The Distinguished Public Health Service Award is presented annually in recognition of Public Health Week in April to a person or community-based organization that exemplifies a commitment to public health and has served the community with distinction during the past year.
The Passage to Excellence Be Fit Program at Bethel Baptist Church was selected as this year’s recipient for its grassroots origin and multifaceted programs that educate county residents about healthy living. Launched in 2011, the program has made significant strides in a short period of time. Some of its accomplishments to date include:
• A Culinary Arts Nutrition and Cooking Program which is led by a Weight Watchers consultant and meets at Bethel Baptist weekly. The program has helped more than 40 participants learn how to eat, cook and shop healthy.
• A Fitness and Exercise Program that meets one day each week at the church and three additional days each week at the Thomas Slater Center. Participant’s weight loss has ranged from 9 lbs. to 56 lbs.
• A Community Garden created in a vacant lot of the church which harvests collard, mustard and turnip greens, hot and green peppers, lettuce, egg plant, green beans and more. More than 200 participants tend to the garden and range from youth in after school and summer camp programs to students at Berkeley College and church members.
• The Better Health Cable Television Show which is produced at White Plains Cablevision and features various experts on topics like diabetes, heart disease, exercise, HIV and AIDS, and cancer. Two shows are produced each month and are aired throughout White Plains and Greenburgh.
• Education and Awareness Programs are held monthly at Bethel Baptist where speakers are invited to discuss various health topics and health screenings are offered.