With the school year coming to a close, Malaena Toohey is also closing out her career as Live Fit Coalition chairwoman, a position she has held since 2012. Her last day on the job is Friday.
Toohey has worked as a health educator for nearly eight years at the Tooele County Health Department. Prior to that she worked 11 years in Summit County.
“I really believe in what Live Fit stands for and hopefully it will continue, but I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Toohey said. “I will still volunteer, but I wanted to reduce my hours and be more involved with my kids.”
Live Fit’s vision is for Tooele County citizens to work together and utilize local resources to make healthy lifestyle choices that lead toward increased physical activity, better nutrition and health, and improved quality of life.
The coalition will continue, but for now, there is no replacement for Toohey. Tooele County Health District employees Amy Bate, Hillary Bryan, Hilary Makris and Kim Clausing will fill in to help Live Fit move forward.
“For the past four years, I’ve been really focusing on CSPAP, which stands for Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program,” Toohey said. “We’ve dispensed about $7,000 each year for the CSPA program in the school district.”
The program focuses on quality physical education as a foundation; physical activity for students before, during and after school; school staff involvement with family; and community engagement.
It was instituted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Toohey said several schools have received mini-grants to implement various healthy initiatives for their students.
They include Bonneville Academy, Grantsville High School, Grantsville Elementary, Middle Canyon Elementary, Northlake Elementary, Sterling Elementary, Overlake Elementary, Scholar Academy, Vernon Elementary and Willow Elementary.
Below is a list of initiatives the schools have achieved, according to Toohey.
• Bonneville Academy became a Playworks School where they built a culture of play that enables kids to feel a real sense of belonging by partnering with teachers, principals and parents.
• Grantsville High School had students develop a healthy snacking policy that was promoted throughout the school. Teachers took students on daily walks and used brain breaks throughout the day.
• Grantsville Elementary students painted blacktop bright and colorful to encourage more active play at recess
• Middle Canyon Elementary created a new morning drop-off system that encouraged more active play before school begins to prepare students to be ready to learn.
• Northlake and Sterling elementaries offered indoor morning walking and other morning physical activity programs for students to prepare them to be ready to learn.
• Overlake Elementary used Red Tree Yoga to teach students how to calm themselves and basic mediation techniques.
• Scholar Academy offered an after-school physical activity club and provided yearlong indoor morning walking and other physical activity opportunities.
• Vernon Elementary promoted walking and biking to school to help students prepare to sit and learn.
• Willow Elementary painted their blacktop bright and colorful to encourage more active play at recess.
Schools have direct contact with more than 95 percent of the nation’s young people ages 5-17 years, for about six hours per day, and up to 13 critical years of their social, psychological, physical and intellectual development, according to the CDC.
The Live Fit Coalition includes 16 local health officials who were assembled by Toohey.
The coalition works with government leaders to make the environment healthier for future generations.
In 1913, Toohey was named a “Friend of Public Health” by the Utah Association of Local Boards of Health. She was the only person to receive the honor in 2013.
In January, 2014, the Transcript Bulletin named Toohey “Person of the Year” for 2013.