A GPS to find healthy habits

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Asher Garrett, 2, reaches for a slice of juicy pineapple from Ed Ducar, director of the Coeur d'Alene schools meal program, at the Health GPS event on Tuesday at Lakes Magnet Middle School. The event was held to educate children in the community on nutrition, exercise, bike safety and more.

How do you improve community wellness?

Health Goals for Parents and Students - a community-wide network of organizations - is working to find the answer in Coeur d'Alene.

The groups have gathered at several neighborhood schools in Coeur d'Alene - most recently Tuesday at Lakes Magnet Middle School - to host events offering services and resources to help families become more physically, mentally, socially and spiritually fit.

"By partnering with neighborhood schools and churches, Health GPS promotes health, wellness, safety and meeting basic needs," said James Curb, the Coeur d'Alene School District's homeless liaison and director of the CDA4Kids after school program. "Our hope is to provide foundational support to children and families most in need."

Free family dental screenings were offered Tuesday at Lakes, and the 2nd Harvest food truck was there with food for those who need it.

The University of Idaho Extension's Eat Smart Idaho folks were there, along with the Coeur d'Alene School District's nutrition program leaders, offering nutrition advice and recipes.

But Health GPS isn't just a hand-out, Curb said.

Dr. Joe Abate of Heritage Health, another Health GPS partner, said the goal is to help families access health care and other resources while building relationships within the community.

"A lot of what's happening out there today is socially isolating," Abate said, said referring to many young people's reliance on social media and texting to communicate.

He pointed to Health GPS partners like BikeCDA and Cherry Hill BMX.

"These are places where kids can go and meet people with similar interests and build healthy relationships," Abate said.

They will also be surrounded by positive role models, said Curb.

Health GPS is planning to host an event quarterly. The next one is expected to take place in conjunction with Mother's Day.

"We aim to provide the resources and relationships that will build stability into our families and neighborhoods," Curb said.

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