As we move into summer, we have a lot to celebrate and a lot to look forward to. There will also be a variety of new opportunities in our area for children to be active. Many school playgrounds in our community will be open to families and this year the Be Active KIds PlayMobile will make stops at five schools. The PlayMobile is a portable trailer filled with movable, fun things for kids big and small that encourage physical activity, creativity, and learning through play. The PlayMobile is free to families and children of all ages. Parents will need to sign a permission form to participate, but that can be done on site the day of play.

The summer schedule for the PlayMobile is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following elementary schools:

  • July 14 at G.W. Carver
  • July 15 at Williford
  • July 16 at G.W. Bulluck
  • July 22 at Baskerville
  • July 23 at Coker-Wimberly

The PlayMobile is made available thanks to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation. Our thanks to Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant for helping us bring the PlayMobile to area schools.

Please check the DEPC web site this summer for other fun play and learning opportunities. The Summer Feeding sites will also be on the website, where you can find free food, fun and activities for children ages 5-18. (

Remember, you can reach Family First Counselors at 252-985-4300 who are available to match your needs with community resources.

Week of the Young Child a Success

We had a great Week of the Young Child! The theme, Eat a Rainbow, focused on improving nutrition as a way to improve learning for young children. We launched the week with members of the faith community incorporating a Week of the Young Child message into their services and a parade with more than 200 children and 60 adults marching around Discovery Park. Thanks to your donations, we contributed food and support to the Backpack Buddies program, held a healthy cooking demonstration by On the Square owners Inez and Stephen Ribustello and ended the week with a wonderful presentation from Audrey Rowe, Administrator for the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. Thanks again to our sponsors for this year’s week and to all who participated.

DEPC Receives SNAP-Ed (USDA) Grant

Capping off the Week of the Young Child luncheon, was Audrey Rowe’s announcement that DEPC had received a SNAP-Ed (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education) grant! This three-year grant will help DEPC launch new initiatives to improve nutritional health among young children and families in the community. For parents, we’ll be providing lots more education through Family First, workshops, taste-testing and social media. For providers, we’ll be enhancing our professional assistance and professional development to incorporate nutrition and gardening within health and science curriculum and work with after school programs and churches to implement physical activity and nutrition practice changes.

FoodCorps NC Grant to Boost Nutrition Education

FoodCorps of NC awarded DEPC a grant for one staff member to start in the Fall of 2016. The FoodCorps service member will work alongside DEPC staff to support school-community teams in three elementary schools to integrate nutrition, food and gardening into their curriculum.

GSK Ribbon of Hope to Support Ready Schools/Ready Communities

The Partnership was recognized recently with the GlaxoSmithKline Ribbon of Hope award for its Ready Schools/Ready Communities work.  DEPC was presented with a one-time $25,000 grant to support our continuing efforts to build the capacity of area elementary schools to launch all children as successful learners by the end of the third grade.

We hope you and your children will look for ways to stay active, keep learning and eat healthy this summer. Stay connected to DEPC and receive updates on upcoming activities, sign-up to receive our e-blasts at  Also, remember to always use sunscreen and above all have fun!


To view the column in the Rocky Mount Telegram, click here.