HCAT Grants Spotlight - Warren County Community Health Coalition : VFHY

Project WAHOO (Working to Achieve Healthy Outcomes and Opportunities) was established in 2014 to take a multipronged approach towards reducing childhood obesity in Warren County. These efforts are led by Christa Shifflett, Executive Director at the Warren County Community Health Coalition.

“The HCAT grant has created enormous, sustainable changes by creating built environments that allow Warren children and families to engage in fun activities which help maintain healthy lifestyles. It has been a true gift to Warren County residents,” Shifflett said.

Recently, Project WAHOO funded blacktop painting at two elementary schools. Classroom teachers at these schools report their students love all the options of active learning and play that the blacktops provide. The schools combine their outdoor space with SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids), an evidence-based PE program designed to promote lifelong wellbeing as part of their physical education curriculums.

In the past, Project WAHOO has built swing sets, playground equipment, a splash pad, a Frisbee golf course, and another basketball court. They are currently working to expand its impact by matching the funding for another basketball court at a county park.

In addition to all these outdoor projects, Project WAHOO works with the school system and another organization, Reaching Out Now, to provide one home-cooked meal per week to students and their families who are in need. The team makes a total of 182 meals per night that are delivered to families’ doorsteps.

Finally, to encourage healthy habits, Project WAHOO uses social media campaigns developed by and featuring middle school students. These campaigns encourage their peers and younger students to eat fruits and vegetables, exercise daily for an hour, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep. Research has shown that all of these things are proven in helping to reduce obesity and maintain healthy weights.

This HCAT grants spotlight was originally published in the 2021 Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth Annual Report. 

About VFHY’s HCAT Grants

These Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth grants provide infrastructure support to build and sustain Healthy Communities Action Teams (HCATs). These community collaboratives drive long-term policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes that support at least one of eight healthy behaviors that prevent and reduce childhood obesity 

  1. Breastfeeding 
  2. Eating More Fruits and Veggies 
  3. Reducing Consumption of Energy-Dense Foods 
  4. Moving More 
  5. Decreasing Screen Time 
  6. Getting Enough Sleep 
  7. Reducing Stress with Increased Mindfulness 
  8. Decreasing Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages 

Explore current HCAT grant opportunities to prevent childhood obesity below. Before submitting a proposal, applicants must read the RFP Instructions and attend one of the three mandatory Pre-Proposal Conferences.

Grant Funding Available

Online proposals are due by Monday, October 17, 2022 (5:00 pm ET)  

Learn more