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How Allegheny East Movvved Its Way to Two Health Awards

Story by Robert Booker
Published 2/23/2012

A. Leah Scott (center), the conference’s Health Ministries director, is pictured receiving the award with Donna Richardson Joyner (left), a member of the President’s Council of Sports, Fitness and Nutrition; and Regina Benjamin, MD, U.S. Surgeon General (right).

Last year as a part of the InStep for Life initiative, Katia Reinert, North American Division Health Ministries director, challenged the entire division to participate in Let’s Move Day. It was one day in September where all the Seventh-day Adventist churches, schools, hospitals and their friends would engage in physical activity. The Allegheny East Conference responded enthusiastically and won two awards at the recent InStep for Life awards in Florida for having the highest participation rates, most community gardens and most physical activity miles across the Columbia Union.

Leah Scott, the Allegheny East Conference’s Health Ministries director, said she was only too happy to get her conference involve. She already believed that movement was a cure-all for the ills of a sedentary lifestyle. She had become familiar with Carol Welch’s quote, “Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.” Around the conference Scott was a spokesperson for change, and one of its staunchest disciples. She is up early to jog, walk and exercise and she finishes off her day with rounding off her steps. She feels she has to get about 15,000 steps a day or about 7.5 miles.

Having developed the slogan “Allegheny East on the Movvve!” in 2007 to challenge the conference constituency, she worked to get employees to keep track of their steps and work toward incentives, as a part of an employee wellness program. By tracking their miles for the employee wellness program, the Allegheny East team contributed greatly to Reinert’s 1 million-mile challenge.

To meet this challenge, Scott and her “dream team” of health coordinators got busy calling and motivating church health leaders and pastors to get behind “Let’s Move Day.” On September 25, 2011, she was at the conference’s West Philadelphia church, where Valerie Roach, Health Ministries leader, gathered 55 persons to walk approximately 7.5 miles round-trip from the West Philadelphia church to Ebenezer church beginning at 5 a.m. After completing that walk, Scott went to Wilmington, Del., where Pastor Donald McKinnie arranged a walk and a health fair. While all these events were going on, Audrey Booker, Pine Forge Academy’s school nurse, was leading Delmas Campbell, principal; Kris Fielder, vice principal and approximately 75 students on a 3k walk.

Before the day was over, physical activity reports were coming in from all across the conference—from northern New Jersey to Virginia. Scott and her administrative assistant, Jacqueline O’Bryant, tallied the exciting statistics and sent them to Reinert.

At the awards ceremony, Scott was called to the podium on two occasions to receive awards for the support given to the Let’s Move Day initiative. She accepted the second award on behalf of Pine Forge church.

Scott is already planning for this year’s Let’s Move Day, which will last a week in the conference. “I know that Allegheny East Conference will be well represented again,” Scott said. “We are encouraging our members and our employees to keep moving. Allegheny East Conference is still on the Movvve!”

Click here to see what other Columbia Union entities were recognized at this year’s Adventists InStep for Life awards.