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Neighborhood Walking Groups Forming in Winston-Salem

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A 12-week project to increase physical activity and build community connections is seeking residents from six East Winston neighborhoods to join walking groups.

People living in the area surrounding Delta Fine Arts Center, the Depot Street area, Reynoldstown, Slater Park, and the area between 14th Street and 5th Street west of Cameron Avenue are invited to join.

"The project''s goal is to increase physical activity while building civic pride and neighborhood identity," said Shellie Ellis, project director. "If it is successful, the project could easily be extended to other local neighborhoods." Sponsored by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and the BeHealthy Coalition of the Forsyth County Department of Public Health and funded by the Winston-Salem Foundation, the program will include a research study to measure the program''s effectiveness.

Decision-makers and leaders in Winston-Salem will join the groups as "guest" walkers to learn more about the community and to make connections with the residents.

The groups will select walking times that suit members. Beginning April 1, they will walk twice a week on "heritage trails" - six routes that pass by historical sites and interesting architecture. The routes range from 0.8 miles to 2.4 miles. Walkers will receive T-shirts, pedometers and other prizes for participating.

The heritage trails were developed with the help of community members and local historians William J. Rice, Ph.D., and Mel White. A heritage trail map explains the historical significance of the sites.

More that 40 sites are included on the trails, such as Lloyd Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest African-American churches in Winston-Salem, and the site of the first African American fire station on Dunleigh Street. The trails also feature unique architecture, such as the Reynoldstown neighborhood, recently nominated for historical designation for its variety of quaint bungalows built around 1920.

To participate in the program, walkers must be in reasonably good health. They will be asked to complete a survey at the beginning and end of the program. Walking group captains are needed to lead each group. They will attend a two-day training session to learn about the program and the trails.

For more information, call Project Coordinator Gena Hargis at 713-4238.

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Media Contact: Karen Richardson, (336) 716-4453, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu

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