In May of 2011, the Columbia Chapter of the Links, Inc. was recognized at the Southern Area Links Conference in New Orleans for its “Links to a Healthy Lifestyle” and Childhood Obesity Prevention programs. The chapter received a Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant which is being used to promote healthy eating habits and increased physical activity among children.
In March of 2011, the Columbia Chapter of the Links, Inc.’s won a first place award for its Services to Youth program at the Anna Boyd Child Development Center. The award was granted on behalf of the WIS-TV and DHEC All-Health Team Award, for the 1st Quarter 2011 Childhood Obesity Prevention competition. Students and members of the Columbia Chapter of Links were filmed by WIS making a healthy salad from items harvested from recently planted school garden which was a Links sponsored project for the school. Links members also contributed by partnering with the students and school to sponsor a walking club.
Also in March of 2011, during a Links Day at the Capital event, the Columbia Chapter provided speakers on Childhood Obesity Prevention. Speakers included: Phyllis Allen, a state nutritionist, Debbie Hunter, Principal at E.E. Taylor Elementary School, and James T. McLawhorn, President of Columbia Urban League.
In December of 2010, the Southern Area Commission of the Links, Inc., awarded a $2,500 grant to the Columbia Chapter for its “Links to a Healthy Lifestyle” initiative. Through this initiative, the National Trends and Services to Youth facets collaborated with E. E. Taylor Elementary School to provide 5th graders with six sessions designed to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and regular exercise. The teams organized activities designed to increase participation in active play and organized discussions around portion control and the benefits of increased intake of fruits and vegetables.
In 2010, the Columbia Chapter invited the Nassau Bahamas Chapter of the Links, Inc. to engage in a collaborative alliance to reduce Childhood Obesity and to promote healthy living for children. Through collaboration with Richland School District I, SCETV and the Ministry of Education in the Bahamas, the chapters successfully organized a ‘real-time’ webinar for students in Columbia and Nassau to talk with each other and learn about fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods grown and consumed in their respective countries.
Also in 2010, through its Legislative Linkages Facet, the Columbia Chapter of the Links, Inc. supported HB 3297, a bill banning high-sugar, high-fat foods from being sold to South Carolina students during the school day. The legislation is aimed at curbing childhood obesity in a state with one of the nation’s highest rates of overweight and obese youth. A survey released by the state Education Department showed one in six high school students in the state are obese. Bill sponsors state that giving students only healthy options could save lives and money.