Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 10, 2014

Healthy move for an entire town

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — One educator is pretty passionate about her hope to get Pauls Valley residents on board with a movement as a community to be healthier.

Julie Selman, a health educator at the Garvin County Health Department, is looking to take that first step toward a closer look at just how healthy Pauls Valley is as a city.

In the end the goal is to get Pauls Valley selected as a “Certified Healthy” community.

“It’s a volunteer program for communities and schools to become Certified Healthy,” Selman said during a kind of first meeting for the effort this week.

“This year I plan to hit the ground running and talk to people about being healthy,” she said. “I want to get out and talk to people, see what we have out there, what we have available, see if there’s an interest in this.

“This is really just getting the conversation started.”

For now the hope is to get more people involved by volunteering to work on committees.

The idea is for these committees to take various sections of the “Certified Healthy” application form and see how Pauls Valley as a community stacks up.

“We’re really just looking at the town as a whole and seeing what’s there,” Selman said.

“I’m wanting to get more people involved in this process of assessing Pauls Valley with the goal being to apply and someday be a Certified Healthy city.”

There are three levels of certification with some individual sites already certified as healthy here in PV, including city hall, the health department building and a number of local businesses and restaurants.

This effort has already been successful here in Garvin County as Lindsay was selected last year as a community receiving the healthy certification.

For Pauls Valley to get there someone will need to sift through the various areas listed on the lengthy application form. That means more people will be needed to use the team approach.

“We don’t have to check off every one of these boxes,” Selman said. “I just want us to get our foot in the door with this.”

The Certified Healthy program is an annual thing designed to help provide more healthy options and possibly provide for some grant money to help with that effort.

Any grant monies to communities and schools that meet the certified healthy criteria comes from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.

These grants are intended to go for projects that promote physical activity and healthy lifestyles.

“Any grant money has to go back into health and wellness in the community,” Selman added.

“Grant funding would go to the city of Pauls Valley. They could do any number of projects, like redo small walking trails at the park, put in a splash pad or a community garden.”

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