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Eight Oakland County "healthy" projects awarded Brooksie Way minigrants

Eight Oakland County projects - including a therapeutic horseback riding program for special needs students and a health education program aimed at low literacy residents - received funding through the Brooksie Way Minigrant program.

The awards were announced by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

"My son would be proud to see his name associated with so much good work occurring in the community," Patterson said. "The minigrants recognize the ongoing commitment of so many local organizations to fitness and supporting healthy lifestyles in Oakland County."

Support from HealthPlus of Michigan helps make the minigrant program possible. HealthPlus is the presenting sponsor of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. In two years, the program has awarded nearly $73,000 in minigrants to 70 organizations for support of health and wellness projects in the county.

"Health Plus is committed to supporting innovative and effective wellness efforts made possible through win-win events like the Brooksie Way and its minigrant program," said Bruce Hill, president and CEO of HealthPlus of Michigan.

The Brooksie Way is an annual half marathon and 5K race named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007.

The 2012 race is set for Sept. 30 and begins and ends on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of Rochester and Rochester Hills and the Paint Creek and Clinton River trails.

Patterson created the Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Brooksie Way website, www.thebrooksieway.com, and are reviewed three times a year - April 1, August 1 and December 1.

Awards were given to the following organizations:

  1. Sibshops Oakland, Bloomfield Hills: An activity-based support group for children who are not disabled themselves, but have a sibling who is. These children face unique challenges as the care and nurturing of their siblings significantly impacts their own lives. The grant will be used for a day-long fitness and educational event in July.
  2. City of Wixom"Senior Exercise Program" Wixom is expanding the reach of its senior exercise program offerings by purchasing inflatable exercise balls and discs.
  3. Oakland Literacy Council, Bloomfield Hills: "Healthy Literacy Workshop" The Oakland Literacy Council will hold two workshops - April 21 and Oct.17 - for its clients and tutors. The program objective is to help low literacy Oakland County residents become healthier, more informed citizens by providing them with the language, literacy and communication skills they need to find, share and understand information about their health.
  4. Easter Seals - Michigan, Inc., Auburn Hills: "Adventure Therapy Mountain Bike Challenge" The award will be used to purchase six to eight mountain bikes for the Easter Seals/Michigan Adventure Therapy Mountain Biking Challenge. This program is for teens through age 18.
  5. William and Marie Carls Family YMCA,  Milford: "Seniors on the Move"  A seven-week program designed to keep seniors active and engaged in healthy activities such as bowling, golfing, water aerobics, hiking, archery, senior spin classes and pickle ball.
  6. Royal Oak Community Coalition, Royal Oak: "Bike Clinic," A bike clinic for children and adults is set for April 15 at the Modern Skate building. The clinic will include: fitness and exercise tips; bike safety information; maintenance/repairs training; and information about Oakland County bike paths and locations.
  7. Patterson Elementary, Holly: "Hugs for Horses" A five-week therapeutic horseback riding program for special needs students in kindergarten through third grade. The program integrates multiple disciplines including fine and gross motor, speech and language, and social and emotional skills.
  8. Gretchko Elementary PTO, West Bloomfield: "Motor Skills for Academic Success/Motor Moms and Dads"An exercise program designed to enhance skills that are crucial for brain development. Students participate in motor activities, including exercises on balance bars, balance boards, mini-trampolines and sit-n-spins.
The Brooksie Way Half Marathon begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival. The Brooksie Way Fitness Expo is set for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Oakland University Recreation Center.

The 16-week training program that prepares walkers or runners for either the half marathon or the 5k begins in May in either Southfield or Rochester. A six-week "Couch to 5k" program for those who want to jumpstart their spring training begins April 12 in Rochester. More information and registration is available at www.thebrooksieway.com.

The Brooksie Way joins Count Your Steps (CYS), another successful health program founded by Patterson. Count Your Steps encourages elementary children and families to engage in more physical exercise through a pedometer walking challenge. CYS/Brooksie Way is organized to develop and implement one or more programs to educate school age children and their parents on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and to foster and promote programs to encourage public health and fitness.
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