Several community organizations and businesses collaborated for the effort that drew in a huge crowd of people from all over the county.
The day started with a “Get Moving Fun Run” for adults and children that began at Sylacauga Pediatrics, continued about one-and-a-half miles down through Noble Street, and ended at Noble Park.
“We had a huge turnout. A lot more people showed up than we expected,” said Nicki Bryant, one the runners from the “Fun Run.”
“We walked by the Kiwanis’ Pancake Day without stopping,” she chuckled.
The delicious aroma of pancakes did not deter Bryant nor the rest of the runners and walkers that morning from finishing the course.
Adults and children alike all came together to cross the finish line.
“It takes the adults to show the kids what to do by leading by example,” Bryant said. “The kids enjoyed it and we had a great turnout this morning.”
The runners and walkers were met with balloons, music, and water at Noble Park, where several awards and special recognitions were given to many of Sylacauga’s “Community Partners.”
Several community groups were recognized with “Community Partner” awards including the Daily Home, Sylacauga Chamber of Commerce, Sylacauga Parks and Recreation, the Sylacauga Police Department, Sylacauga City Schools, Talladega County Schools, and news station TV-47.
The awards were given in light of Sylacauga’s “100 Best Communities for Young People” distinction.
“I wish we could give one of these to everyone today because you are all a part of this ‘100 Best Communities’ award,” said Margaret Morton, director of Sylacauga Alliance for Family Enhancement.
Morton and Sylacauga Mayor Sam Wright were on stage as Randy Horick from America’s Promise spoke on behalf of the “100 Best Communities for Young People,” congratulating Sylacauga for earning the title the fourth time in a row.
“There are not many communities that can say they won four times in a row and there are not too many communities that can say they won once,” Horick said.
“This award is not a reflection of the richest community or the community with the most resources; it’s about a community that comes together.
Since Sylacauga was literally on the map with 99 other “Best Communities,” Horick said that it deserved to have its very own push-pin on display at home.
Horick presented Mayor Wright with the actual oversized Sylacauga push-pin that was on display on the “100 Best Communities for Young People” map in Washington D.C.
Horick said the gigantic orange push-pin served as a symbol of Sylacauga’s place in a network of communities across the country that makes a difference in the lives of its citizens.
The event also served as a prime opportunity for Sylacauga community organizations and businesses to come together for the “Get Healthy Talladega County” health and wellness campaign with several booths, vendors, and activities at the park.
Morton said the countywide health and awareness initiative was put together by a coalition of community members and organizations identified as the Designers of Talladega’s Outcomes and Measurements, also known as DOTCOM.
“Childersburg, Talladega, and Lincoln are the next stops so we can get out the message that Talladega County is getting healthy—mind, body, and spirit,” Morton said.
“It’s public health, mental health, education, every stakeholder, working 11 years to promote health and wellness,” Morton said.
Talladega County Schools Superintendent Suzanne Lacey was also in attendance and accepted the “Community Partner” award on behalf of the Talladega County School System.
“I think it’s a perfect day for the kick off,” said Lacey. “It’s a countywide initiative that has a positive impact on our students.”
Amongst the awards and recognitions was an area specifically designed for everyone to get up and get moving.
Music played as children and adults danced, hula hooped, and even performed some aerobics.
Children were also given gift bags and won several prizes including health and safety workbooks and coloring books.
Five-year-old Kamryn Richey won a cartoon book about bicycle safety and enjoyed the music and skateboarding at the kick-off.
Kamryn said he also learned several things about exercising and eating healthy.
Six-year-old Isabella Baker also enjoyed the kickoff and said her favorite part of the event was seeing all the animals that people brought out to the park.
Isabella was able to take home several cups of hydrated dirt that were handed out at the event to promote activities like gardening to younger children.
She and her family took home several cups of hydrated dirt so that they could all work together to help grow and cultivate a small garden of tomatoes, squash, pumpkin, and watermelon.
Morton said that several kickoffs around the county are in the works, and hopes that Saturday’s kickoff in Sylacauga is just the beginning of a new wave of healthy lifestyle choices that will encourage young people to get moving.
For more information about the “Get Healthy Talladega County” campaign, visit www.gethealthytalladegacounty.org.
Contact Aziza Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org