Provider Health Spotlight on Maranda Parker

October 11, 2016


Maranda Parker, (former) Health and Fitness Education Specialist, White Birch Community Center, Henniker, New Hampshire

The Problem

Maranda wanted to create a fitness program for staff members, but a conventional after-work program wasn’t feasible. Many of the Center employees are working mothers and have nighttime commitments.

The Solution

A collective virtual walk to Miami Beach, Florida.

How They Did It

Maranda presented the staff with a challenge: If each of them committed to walking or running at least two miles a day, they would cover 2,388.3 miles in 61 days—the walking distance to Miami. The rules were simple: walk your daily miles, motivate and help out fellow staff members, and keep track of your mileage.

Each classroom became a team, and each week the team that averaged the most miles received a certificate to be displayed on the classroom door. Cindy called it the “Forrest Gump Award,” after the scene in the film where Forrest runs and runs—and motivates the people around him to do the same.

The Results

Staff members got to Miami in just 47days—a full two weeks early.

According to Maranda, teachers now have more energy and are more upbeat. They’re bringing healthier lunches to school. Many have purchased Fitbits or other fitness tracking devices.

And the children have noticed. “It has shown the children that taking care of their bodies is important and has motivated them to do the same….(they) are eager to eat their fruits and vegetables and tell everyone about it as well as participating in more physical activities.”

On Maranda’s Wish List

A budget for higher-quality prizes that will motivate participants to take on new challenges and acknowledge their fitness achievements.


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Topics: Workforce, Best Practices, Health & Safety

Krista Scott

Written by Krista Scott

Krista Scott is an experienced child health expert working at the forefront of policy, advocacy and equity as the current Senior Director for Child Care Health Policy at CCAoA. For over 15 years, Ms. Scott has worked in public health and education, primarily in non-profit and government agencies, where she has honed her expertise in early childhood health, mental health, special education, program development and support and in using policies to strengthen practice. Ms. Scott has her bachelor’s degree in political science and her Master of Social Work with a focus on management and policy.