Wholespire-funded PSE projects that can lead to healthier, more thriving communities 

by | Jun 27, 2024

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Now that you’ve learned more about the differences between policy, systems and environmental (PSE) change and programs, you should have a better understanding of why we focus on PSE projects in community health improvement, especially health eating and active living.  

For this blog post, we’re organizing project examples by these categories Activity-Friendly Communities, Access to Healthy Food, Healthy School Environments and Youth Engagement. Staff share their expertise, or technical assistance, within several sectors of community: municipalities, state agencies, coalitions, schools, faith-based organizations and other nonprofit organizations.  

Below is an incomplete list of community-level projects Wholespire has supported with mini-grants. The list features examples of PSE projects implemented by various communities across South Carolina. All focus areas marked with an asterisk (*) indicate a level of partnership and collaboration with local government and regulatory agencies required to complete the projects.

  

Activity-Friendly Communities

Activity-friendly communities are vibrant spaces where people of all ages and abilities can easily and safely enjoy walking, bicycling, rolling and other forms of active transportation and recreation. Communities must be thoughtfully designed and include policies, systems, and environmental supports that allow daily active transportation and recreation. 

Focus Area

 

Project/Tactic

 

Items Funded

   

Bicycle and Pedestrian Routes and Trails 

 

 

Provide adequate signage to improve pedestrian safety   Safety signs, paint and other tools  
Install way-finding signage   Signs, posts, hardware and installation costs 
Create maps of community/ neighborhood walking and biking routes  Development of a map 
Develop Born Learning Trails
 
Signs, posts, hardware, paint, brushes, etc. 
Install detectable warnings surfaces on curb ramps for people with disabilities 

Concrete pavers, brick pavers or other products;  

directional and warning signs 

Address pedestrian and bicycle safety to increase walking and bicycling   Paint and supplies for repainting crosswalks, traffic-calming signs, pavement markings, etc.    
Transform a trail or paved pathway into a Storywalk Kiosks, installation supplies and costs 
Transform a trail or paved pathway into a fitness trail Purchase outdoor exercise system equipment/stations 

Parks, Playgrounds and Other Recreational Facilities

 

Provide bike racks at recreational facilities, schools, and businesses  Purchase and installation costs 
Provide benches at parks, paved walking paths, playgrounds, ADA picnic tables, etc.  Purchase and installation costs 
Improve park/recreational facilities   Recreational equipment such as basketball goals, soccer goals, playground equipment, balls, and other needs 
Create inclusive play spaces for people with disabilities  

Sensory panels, inclusive swings, and other inclusive play equipment; ramps, braille and sign language signs; accessible drinking water fountains/water bottle refill stations 

 

Improve accessibility and ADA compliance  Rubber mats for playgrounds, ADA signs, ramps, and other needs 
Create or upgrade a community basketball court  Land grading, concrete, basketball goals, paint, stencils, supplies to repair cracks on surface 
Create a disc golf course  Disc golf backets, disc golf frisbees, equipment needed for installation  

Open Community Use*

Adopt an open community use policy to allow the public to use school recreational facilities during non-school hours 

Signs featuring hours of operation and rules of use 

 

Additional equipment or resources needed such as trash cans, benches, landscaping, soccer goals 
New and safer playground equipment 

Safe Routes to School* 

Improve bicycle riding to school  Paint and supplies for curbs, crosswalks and other safety areas 
Effective Student Pick-up and Drop-off Design  Signs to define areas in drop-off and pick-up zones and explain their proper use 
Enhanced Visibility Crosswalks/ re-painting of crosswalks leading to the school  Stencils, paint, supplies 
Crossing Guard Supplies/Safety Equipment  Reflective vests, stop/go handheld signs, portable stop/go/slow signs and other safety equipment 
Improve school traffic safety during drop off and pick up   Supplies for road surface markings, curb markings, delineators, colored pavements, and traffic channelizing devices, lights for portico 

Access to Drinking Water

 

Ensure drinking water is available in public spaces  Water bottle refill stations, accessible drinking water fountains, water fountains featuring a dog bowl 

Access to Healthy Food

Access to healthy food refers to the availability, affordability, and consistency of foods and beverages that promote well-being and prevent chronic disease. Areas that lack access to healthy foods are known as food deserts. Ensuring access to healthy food is an important element of an equitable food system, one in which those most vulnerable and those living in low-income neighborhoods, communities of color, and rural and tribal communities can fully participate, prosper, and benefit.

