Mayor Emanuel joined Steve Cahillane, President and CEO of Coca-Cola Refreshments, today to announce a $3 million grant from The Coca-Cola Foundation to the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance. This grant will create the Park Families Wellness Initiative, which will feature affordable nutrition education and active lifestyle programs for Chicago communities who are most in need of wellness services. The initiative, which will be run by the Chicago Park District, will also allow the Park District to hire U.S. veterans to teach military-style fitness classes called “Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness.” The program will be available in more than 60 community facilities reaching 125,000 residents annually by 2016, making the Park District the leading provider of affordable health programs in the city.
“This public-private partnership will improve nutrition and health in our neighborhoods while creating jobs and economic opportunity for Chicago’s returning heroes,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These resources will allow residents across the city to live a healthier lifestyle and will help inspire good nutritional and health choices by our families.”
The Chicago Park District will also tap returning military veterans to teach military style fitness classes through the Troops for Fitness program. Over the next four years, military vets will teach sessions on calisthenics, sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups and other fitness and nutritional techniques. The grant also provides resources to create adaptive recreation classes for disabled veterans.
“Together with Mayor Emanuel and Garfield Park Conservatory, we want to increase access to nutrition education and physical activity programs in underserved communities,” said Steve Cahillane, President and CEO, Coca-Cola Refreshments. “Obesity can’t be solved overnight. However, collaborative programs like the Parks Families Wellness Initiative are a start and should be encouraged throughout the country.”
The Coca-Cola Foundation is committed to building sustainable communities by encouraging individuals, families and communities to live active, healthy lifestyles. Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, working with the Chicago Park District, is among many grantees from around the country that are amplifying their active living and nutrition education programs as a result of local grants from The Coca-Cola Foundation.