Get Healthy DeSoto Inc. is a nonprofit organization, established in 2004, in an effort to make a long-lasting positive impact on the health and safety of the De Soto community. When the organization was started, membership was only for those who lived in the DeSoto area. That was changed in 2015, extending free membership to everyone.
Get Healthy DeSoto offers a variety of programs encouraging healthy lifestyle choices through the promotion of physical activity, healthy nutrition, weight control and disease and injury prevention, and also offers many educational and informational programs.
The organization is small, but has done big things.
We are volunteer-based. We have an Executive Director, Melissa McAlpine, and volunteers. Everything we have done has been done in the absence of paid staff, with little equipment, and with scarce supplies. Yet, we are making a difference.
Get Healthy DeSoto’s programs have included the hugely successful De Soto Farmers’ Market, Community Gardens, the distribution of over 2,500 newsletters to community members weekly, coordination of the extremely successful annual Better Body Challenge, supporting weight loss, facilitation of the weekly People with Arthritis Can Exercise, facilitation Healthy Lunch and Learn seminars, and the Walking School Bus program.
Get Healthy DeSoto also played a role in policy-related change in the City of De Soto, resulting in De Soto Complete Streets Policy. Additionally, GHD facilitates walking, hiking, and bicycling clubs at various times throughout the year, facilitates health screenings, offers informational seminars, and attends health and safety fairs.
Community members and organizations have shown great interest in Get Healthy DeSoto and have helped promote the health and wellness of De Soto residents by donating time and resources to meet GHD goals. Support for GHD is evidenced, not only by its donations, but also by its 2500 members, its 100 plus volunteers, and its many collaborations with community organizations. One of its most successful collaborations has been with the Jefferson County Health Department. GHD and JCHD have a shared mission, which has resulted in a number of highly successful projects, not the least of which is De Soto Farmers’ Market.
Get Healthy DeSoto has also had very successful collaborations with Jefferson Regional Medical Center, University of Missouri Extension, Jefferson College, Chartwells, De Soto Chamber of Commerce, De Soto Ministerial Alliance, De Soto Rotary, Master Gardeners, DARE, and the City of De Soto, among others.
The organization has made many contributions to the community as well. All of the improvements made have been made through fundraisers and with the help of community businessmen, organizations, grant funding, and in-kind donations from the City of De Soto. The improvements include:
- the extension of the walk trail in Walther Park
- 11 wellness/exercise stations in Walther park
- the walk trail in Spross Park
- the Woodland Nature Trail development between the High School/Junior High and Vineland Elementary campuses
- information kiosks in Walther and Spross Park
- a Frisbee golf course in Spross Park
- published pocket walking guides
- playground equipment in Walther Park
- a Complete Streets Policy adopted for the City of De Soto
- a Master Bike/Walk plan completed in 2010 and
- collaboration to plan an extension of the walking trail in Spross Park.
Thanks to Get Healthy DeSoto, the De Soto community is moving, growing, and eating….for health.