One year ago, I watched as First Lady Michelle Obama announced her Let’s Move! initiative at the White House. With much of the nation digging out from monumental snow storms and record low temperatures, the idea of exercising and eating healthy foods was the furthest from many of our minds at the time. Yet, Mrs. Obama challenged all of us to do more, she challenged us by saying, “Let’s Move!”
Last week, in Alpharetta, Georgia at North Point Community Church on the first anniversary of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated the impact of parents and faith and community leaders across the country on efforts to improve children’s health through nutrition, and physical fitness.
After being introduced by North Point pastor, Andy Stanley, and co-host Rev. Cynthia Hale, the First Lady talked with the audience about the purpose of the event: “We’re here to celebrate a new conversation in this country about the health and well-being of our children. It’s a conversation about what our kids eat and how active they are. About how they feel and how they feel about themselves. And about what that means, not just their physical and emotional health, but for their success in school and in life.”
Under the First Lady’s leadership, Let’s Move! has already accomplished so much towards the goal of solving childhood obesity within a generation. From partnering with congregations and community groups to providing children with healthier food, to supporting greater opportunities for physical activity, the First Lady and Let’s Move! have motivated so many of us.
Let’s Move! has engaged folks across the country in efforts to provide better information to families about health and nutrition, and ensure access to healthy, affordable food. Across the country, steps are being taken to effect change at the key points of a child’s life—from schools, to grocery stores, to parks and to kids TV. The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been especially excited to work with the First Lady and Let’s Move! on a special Let’s Move! Faith and Communities effort, which the First Lady launched just a few months ago.
Right here in Atlanta, led by Mayor Kasim Reed, and with the great participation of the CHOICES organization, and so many others, the Let’s Move! Atlanta team has pledged to walk over 283,000 miles, committed to achieve 13,000 President’s Active Lifestyle Awards (PALA), and to start over 500 new community gardens or farmers markets. They have also committed to 120 new summer feeding program sites for kids! Among faith and community organizations in the Atlanta area, Greenforest Community Baptist Church and NonProfit Philanthropy have committed to walking over 8,000 miles combined. These great commitments from Atlanta community and faith groups have helped us get closer to our Let’s Move! Faith and Communities Challenges!
The First Lady called on communities across the nation to get connected to a Let’s Move! event in their area by visiting www.LetsMove.gov and getting more people involved. She closed by looking towards the future saying “All of this has happened in just one year! And if we can do all this in the first year…just imagine what we’ll achieve next year, and the year after that.”
Check out how you can get involved at www.LetsMove.gov! You can also find great resources and toolkits there to support your efforts.
Joshua Dubois serves as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships