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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Streets Alive Lee County

Oct 02, 2013 01:32AM ● By Linda Sechrist

Jorge Perez

If Batman’s faithful sidekick, Robin, peeked over the shoulder of Diane Holm, a steering committee member for Fort Myers’ Streets Alive, and saw the agenda for the free, fun activities planned for November 10, he couldn’t resist exclaiming, “Holy Streets Alive, Batman!”

Holm, who has been involved in the planning of Streets Alive Lee for several years, explains its origin. “Several years ago, Dr. Judith Hartner, director of the Florida Department of Health in Lee County, became aware of Cicloviá, [a bike/pedestrian event], which has been repeated in numerous U.S. cities, including Miami. She encouraged our Healthy Lee physical activity committee to investigate how the model, patterned after Bogotá, Columbia’s highly successful event, could be adapted as an opportunity to demonstrate health in action and promote a healthier lifestyle to residents of Lee County,” she says.

Other than the temporary opening of a 1.6-mile route along city streets to cyclists, skateboarders, walkers, joggers, dancers and the general public, Streets Alive Lee bears little resemblance to other similar events. According to Holm, the most significant differences are the delicious, nutritious food and beverages provided by restaurant vendors, and a large offering of physical activities led by fitness vendors.

Streets Alive Lee is designed to offer individuals opportunities to see and experience different healthy foods that they can cook at home, as well as numerous fun sports, games and activities that can make a home-based physical fitness practice less routine and more enjoyable. For individuals and families not interested in activities led by instructors, street games such as hopscotch, jump rope, urban ball games and others are available.

“The local businesses and vendors who are participating in the event clearly understand the challenge of today’s rushed lifestyle, where we attempt to pack work, school, homework, after-hours activities, family time, physical exercise and making healthy meals all into one day, every day. This was one of the inspirations for helping Lee County residents learn about options that could make their lives easier and healthier. For example, if someone loves a healthy dish from one of our restaurant vendors, they can take a business card and know where to pick up a meal and what to order. This also applies to the activity vendors,” advises Holm.

The Streets Alive Lee nonprofit corporation is already organizing future events. “We are interested in longevity and frequency, which means that community support is very important to us. It will not only help Streets Alive Lee to sustain the momentum, but also in our application for grants to cover the expenses of events, such as the one we are planning for April 2014. A healthy community is a thriving community, and that’s what we are all anticipating,” remarks Holm.

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