June 18, 2005: C.L.I.M.B., A New Civic Initiative, Hosts Kickoff Event to Promote Outdoor Exercise, Clean Air, And Safe Streets And Parks in Northern Manhattan

Chooses Poster By Student at PS 115 in Washington Heights To Depict Project’s Vision

New York, NY — June 18, 2005 — CLIMB (City Life Is Moving Bodies) — a new community-wide initiative created to promote outdoor exercise, clean air, and safe streets and parks in Northern Manhattan — held its first event today. The event, called “Hike the Heights,” provided a day of activities in Highbridge Park, including guided walks on park trails and a treasure hunt for younger children. T-shirts, pedometers, and raffle prizes were given away; healthy food was provided by neighborhood restaurants, and sign-ups for walking clubs offered people an opportunity to continue exercising with friends and neighbors.

CLIMB was initiated by three Northern Manhattan organizations: the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health, the Community Research Group of the Mailman School of Public Health and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Its geographic focus is Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, and Washington Heights and the “sliver parks” that connect them: Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Highbridge Park. Working with representatives of community organizations, the CLIMB initiative will develop programming to promote both outdoor exercise to address he growing health risks associated with obesity and air pollution and to increase use of local parks, to improve connections between neighborhoods .

As part of the CLIMB launch, a poster contest solicited entries from young artists on the theme of “Getting Active Uptown”. The winning poster was created by Melissa Ortiz, a 12-year-old student at PS 115 in Washington Heights. It shows a child riding a bicycle on a park path, while other children play games against the backdrop of a colorful cityscape. As the winner, Ortiz was awarded a $500 prize. The first- and second-place winners received $250 and $125.

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