Local group fighting childhood obesity energized after receiving grant

By Oliver Lazenby

After being impeded by a lack of funds for a couple years, Let’s Move! Blaine has been re-energized thanks to a grant and a new project manager.

The organization, which focuses on fighting childhood obesity, was able to hire a part-time program manager with a grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation. Jaclyn Sanders is now the group’s sole paid employee and will be working about five hours a week for the group’s goal of providing more health resources for kids, schools and families.

That will allow Let’s Move! Blaine to pick up some initiatives that have stagnated for a couple of years, said founder and board member Dan Persse.

The organization is working on several signed walking loops and a program that would give children the opportunity to walk with a volunteer to a centralized school bus stop, among other things.

“We’re very excited,” Persse said. Persse also teaches physical education at Blaine Elementary School. “We just need to find a way to get more people permanently on the board.”

The group currently has four board members: Persse; Kelle Rankin-Sunter, of Blaine Community Orchards for Resources and Education (CORE); Mardi Solomon, who coordinates Whatcom Community Foundation’s Farm-to-School lunch program; and Heidi Holmes, program manager for Blaine-Birch Bay Park and Recreation District #2.

The Hope Heart Institute, A Bellevue-based nonprofit that focuses on preventing and treating heart and blood vessel disease, helped Let’s Move! Blaine start and supported it until January 2015.

Let’s Move! Blaine was formalized in 2011, when Blaine City Council voted to make Blaine a Let’s Move! city, part of a national campaign Michelle Obama launched in 2010. The organization serves Blaine, Birch Bay and Point Roberts.

For more information or to support the organization, visit letsmoveblaine.org.

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