The Champions Institute is back with its third cohort of local leaders

 

The Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Champions Institute—launched in 2020—is our initiative to equip elected officials from across the country to effectively advocate for and support safer and more complete streets in their communities. Today, we are proud to announce the third cohort of champions: 15 local elected officials who will receive comprehensive training to help them become champions in their communities to promote activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations.

“We are pleased to welcome this third class of Champions,” said John Robert Smith, Senior Policy Advisor at Smart Growth America, and the former mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “As we emerge from the confines of the pandemic, these 15 leaders have shown commitment to supporting healthier, more connected hometowns and envision more accessible, equitable, and economically viable communities for all residents.”

Communities of all sizes urgently need to prioritize people when it comes to designing and building streets so that everyone has an option to stay active and healthy while getting where they need to go safely and conveniently each day. As announced in March 2022, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has committed to working with state, regional, tribal, and local agencies to advance the widespread implementation of the Complete Streets Design Model to improve safety and accessibility for all users. Local elected officials play a vital role in supporting these goals, identifying local needs, and advancing the work to build activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations in their communities—and current and former champions are well-equipped to advance these efforts,

The 2022-23 Champion’s Institute’s hand-selected local leaders represent 11 states and communities of almost every size. SGA’s Institute will help its Champions learn how Complete Streets can help create healthy, prosperous, and resilient communities, among other vital lessons. Complete Streets policies are important tools to help reduce emissions and fight climate change by making it possible for more people to walk, bike, roll, or take transit; They can also save thousands of lives each year by reducing the growing number of people who are struck and killed while walking on dangerous roads. Finally, they can help create more equitable public spaces by ensuring that people of all ages and abilities can access our streets. Learn more about Complete Street Policies here. 

Over the next nine months, our Champions will attend virtual learning sessions that will make them experts in equity-based principles and train them on the fundamental steps to take to achieve Complete Streets in their community, from envisioning to implementation. Participants will also learn about best practices and challenges from across the country, as they grapple with different strategies in a collaborative and supportive peer-learning environment. At the completion of the institute’s program, champions will be experts in promoting community reforms to create safer streets for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders, and motorists. Champions will be prepared to support plans, policies, and funding that promote the CDC’s Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative of expanding activity-friendly routes to everyday destinations, in their communities.

We are eager to engage and work with this impressive roster of participants over the coming year and we look forward to sharing more about their communities and their progress in implementing Complete Streets throughout the process. 

Announcing our 2022-23 Champions: 

  • Councilmember Nick Sims – Homewood, Alabama
  • Councilmember Dorothy Wong – Altadena, California
  • Mayor Jenelle Osborne – Lompoc, California
  • Councilmember Kyle Richards – Goleta, California
  • Councilmember Mike Johnson – Ventura, California
  • Councilmember Christy Fox  – West Palm Beach, Florida
  • Councilmember Terrell “Ted” Reid – Sparta, Georgia
  • Councilmember Jimmy Hallyburton – Boise, Idaho
  • Mayor Oliver Friday Ellis – Monroe, Louisiana
  • Mayor Luke Feeney – Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Councilmember Jennifer Mazzocco – Dormont, Pennsylvania
  • Councilmember Trish Hredzak-Showalter – Verona, Pennsylvania
  • Mayor Hollie Berry – Red Bank, Tennessee
  • Councilmember Tim Ceder – Milton, Washington
  • Councilmember Elizabeth Ricketts – Charles Town, West Virginia

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Smart Growth America envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity. For more information visit www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

Active People, Healthy Nation℠ Initiative is a national initiative led by CDC to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027. Increased physical activity can improve health, quality of life, and reduce health care costs. These improvements can help reduce the risk of at least 20 chronic diseases and conditions and provide effective treatment for many of these conditions. Other potential benefits include better school performance and improved military readiness. Building active and walkable communities can help support local economies, result in less air pollution, and create more cohesive communities. Learn more here. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity protects the health of Americans at every stage of life by encouraging regular physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy weight. Through support of state and community partners, they provide data, programs that work, and practical tools so that Americans have the best possible chance to achieve healthier lives and avoid chronic diseases.

Complete Streets