ELIZABETHTOWN — The Healthy Bladen Collaborative met on Tuesday morning to continue in its mission to make Bladen County a healthier place to live.
Marianne Valentiner opened the meeting by announcing her new role as chairman of the Healthy Bladen Collaborative and that Carol Strickland has moved to a new role overseeing the Young Moms Connect program. Both will still be involved in the collaborative.
Valentiner told the group about several activities that have taken place since the September meeting. She told those present that she and Bladen County Cooperative Extension Director Sandra Cain attended a Faithful Families training session in Kinston that focused on the Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Grant.
“It was a very good meeting,” said Valentiner.
She also told the group the September county employees luncheon focused on breast cancer awareness, and she also brought members up to date on the Bladen County Health Department’s Think Pink Flu Drive-Thru. Valentiner said 81 folks were vaccinated during the drive-thru flu shot event.
Valentiner also told the group there will be a meeting of the Diabetes support group on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 5:30 p.m.
The group also heard an update on the N.C. Healthy Start program. The program currently has 93 enrolled and 16 have completed school.
The members of the collaborative updated the membership on activities involving their respective agencies.
The Health Department’s Andrea Singletary told the group she has been busy educating parents regarding the importance of flu shots especially for young children.
Bladen County Public Library Director Kelsey Edwards updated the collaborative on activities at the library.
“The library has started a story time where a representative of the Elizabethtown Police Department will come and read stories to kids on Nov. 5 at the main library,” said Edwards.
She added that on Nov. 10, there will be an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Clarkton Public Library.
Edwards said 69 children attended the recent Halloween party held at the main library in Elizabethtown.
Lisa Clark of the Lower Cape Fear Hospice reminded those in attendance that the 10th annual Festival of Trees will be the last year for this event. There will be several activities planned throughout the week of Nov. 16 through Nov. 21, including an Ugliest Sweater Christmas Party, a holiday confections cooking class, Christmas through Song and, of course, the Festival of Trees.
Other updates included Rev. Chris Denny being named as president over Bladen Crisis Assistance, the annual 4-H Christmas Toy Drive will be held from Nov. 1 through Dec. 4, the Bladen County Parks and Recreation Department is gearing up for All Stars Soccer games and football and cheerleading are getting underway.
After hearing the updates from the various agencies, Valentiner asked the groups to report on their activities.
Strickland told those in attendance that Dr. Pearly Hoskins will contact the Kate B. Reynolds Foundation to find out what the criteria are to begin the process to be considered for the Kate B. Reynolds Healthy Community designation and Ashley Dowless is attempting to get action plans from them.
She also told the group that the updated directories are at the print shop and will be available soon.
The group also decided that the next steps are to come up with a name for the walking trail system in the county. and Stacie Kinlaw was designated to create a Google Calendar whereby different agencies can add upcoming events.
Strickland updated the group that she has learned that instead of creating a new app for the various walking trails that there are existing apps that folks can use and upload their favorite areas to walk.
Members were also asked to bring with them a prototype of the possible design for the new signage for the walking trails.
The next Healthy Bladen Collaborative meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19.
Erin Smith can be reached at 910-862-4163.