The Blog

March 24, 2015

How Pharr A City Can Get When They’re In It Together!

We couldn’t resist a punny title for this Community Challenge Spotlight on Pharr, Texas. This mid-sized city took the trophy in 2013, and we asked their Public Utilities Director David Garza to share their recipe for success. “Well that’s a secret… Pharr residents are competitive by nature… I will give you one hint: our Pharr Police Athletic League program.” Not only is the whole police department stepping up, Pharr uses social media, the city website and television station, and has planned multiple events to encourage better eating choices and increasing physical activity including a St. Patrick’s Day 5K and weekly community walks!

A Promotional Video Pharr Students Made to Get Residents Registering!

A big reason why Pharr is demonstrating repeated Challenge success: they keep the competitive spirit going year round with health challenges of their own. “The city has initiated healthy living programs inspired by the Community Challenge, including the Pharr Fit Challenge and the Kick the Habit Challenge! The Pharr Fit Challenge attracted 20 employee-volunteers to change their lifestyles by completing medical exams, dietitian visits and participating in our crossfit program… Our Kick the Habit Challenge not only encourages, but offers professional counseling and support to city employees in their effort to quite smoking.”

We asked David what changes he has seen in the community since their first Challenge win. “In earning our 2013 victory we forged a meaningful bond with our residents and guests and noticed a substantial increase in civic pride. Changing attitudes is never easy. We have seen first-hand how the Challenge and the other programs we’ve implemented have convinced our citizens that the choice to live a healthy lifestyle does not have to be boring, burdensome or bland. Our greatest accomplishment has been using positive reinforcement to change behavior and inspire better decision-making… if competing and winning can lead to just one healthier friend or family member, it will have been well worth it.”

It is truly incredible what Pharr has accomplished due to the passion and creativity of their city employees, and the willingness of the community to try new things. Their health challenge doesn’t end on April 12th, and neither should yours.

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