The City of Long Beach’s Junior Beach Runners (JBR) program has received a 2017 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence from the League of California Cities. The award was announced at the League’s annual conference in Sacramento. The League’s annual awards program honors cities that deliver the highest quality and level of service in the most effective manner possible. JBR was recognized in the category of Health and Wellness with an emphasis on “innovative planning efforts that encourage healthy lifestyles.”“Junior Beach Runners is a great partnership between our Parks, Recreation and Marine, and Health and Human Services Departments that furthers the City’s healthy active lifestyle goals,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. With the goal of helping to reduce obesity and improve physical fitness among children in the city, the Long Beach Departments of Parks, Recreation and Marine and Health and Human Services (LBDHHS) along with Run Racing, the operators of the annual JetBlue Marathon in Long Beach, designed the Junior Beach Runners (JBR) program in 2007 to be administered in Long Beach school WRAP (Winners Reaching Amazing Potential) sites, and city parks. “Long Beach Health and Human Services’ Healthy Active Long Beach program, funded through the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Grant (SNAP-Ed), is proud to be a part of the Jr. Beach Runners Program. Over the past 10 years we’ve worked collaboratively with the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Marine to educate youth on the importance of healthy eating and being active and provide JBR families with resources to support healthy lifestyles,” said Lara Turnbull, Healthy Active Long Beach Project Director. “JBR has changed the lives of over 4,000 youth and their families for the better since the program began in 2007. Beginning as a single 12-week program in 2007 with 200 youth, JBR is now serving 600 youth per year in three 8 or 12 week sessions,” said Director of Parks, Recreation and Marine Marie Knight.JBR encourages youth participants and their families to embrace daily physical routines and healthy eating habits. Kids are motivated to challenge themselves and attain new personal best levels in running, fitness tests and various physical activities. Interactive nutrition education sessions, that include healthy food preparation and information on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, equip participants with the knowledge and skills to make healthy decisions related to eating and physical activity. For more information about the Junior Beach Runners program, visit www.longbeach.gov/health/healthy-living/individual/schools-and-parks. About Long Beach Parks, Recreation and MarineThe Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Department (PRM) is one of the premier parks and recreation departments in the country, is consistently recognized for excellence in management practices and programs, and has received the national Gold Medal Award four times. PRM operates 170 parks with 26 community centers; two major tennis centers; an animal shelter; one of the busiest municipal golf systems in the country with five courses; and the largest municipally operated marina system in the nation with over 3,200 boat slips. More than 3,200 acres are developed for recreation. The Department offers approximately 2,400 contract classes (fitness, health, enrichment) to people of all ages (newborn to senior) every year; after-school programs at 26 sites during the school year; and summer programs for youth 5-12 years old. Other unique sites include multiple community gardens, a municipal cemetery, more than 38 miles of bike trails, 10 dog parks, and eight skate parks.For more information about Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine programs and services, visit www.lbparks.org. Please “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.