5-2-1-0 will make a 'huge difference' in Scranton
Like many small towns across Iowa, Scranton was forced to shutter its K-12 school more than a decade ago. However, the community turned the negative into a positive by purchasing the building in 2010 and converting it into the Scranton Community Center.
"Small communities are just limited with things to do," said Dawn Rudolph, community volunteer and Greene County Supervisor. Scranton is home to just 558 people.
That's why, she said, they wanted to create a space like the Community Center where residents can come to Open Gym, walk indoors during the cold months, play basketball, volleyball, dodgeball – and even learn how to line dance.
The Community Center one of the busiest places in town: In 2019, there were only 50 calendar days when some part of the Community Center was not in use, said Rudolph. The space is 100% volunteer supported.
Scranton is one of 16 communities across the state receiving 5-2-1-0 funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health in FY21. Part of the funds went toward programming at the Community Center and some funds went towards new projects in town.
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"We thought 5-2-1-0 would be good for Scranton to keep the younger kids motivated and on the right track," said Mayor Cole Gustoff. "It has and will make a huge difference in our town.”
Here are some of the projects that were funded in Scranton with the 5-2-1-0 grant:
At the Community Center, 5-2-1-0 funds were used to purchase two water bottle filling stations, plus a variety of new physical activity equipment.
"We were limited to basketballs, volleyballs, dodgeballs because that’s what people had to donate," said Rudolph. "So to get funds to purchase activity equipment, especially for younger kids, was great. Now we have lots of things for them to do on Open Gym nights."
The space also acts as a school bus pick-up and drop-off site before and after school. The average student spends 20-25 minutes at the Community Center daily so students can also use the equipment and games while they wait.
New Park Amenities
At the Scranton School Memorial Park, community members have converted the former school's sports fields and playground into public park space. The newest additions to the park will include outdoor exercise equipment and a 9-hole disc golf course.
"A lot of people have stepped up to the plate to help make the town even nicer," said Gustoff. "I think the disc golf will have a huge turn-out. It's something that appeals to all ages to get outside and get active."
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The park improvement project also includes new trees and benches. Gustoff is hopeful the disc golf course and fitness equipment will be installed and ready for use by late summer or early fall.
The H.F. and Maude E. Marchant Memorial Library in Scranton was also involved in the 5-2-1-0 grant project incorporating 5-2-1-0 education into their summer reading programs, purchasing fitness DVDs for rent at the library and installing a Story Walk in the community's parks.
"We have several parks in Scranton and theres usually someone using the park so I thought a Story Walk would be a great way to highlight the parks," said Johnson. "It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve gotten a lot of good feedback."
A total of five different books were purchased, with one focusing on each of the 5-2-1-0 healthy habits, plus a book called "In the Small, Small Pond" to be used at Pond Park during “Scranton Kids Fishing Day.” The Story Walk also includes instructions like "wiggle to the next page" to keep kids engaged and active while participating.
Learn more about 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!
5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! is a health-focused movement for kids that’s under the nationally recognized program, 5-2-1-0. It all starts by encouraging them to eat and play the right way.
This proven, scientific method helps keep kids healthy by focusing on the importance of four habits:
- 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables
- 2 hours or less of screen time (television, computer, video games, phones, etc.)
- 1 hour or more of physical activity
- 0 (or reduce) sugar-sweetened beverages - drink more water!
To learn more about how you can get your community, workplace, school, health care clinic or child care site involved in 5-2-1-0, click here.