2011-12 Boston Schweitzer Fellow Mariah Rich has been named as the inaugural Hannaford Health Hero for her work to address childhood obesity in Waltham.
According to Hannaford, “Rich’s recognition is the first in a series of awards from Hannaford Supermarkets through the ‘Hannaford Health Hero’ program, which recognizes the work of Massachusetts-based volunteers who inspire others within the community to make healthy choices for life.”
As a Schweitzer Fellow, Rich worked with Healthy Waltham to implement the “Let’s Move Cities and Towns” program. Per Hannaford’s press release:
While volunteering at Healthy Waltham, Rich created the “Veggie Buddies” healthy eating mentoring program, which pairs elementary school students with volunteers from Brandeis University to educate children on nutrition. Additionally, she started a community garden and gardening club in a public housing development in Waltham and began a series of healthy cooking workshops.
Rich also organized the “Let’s Move” kick-off, where over 400 individuals participated in physical activities including a massive tug-o-war game; and played a key role in the organization of “International Walk to School Day,” during which more than 250 students from Fitzgerald Elementary School walked to school to promote physical activity and wellness among local youth.
Rich was nominated by Devon Reber, program director for The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, a national nonprofit organization that develops individuals who are dedicated and skilled in meeting the health needs of underserved communities and whose example influences and inspires others. Rich’s work with Healthy Waltham was carried out during her fellowship, which requires a 200-hour service project with a community based organization.
In the nomination, Reber said, “One of the strongest examples of Mariah’s impact comes from a cooking workshop. After working to make a pasta primavera with whole-wheat pasta, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli, the kids licked the entire bowl clean. At the end of the meal, one of the boys said, ‘I didn’t know brown pasta could taste good!’”