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City News Flash

Posted on: January 23, 2020

Oakland Park Receives $100,000 Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant

Oakland Park Mayor Matthew Sparks

Oakland Park Receives Childhood Obesity Prevention Grant
$100,000 Awarded to Fund Youth Paddle Club Program

Mayor Spark with Katherine Lugar and Mayor Bryan Barnett

Photo: Oakland Park Mayor Matthew Sparks (left) with
American Beverage Association President and CEO Katherine Lugar (center) and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors  Bryan K. Barnett in Washington, D.C. on January 23rd.

OAKLAND PARK, FL…(January 23, 2020) -- The United States Conference of Mayors and the American Beverage Association for a Healthy America have presented the City of Oakland Park with a $100,000 grant to fund the city’s “Oakland Park Paddle Club” program.

Oakland Park’s newest youth recreation program will provide kayak and standup paddleboard instruction to children ages seven to seventeen.  This program will take place at various venues throughout the city’s 118 acres of waterways.

“With this program, we’re able to get kids off the sofa and on the water so they can have fun getting the much-needed exercise that children need,” said Mayor Matthew Sparks. “The Oakland Park Paddle Club will complement our wide array of existing programs that encourage the youth of our city to experience and enjoy healthy outdoor recreation.”

The city’s Parks and Leisure Services staff is structuring the Paddle Club program to focus on education and wellness, including water safety, swim instruction, and healthy exercise. The kayak and paddleboard component will feature basic instruction, along with equipment care and maintenance.

This new program will help increase the health and fitness of participants by emphasizing a full-body workout, improve balance, cardiovascular health, and increase strength.

“One of the great benefits of kayaking is that it offers both physical activity and emotional enjoyment all while having fun,” said Vice Mayor Jane Bolin. “Kayaking allows children to enjoy a part of Oakland Park that is not normally accessible to them.”

Oakland Park’s Acting Director of Parks and Leisure Services Chris Casale said the city will provide the necessary equipment and instruction, as well as transportation to the waterways.

“The Oakland Park Paddle Club will provide a new outlet for family recreation while increasing the utilization of city park facilities and resources,” said Casale. “I’m excited about this program. It is an opportunity for children to try something new, and I think our residents will love it.”

“I think this program will thrive,” added Mayor Sparks. “We’re helping to make exercise fun and creating more social interaction for Oakland Park’s diverse youth population.”

Be on the lookout for additional information about the Oakland Park Paddle Club!

View video of the Childhood Obesity Awards Presentation beginning at 14:40 and the official announcement of Oakland Park’s $100,000 grant award at 17:54

NOTE: Note: The City was required to hold off on sharing the news of this prestigious grant award until the official presentation was made at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. on January 23, 2020.

The official announcement of this prestigious award is below:

On behalf of The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and our partner the American Beverage Foundation for A Healthy America (ABFHA), congratulations! Your city has been selected to receive the 2020 Childhood Obesity Prevention Grants Award, in the Small City category. You will be receiving a grant in the amount of $100,000 to further your city’s efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

Our staff will reach out to the individual(s) listed as contacts on the grant application with additional information. In the meantime, we do want to inform you that the official awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, January 23rd at the Capital Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC during USCM’s 88th Winter Meeting. If you have not already registered for the meeting, USCM staff can assist you in making those arrangements.

Again, congratulations, and thank you for the work you do each and every day to combat childhood obesity and improve outcomes for our nation’s youth. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at 202-861-6707 or email if you have any questions or need additional information.

Best regards,


Dalen A. Harris

Assistant Executive Director 

US Conference of Mayors 

Video of Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards
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