the centerpiece of Healthy Futures’ sustained impact. Keeping kids moving and well-nourished are core goals of the Y’s Healthy Futures program. For more information, contact Caitlin Gibbs, Director of Health Innovation at the Hockomock Area YMCA at 508-772-1351 or caitling@hockymca.org.

Hockomock YMCA
Hockomock YMCA

About Hockomock Area YMCA:

The Hockomock Area YMCA is an organization of men, women, and children sharing a commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living, and foster a sense of social responsibility. With over 31,000 members, half under the age of 18, the YMCA is committed to partnering and collaborating with others to create and deliver lasting personal and social change in the 15 communities they are privileged to serve.

The Y is for Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility.