The students and staff at Liberty Elementary School are enjoying their new walking track funded by a grant from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET). Schools and communities that have achieved “Certified Healthy Oklahoma” status and met grant criteria are eligible to apply for the TSET incentive grants. The information listed is provided from an article released by Ponca City Public Schools.
Ponca City School Executive Director of Operations Bret Smith explained. “This designation was possible because the district qualified as “Excellent” in the Healthy Schools “Business” category of the “Certified Healthy Oklahoma” program. I applied for one last year and received a $20,000 grant for the walking track at Liberty”.
This program has an application process each year based on best practices, programs, policies and communications for Healthy Schools/Healthy Businesses through the State Department of Health and the TSET organization. Smith continued, “Once we qualified as “Excellent” in the Healthy Business category, it afforded us the opportunity to apply for federal grants through TSET”.
“Evans & Associates Enterprises have been installing walking tracks at most of the schools throughout the years and only charging for their costs. This makes constructing a track using PTA or district money easier to handle. The Liberty walking track cost $24,288.00. This means Liberty had to chip in the additional $4,288 to cover the rest of the track construction costs. We have local patrons, such as Jenny Creech (OSU Prevention Programs) working as their TSET Healthy Living Program Coordinator, who, behind the scenes, contribute to our successes and give the schools tremendous support.”
The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program is a free, voluntary statewide certification that showcases business, campuses, communities, congregations, early childhood programs, restaurants, and schools that are committed to supporting healthy choices through environmental and policy change. Each Certified Healthy Oklahoma program has three levels of certification: Basic, Merit, and Excellence. These entities are working to improve the health of Oklahomans by implementing elements, policies, and programs that will help Oklahomans to eat better, move more and be tobacco free.