Claremore Woman Receives National Award

Local Advocate Receives National Award from America Walks

Jody Reiss to participate in “Walkable Communities” training program

America Walks, a national advocacy organization that promotes walking and walkable communities, announced today that Jody Reiss of Volunteers for Youth has been awarded a Walking College Fellowship.

The Fellowship will enable Jody Reiss and 23 other advocates from around the country to participate in a four-month training program designed to strengthen local efforts to make communities more walkable. “We are delighted to welcome Jody Reiss as a member of our 2017 Walking College class,” said Ian Thomas, State and Local Program Director with America Walks, “This program was developed in response to our findings that access to technical assistance and a national peer network are among the most pressing needs for advocates working at the local level.”

Jody Reiss will complete a six-module distance-education training program this summer and participate in the National Walking Summit in St. Paul, Minnesota in September. “I am honored to be chosen for this opportunity. Since coming into my position as a Healthy Living Project Director, it has been very eye opening. One day I was walking to a meeting across the street from my office and on my way out someone stopped to see if I needed a ride. Walking is not a norm in Rogers County and I would like to see this norm shift,” said Reiss.

“I believe that this opportunity has come at just the right time. The Claremore Collective is a group of young professionals working to provide opportunities for growth in the community and I have been active in the group since its inception. The topics of my training program align closely with the things our Claremore Collective survey revealed…community members want walkability, green spaces and active transportation,” added Reiss.

Now in its third year, the Walking College curriculum has been designed to expand the capacity of local advocates to be effective community change agents. Topics include the science behind the benefits of walking, evaluation of built environments, as well as communication skills and building relationships with stakeholders and decision makers.

At the conclusion of the Walking College program in November, Fellows will develop a Walking Action Plan for improving walkability in their communities.

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About The Walking College: The Walking College is supported with funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Public Health Association. Mentoring will be provided by national leaders in the field, including representatives of WalkBoston, the Walkable and Livable Communities (WALC) Institute, Urban Health Partnerships, and MIG Inc. More info. at

About America Walks: America Walks is the only national organization devoted exclusively to making America a great place to walk. America Walks consists of a network of more than 700 partner and allied organizations, working to increase walking and create more safe, accessible and inclusive places to walk. Programs include on-line technical assistance, community-based workshops, convenings such as the National Walking Summit, federal advocacy initiatives, and increasing financial resources for local action. America Walks also maintains the Every Body Walk! Collaborative, a national partnership focused on increasing the visibility of walking and cultivating consumer demand for more walkable places. More info. at

The mission at Volunteers for Youth is to positively impact the lives of our youth with an overall vision that Rogers County youth succeed. We offer site-based mentoring programs, an after-school program for 6th-8th graders, a classroom setting for students on long-term suspensions, and a program for high-risk juveniles or first offenders. Healthy Community Partnership works with the Rogers County Coalition to help improve the quality of life for Rogers County residents, by reducing prescription drug abuse, promoting smoke free environments, encouraging health and wellness through proper nutrition and increased physical activity.


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