Focus Area 

Project/Tactic 

Items Funded  

Farmer’s Markets 

 

 

Establish new farmers’ markets  Sandwich boards, employee/farmer aprons, SNAP/WIC processing equipment and Wi-Fi hot spots, signage, SNAP/WIC promotional signs 
Increase access for people with disabilities  Paint and signs for parking, materials and supplies for curb ramps 

Mobile markets

 

Accept SNAP, WIC, Senior SNAP and Healthy Bucks  SNAP/WIC processing equipment and Wi-Fi hotspots, SNAP/WIC promotional signs  

Community Gardens

 

Create or expand a network of community gardens  Materials to build gardening beds: lumber, cement blocks, planting soil, mulch; Water meter and backflow gauge, signage, Gardening tools (rakes, hoes, etc.), tiller 

Other food access projects 

Provide free gleaned produce stations at a local, public facility  Shelves, baskets, bins and other food storage supplies, chalkboard signs 

Healthy School Environments

Promoting healthy eating and active living in the school environment is crucial for the overall well-being of students and staff. When students have nutritious meals and are physically active, their performance and attention span reflect those elements of healthy school environments. A healthy school environment applies to the indoor and outdoor environments of the school and the surrounding environments.  

Focus Area

 

Project/Tactic 

Items Funded

Farm-to-School 

School Gardens 

Materials to build garden beds, soil, mulch, benches, picnic tables, Gardening tools (rakes, hoes, etc.) 

 

Open Community Use* 

Adopt an open community use policy to allow the public to use school recreational facilities during non-school hours  Purchase signs featuring hours of operation and rules of use 
Purchase additional equipment or resources needed such as trash cans, benches, landscaping, soccer goals 
Purchase new and safer playground equipment 

FitnessGram

Provide physical activity resources for ALL teachers (not just PE)  

Purchase physical activity equipment, tools 

 

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program 

Implement the Alliance Healthy Schools Program Framework of Criteria through the 6 Step Process for building a healthier school environment  

Activities and materials for implementing Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program 

 

Out of School/Afterschool

 

Provide physical activities before, during and after school for students and parents  Create a paved walking track, rubber mulch mats, railroad ties, spikes, benches, solar lights, active pathways, distance markers, etc. 
Retrofit and install safe water sources  Water refill stations, water fountains, accessible water fountains 

Safe Routes to School*

Improve bicycle riding to school  Paint and supplies for curbs, crosswalks and other safety areas 
Effective Student Pick-up and Drop-off Design  Signs to define areas in drop-off and pick-up zones and explain their proper use 
Enhanced Visibility Crosswalks/ re-painting of crosswalks leading to the school  Stencils, paint, supplies 
Crossing Guard Supplies/Safety Equipment  Reflective vests, stop/go handheld signs, portable stop/go/slow signs and other safety equipment 
Improve school traffic safety during drop off and pick up   Supplies for road surface markings, curb markings, delineators, colored pavements, and traffic channelizing devices, lights for portico 

Access to Drinking Water

 

Retrofit and install safe water sources  Water refill stations, water fountains, accessible water fountains 

Transform the physical environment to increase students’ PA and other pro-social learning and play behaviors 

 

Improve outdoor playground equipment  Purchase PA equipment, such as slides, swings, ladders, and various climbing structures for students to interact with; upgrade basketball goals 
Increase the variety of outdoor play options   Add painted play spaces or markings to the playground 
Create active pathways in hallways and walkways  Stencils, paint and other materials 
Create inclusive spaces for people with disabilities  Purchase grip volleyballs, ringing volleyballs and other specialty balls and play equipment for kids with disabilities, smooth surfaces likes rubber mats 
Create an Outdoor Classroom  Picnic tables, benches, and other materials  

 

Youth Engagement (The HYPE Project®) 

Engaging youth in community health improvement can be a driving force for change. Through the Healthy Young People Empowerment (HYPE) Project®, youth develop critical thinking skills, build relationships with community stakeholders and have fun learning practical ways to create policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes. Youth can implement any of the projects mentioned above; however, below are examples of HYPE civic action projects Wholespire has funded.

 

Focus Area 

Project/Tactic 

Items Funded  

School-based PSE Projects 

Mobile Breakfast Carts  Food cart, wrapping for cart 
Improve pedestrian and bicycling safety of students  Supplies for conducting a walkability assessment 

Community-based PSE Projects 

Update a local park  Benches, trash receptables, benches, paint and supplies, park signs 
Upgrade a community basketball court  Basketball goals, paint, stencils, supplies to repair cracks on surface 
Playground improvements  Volleyball net, disability swings, trash receptables, benches, paint and supplies, park signs 

Faith-based PSE Projects 

Create or expand a network of church gardens 

Materials to build gardening beds: lumber, cement blocks, planting soil, mulch; signage, gardening tools (rakes, hoes, etc.) 

 

Include health in all policies  Social hall signs displaying healthy eating policies  
Increase fruit and vegetable consumption at church  Equipment for a salad bar 
Create a smoke-free environment  No Smoking signs