The work to educate and get more and more Garvin County residents living healthier lifestyles has received a big boost with a brand new round of funding.

It comes in the form of a six-figure grant being awarded to Frontline Family Solutions, which is also known as McClain-Garvin County Youth and Family Services Center, Inc.

The funding, a total of $183,000 in all, is specifically for what’s called the TSET Healthy Living Program 2.0.

Giving the OK for the grant was the board of directors for the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement and Endowment Trust, known simply as TSET.

Frontline’s executive director, Mindy Bellack, says the TSET Healthy Living Program is one of its “strengthening families” program.

Leading up that program in Garvin County is Erin Creach and Alan Ware.

“Erin and Alan are doing a great job,” Bellack said. “They’re hitting all their health indicators.

“They’re a model program in working to improve the health and wellness of people in Garvin County. They continue their work of educating the public about health nutrition and lowering tobacco use.

“The motto is eat better, move more and be tobacco free.”

In fact, Bellack says their work has been so good it’s resulted in a lot of changes, like new policies on not smoking in public areas.

“They’ve spent a lot of time working with municipalities, schools, businesses, the Allies for Better Living group in Garvin County, to bring more healthy choices to the community,” she said.

“By improving these health indicators they’re also making these cities eligible for other grant money.”

The TSET board awarded nearly $7 million to 35 organizations serving 37 counties through the Health Living program.

There were 58 applications for TSET funding in Oklahoma as Garvin County was among those selected for this second five-year cycle with the first now concluded.

Bellack says the work of the program is important here because of Garvin County’s overall need to improve when it comes to healthier living.

“Garvin County is deemed a high needs area. It’s deemed a higher need on tobacco use and obesity rates,” she said.

“The good thing about this program is it has a positive outcome. It works. Every time you walk into a clean area in Garvin County it’s probably because of their work.

“It’s working. The youth smoking rate has been cut in half. The next thing we want to work on is vaping.”

As for Frontline, Bellack says it continues working to provide counseling and other services to families and schools even with much of it coming from a distance thanks to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

“We’re doing OK in this new virtual world. We’re doing a lot of work from home and staying committed to providing an online support service.”

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