Spotlight on fitUnited

Name of Organization:
fitUnited Pittsburgh

Address/Location of organization:
Christine Grady
Program Director, fitUnited Pittsburgh
United Way of Allegheny County
1250 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Tel. 412-456-6830
Fax. (412) 394-5376

Mission of organization:
fitUnited Pittsburgh launched in 2012 as an exciting new initiative to improve the health of our children by mobilizing and motivating our community to provide increased opportunities for physical activity and healthier food options. United Way of Allegheny County and a diverse group of partnering organizations, corporations, and communities work toward this goal through evidence-based research and best practices in health, nutrition and fitness.

Finish this quote: “We are a LWA partner…”
because we firmly believe that in collaborating with other organizations in our community and leveraging one-another’s resources and strengths, we will have a positive impact on the health of children in Allegheny County.

What types of activities/resources are available through your organization?
Homewood Summer Snacks Program – a three-month pilot program providing Child Care Homes in underserved communities with fresh, healthy food for children. In the first month of the program we have delivered over 1,000 healthy meals and 2,000 healthy snacks to children in the underserved community of Homewood, classified as a ‘Food Desert’.

Walk to Win – over 700 elementary school children participated in a walking challenge, with classes and schools competing against one-another to see who could accrue the most steps.

Shop’n Save – a program to ensure the newly opened Shop’n Save in the Hill District of Pittsburgh (previously classified as a Food Desert for 30 years) promotes healthy and affordable foods in the store.

Learning Opportunities for Partners

  • Partner Forums: Guest speakers have included Dr. Karen Hacker, Director of the Allegheny County Health Department; Chef Stephanie Gelberd from the Café at Phipps; and Kristin Hughes, Founder of Fitwits and Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Design.
  • Lunch & Learn Events: These events have a more specific focus. Topics have included “The Basics of Pediatric Weight Management” presented by Dr. Dana Rofey of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and “Uncovering Effective Wellness Strategies for Small Employers” presented by Jamey Bednez, Director of Corporate Wellness at Babb Inc.
  • Communications – In addition we keep Partners informed through the following:
    · Website with resources for workplace wellness and wellness at home
    · Weekly Pinterest tips for families
    · Newsletters
    · Daily twitter hints and tips

Are the activities “good for the whole family?” or for “children ages — to —“, seniors? etc.
For events and activities aimed at youth, a suggested age will be specified as well as whether the whole family is invited to participate. Activities are generally free or at minimal cost. The location for activities and events varies. The best way to keep informed is to check the fitUnited website and/or subscribe to our newsletter.

What makes your organization unique? Do you offer a unique service or resource for county residents?
fitUnited has over 300 Partners across Allegheny County, each of whom have made a three-year commitment to achieve family wellness, workplace wellness and support youth-serving agencies in Allegheny County. We ask our partners to
1.  Learn about best practices:
2.  Volunteer with community agencies serving children ages 0-12
3.  Share and join in collaborative efforts with other partners
4.  Advocate for a healthier workplace

Do you have any words of wisdom to help others Live Well?
“By using research based, proven programs and best practices in children’s nutrition and physical activity, we’re confident that participation will lead to changes in behavior. We recognize that caring adults—parents, guardians, adult relatives, teachers and pediatricians—need to be a part of the solution in creating healthy habits for children. It is through them that this program will make a meaningful—and measurable—impact on this epidemic in our region.”
– Bob Nelkin, President & Chief Professional Officer, United Way of Allegheny County