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DeKalb County Health Adventure

DeKalb County
dekalb-health

DeKalb County, located just south of I-40 on the Cumberland Plateau, has a strong history of collaboration among Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce efforts and health community programming. Leaders from the Chamber and several community groups including the DeKalb County Mayor, Community Advisory Committee, Prevention Coalition, Health Department, Office of Coordinated School Health, and Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital share a deep commitment to bring healthy opportunities to residents of the community and remove barriers to individual’s ability to improve their health.  

Supported by the Saint Thomas DeKalb Office of Community Relations and Regional Volunteer Services, this coalition developed the idea to create new community-wide fitness classes to serve residents of all ages and abilities. In 2017, the community received a $12,000 Saint Thomas Health Foundation Community Benefit Grant to get the program underway. 

The DeKalb Health Adventure program was designed to focus on physical and emotional health while breaking down potential financial or mental barriers to trying something new. The goal was to improve the health of the community one person at a time. Classes and services were designed to overcome the reality that people oftentimes make excuses before deciding to try a new healthy activity, sign up for an exercise class, or learn a new skill.

Engaging residents in rural communities can be a challenge. The DeKalb Health Adventure coalition and their ability to work together has been an asset in overcoming this obstacle. The coalition reached out to key organizations and businesses to open their facilities and host the new classes. In order to reach as many participants as possible, leaders worked with the County Mayor’s office, Health Department, the local Tennessee Department of Human Services office, the school system, Senior Services, and the Recovery Court to insure all of their clients learned of the opportunities to participate. The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce provided marketing and promotional support via mass emails, a “Chamber Chat” Radio and TV program, and event coverage and publicity of success stories across the community. Chamber members supported participation in classes, and Saint Thomas DeKalb also engaged their volunteer network to share information and assist in program delivery. 

The Saint Thomas Health Foundation Community Benefit Grant funded classes including yoga, martial arts, senior chair volleyball and stretching, nutrition classes, healthy cooking demonstrations, and art classes for children and adults. Special needs residents were also served with professionals in place to offer programming to fit their abilities. Facilities including the DeKalb County Complex, DeKalb Senior Center, and Justin Potter Library provided needed classroom space, and the DeKalb County Schools and Farmers’ Market hosted nutrition classes and healthy cooking demonstrations. Two local fitness businesses also joined the effort to offer instructors, classes and use of equipment and facilities. The Center Hill CrossFit gym created and offered a new “foundations” fitness class to prepare and train new participants before attending the regular class. The Center Hill Martial and Healing Arts Club provided an inclusive martial arts and yoga experience with a focus on citizenship, leadership, and self-discipline that introduced peer mediation skills to participants as part of fitness classes. 

In 2018, the DeKalb Chamber worked with the DeKalb County Mayor’s Office to obtain $15,000 via the TNECD ThreeStar Grant to continue the second year of DeKalb Health Adventures, add new classes and ramp up special needs programming. This aligned with ThreeStar Health Pillar priorities. Classes were offered that spring at no cost to residents, and to serve residents of all ages, morning and evening classes were scheduled and special needs children and adult classes were made available with reservations.


Community Impact

DeKalb Health Adventure programming took away financial barriers and created the opportunity for all residents to participate. Project leaders report that the project opened a lot of doors for people to try classes and neutralized barriers for all ages, income levels and segments of the community. Two year results include:

2017 Totals

Adults Served 316
Students Served  664
Classes Offered (Adult and Children Yoga, Special Needs Yoga, Senior Yoga, Strength Training, Family Martial Arts, Tai Chi, Personal Trainer Consults, Senior Chair Volleyball, Walking Club, Healthy Cooking Classes, Cooking Demonstrations at the Farmers Market)
13
Events Hosted  2
Community Facilities Utilized (County Gym, Senior Center, Community Park, 4 County Schools, Farmers Market)
8
Community Organizations Engaged  6
Fitness Related Businesses Supported 2


2018 Totals

Adults Served 408
Students Served  805
Special Needs Residents Served 27
Classes Offered (Adult and Children Yoga, Special Needs Yoga, Senior Yoga, Strength Training, Family Martial Arts, Tai Chi, Personal Trainer Consults, Senior Chair Volleyball, Walking Club, Healthy Cooking Classes, Cooking Demonstrations at the Farmers Market, and New for 2018: Adult CrossFit, Senior Adult CrossFit, and Healthy Kids Camp, Kids Nutrition Training)
17
Community Events 4
Community Facilities Utilized (County Gym, Senior Center, Community Park, 4 County Schools, Farmers Market)
8
Community Organizations Engaged    6
Fitness Related Businesses Supported 3


Program Funding

Saint Thomas Health Foundation Community Benefits Grant (programming, instructors, equipment, supplies) $12,000
TNECD ThreeStar Grant (programming, instructors, supplies) $15,000
DeKalb Prevention Coalition Cash and In-kind Contributions (volunteer labor, contributions and giveaway items) $500
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce Cash and In-Kind Contributions (event coordination, publicity, design, website, emails, printing of program materials)  $500
DeKalb County Senior Center Cash and In-kind Contributions (staff, facilities and equipment)   $2,400
DeKalb St Thomas Hospital Cash and In-kind Contributions (Kids Camp sponsorship, pedometers and donated staff hours)  $1,250
In-kind support from:  
DeKalb County Schools (faculty, facilities and equipment)     
DeKalb County Health Department, DeKalb Community Advisory Committee, DeKalb County Health Council (promotions and volunteer support)   
Local Corporate and Individual Sponsors Cash Contributions (discounts for printing and gym costs for Health Adventure participants) 
 
TOTAL HEALTH ADVENTURE FUNDING (Includes foundation and state grant funding, local contributions, in-kind services) $31,770


Program Leadership and Partners

Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital - Community Relations and Regional Volunteer Services – Project Contact
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce – Executive Director – Project Contact
DeKalb County Government
Saint Thomas Health Foundation
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
DeKalb Community Advisory Committee
DeKalb Prevention Coalition
DeKalb County Health Council
DeKalb County Schools
DeKalb County Senior Center
DeKalb County Health Department
Center Hill CrossFit Gym
Center Hill Martial and Healing Arts

For more project information contact the Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital and the Smithville - DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce.


TNECD ThreeStar Program

The ThreeStar Program is designed to focus on the Governor’s Five Pillars of Jobs & Economic Development, Fiscal Strength & Efficient Government, Public Safety, Education & Workforce Development, and Health & Welfare, all identified as critical to ensuring the success of Tennessee communities. TNECD ThreeStar grants help communities increase their economic and community development impact.   

For more information visit TNECD Community and Rural Development.