Walking may just be the pandemic panacea
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed our lives, impacting our physical, mental and social wellbeing. While we have adopted measures to keep each other safe, such as social distancing and wearing a mask, one thing has remained consistent, we can walk!
It has been a few years since the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities was issued, though its goal is at least as vital as it was when issued: to increase walking by working together to increase access to safe and convenient places to walk and to create a culture that supports walking for all Americans. Further, the number one priority of the Pennsylvania State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) 2015-20 is obesity, physical inactivity and nutrition.
That is whyWalkWorks – a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the University of Pittsburgh, which aims to increase opportunities for physical activity through safe, fun, fact-ﬁlled walking routes in communities across Pennsylvania – is inviting organizations interested in improving the health status of the residents of their communities to express interest in joining its network of 100 walking routes by completing a brief application. Though we are living in an environment that presents its challenges, it will always be important to take care of yourself and those around you. With the right information, with which WalkWorks will assist, you can offer opportunities to help those in your area cope with stress in a healthy way that will make them, the people they care about and the overall community stronger. A limited number of partners will be added to our network during this cycle.
Selected organizations will be asked to:
- Identify a walking route of one to two miles, including points of interest;
- Engage community stakeholders to ensure the route will meet residents’ preferences;
- Collaborate with community organizations to encourage walking and, when the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines permit, optimize sustainable walking group; and
- Organize a kick-oﬀ celebration for the route.
Selected organizations will receive:
- Technical assistance with route selection;
- Guidance for physically distanced walks and, in the future, creating sustainable walking groups and identifying walking group leaders;
- The opportunity to hear from partners and aﬃliates already engaged in the program;
- Promotional materials and signage for the walking route(s); and
- Network emails and invitations to webinars.
Successful candidates will demonstrate the needs of the communities they serve, as well as their ability to implement and sustain the program to ensure lasting impact. Examples of eligible candidates are non-profit organizations and municipal entities.
Click here to download the application
The application must be completed and returned to PAWalkWorks@pitt.edu no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 13, 2020.