Giving families a ‘Healthy Kickstart’

By Morgan McKinniss -

GALLIPOLIS — Families now have more opportunity for their students to have a healthy start to the school year.

A sub-grant was awarded Thursday morning by the Gallia County Commissioners to the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center in the amount on $214,000. This will fund the Healthy Kickstart program which provides a number of events to give students the best start to a school year through preparation.

Dr. Denise Shockley, director of Galia-Vinton ESC said she’s excited about the program.

“I’ve been in education for 40 years, and this is the most comprehensive program I’ve ever been involved with for the beginning of school,” she said. “The program is intended to create family stability by having children ready to start school and being successful right at the start of school.”

Gallia-Vinton ESC is heading the program in order to help students entering the school year as prepared as possible in several different areas: diet, health, educationally, and logistics. The program includes assisting students who are transitioning school buildings by working with teachers and families so that students know what to expect before the first day.

On those school transition days, students will have the opportunity to meet teachers, get their schedules, and discuss what is expected of them, and what they can expect in a new school setting.

Healthy Kickstart will also host a county wide health fair at the Gallia County Health Department on Aug. 12. This is a collaborative effort between school nurses and the health department to make sure students have the correct immunizations before school starts – Ohio recently changed these requirements. The health fair will also have 12 booths set up to educate families on healthy habits to better prepare families for school. Incentives will also be offered to families that come and go through all 12 booths.

The sub-grant is through the Department of Job and Family Services’ Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program.

“I am very excited about this new innovative program that Dr. Shockley and her collaborative team have developed for our community” said Dana Glassburn, director of DJFS.

If families would like to learn more about the Healthy Kickstart program or the Gallia-Vinton ESC, visit or call them at 740-245-0593.

By Morgan McKinniss

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.