Sunrise Yoga Saturdays. A thriving farmers market. Community runs and walks.
As a 2020 Mayors Wellness Campaign (MWC) “New Jersey Healthy Town” designee, Scotch Plains is being recognized for its innovative response to local needs created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the third year that Scotch Plains has received the Healthy Town designation, an honor that reflects the community's commitment to improving the health and wellness of its residents,” said Julie DeSimone, program officer of the MWC. “Scotch Plains, under the leadership of Mayor Josh Losardo and the Town Council, has pioneered innovative ways to engage people to live healthier lives, even during the challenges of the global pandemic."
Scotch Plains is one of eight municipalities statewide named 2020 Healthy Towns as participants in the MWC, a program of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute, in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. Another nine towns were designated as 2020 Healthy Towns to Watch, and five others were deemed as 2020 Healthy Town Up-and-Coming.
Each year, Scotch Plains completes a comprehensive Healthy Town Application outlining the research the town has done to identify community health needs and explaining how it has organized the local MWC committee. The application also highlights the actions Scotch Plains continues to make, creating an even healthier municipality in which to live, work, and play.
“One of Scotch Plain's greatest strengths is its ability to leverage community partnerships to provide a variety of programs to residents,” explained Mayor Josh Losardo, noting the township works closely with the Department of Parks and Recreation, Scotch Plains Business & Professional Association, local private and public schools, local fitness and nutrition professionals, and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA.
“It's an honor for Scotch Plains to once again be designated through the Quality Institute's Mayors Wellness Campaign Healthy Town,” the mayor added.
“I would like to recognize former Mayor Al Smith, who was a leader in this program and set forth a number of healthy initiatives. We are committed to promoting healthy behaviors, with a strong focus on enhancing our public parks and expanding recreational opportunities, as well as hosting town-wide events that encourage interaction and further builds our community.”
Losardo expressed his appreciation to Margaret Heisey, Deputy Township Manager, who started the program in 2016. Other successful initiatives, leading to the Health Towns designation, included “25 Days of 25 Pushups for Veterans Mental Wellness,” “The Mayor’s Medal Program” for those who participated in various MWC events and a town-wide nutritional challenge.