Safe Routes to Health AmeriCorps Program at the Michigan Fitness Foundation
Safe Routes to Health AmeriCorps Program at Michigan Fitness Foundation (SRTH) focuses on addressing unmet health needs in underserved, low-income communities. It was developed by assessing both barriers to healthy living and opportunities to overcome those barriers. Using a multigenerational approach to reach across an entire community, SRTH engages AmeriCorps members to connect citizens to health, wellness, and physical activity programs by implementing program elements and recruiting local community volunteers to create sustainable change.
SRTH Members serve at host sites statewide. They help residents gain access to supportive environments for healthy eating and physical activity. The goal is to make it easier for health and fitness to be a priority for all residents and empowering them to lead longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives.
SNAP-Ed is a federal program that provides nutrition education and promotes physical activity to increase the likelihood that persons eligible for SNAP will make healthy food choices within a limited budget and choose healthy lifestyles. In Michigan, network partners lead programs that develop community leaders and empower individuals so that Michigan citizens gain knowledge and access to resources that help them integrate healthy eating and physical activity into daily life. AmeriCorps members will be trained and provided supplies to implement 4 SNAP-Ed inspired interventions: Fresh Conversations, Health Through Literacy, Farmers Market Food Navigator, and Cooking Matters at the Store.
Working through partnerships and coalitions, SRTH members and volunteers can engage with local aspects of the food system to support program objectives regarding increased access to fresh, heathy foods for communities’ most vulnerable populations. Building off current local food movement efforts, member projects could include supporting farm to school efforts, promoting urban gardening, and coordinating with other programs serving the same populations.
Members can provide, promote, or organize opportunities for community members to be active and learn new ways to continue active lifestyles into the future. Members could recruit knowledgeable volunteers from local community groups to lead events that are community-relevant, informative, and highlight local physical activity opportunities.
Members could engage in outreach efforts at local festivals and community events to inspire health, wellness, and active lifestyles. Outreach activities could include recipe samplings, sharing local healthy food resources, exercise demonstrations like yoga and kickboxing, and basic bicycle safety. This can give members opportunities to connect with their community and recruit participants and volunteers for programming.
Members and volunteers can provide COVID-19 response support through a lens of food and physical activity. This may include community education on practices to reduce the spread of COVID-19 or assisting in vaccine registration or distribution, directing community members towards food resources, or combating social isolation with seniors.
The Michigan Fitness Foundation
The Michigan Fitness Foundation inspires active lifestyles and healthy food choices through education, environmental change, community events and policy leadership. Conditions in the places where people live, learn, work, and play affect a wide range of health risks and outcomes. We know that poverty limits access to healthy foods and safe neighborhoods and that more education is a predictor of better health. MFF supports and builds collaborative partnerships to affect change in communities and improve conditions where people live, learn, work, and play. We strive to improve access to education in an effort to improve the overall health of Michiganders. Learn more at MichiganFitness.org.
Michigan Community Service Commission
The Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC) utilizes service as a strategy to address the state’s most pressing issues and empowers volunteers to strengthen communities. MCSC uses Michigan’s AmeriCorps, Mentor Michigan, Volunteer Michigan, and the Governor’s Service Awards to achieve just that. Learn more about MCSC.
AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country’s most pressing challenges, through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.