White House Honors Foundation CEO Carolyn Ward as Let’s Move! and Physical Activity “Champion of Change”
On Thursday, March 22nd, The White House honored Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, as one of 13 leaders being recognized as “Let’s Move! and Physical Activity Champions of Change” for their work to inspire and empower America’s youth to lead active, healthy lifestyles. First Lady Michelle Obama launched her Let’s Move! initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, and physical activity – in addition to a healthy diet – is a key focus of the initiative. In cities and towns across the country, diverse organizations are offering innovative programs and tools that get kids moving. Thursday’s event highlighted some of these models and celebrated the individuals that are driving them at the local level. To watch a recorded video of the event, go to YouTube.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at the event. “I’m so proud that leaders like these have found new and exciting ways to help our kids get up and moving,” said the First Lady. “If we’re going to end our nation’s epidemic of childhood obesity, we need to make sure our kids get the physical activity and nutritious foods they need to grow up healthy and strong. These leaders have done just that, and that’s what makes them true champions for their communities and our country.”
Carolyn was chosen for her work in developing the Kids in Parks program. Kids in Parks installs self-guided, brochure-led hiking trails, called TRACK Trails, designed to connect children to the outdoors, address the health problems associated with physical inactivity and nurture the next generation of stewards for our public lands. Since 2008, the program has grown from one TRACK trail opened at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center in Asheville, NC, to a national program of TRACK trails that spans 3 states and partners with 6 major state and federal land management agencies. Carolyn says, “The Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program is honored to have this recognition and work with the White House and our public lands agencies to get kids unplugged and outside. By developing the future generation of stewards, this program is vitally important to the future health of the Blue Ridge Parkway and all public lands.”
Since 2010, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Kids in Parks program has been run by Jason Urroz, its program director. Under Jason’s leadership, the program continues to expand. In 2012 alone, more than 25 TRACK trails are scheduled to open across the country, expanding the network of opportunities for kids to unplug and get outdoors. “It’s been an honor to work with Carolyn on the development of the Kids in Parks program”, said Jason Urroz. “Hopefully we will be able to leverage this phenomenal recognition by the White House to further expand our network of TRACK Trails.”
About Champions of Change
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities. To learn more about Champions go to www.whitehouse.gov/champions.
Dr. Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation,
and Jason Urroz, program director for the Kids in Parks program at the White House.
- Projects & Programs
- Support The Parkway
- Get Involved
- About Us
Support the Blue Ridge Parkway