HEAL accomplishes this mission using a curriculum-based fitness and nutrition education program that is designed for elementary students and incorporated into the daily lesson plans of the Physical Education (PE) classroom. While the main focus is the child, we have discovered that our field of impact is far greater. Entire families and school faculty members have joined the HEAL way of life as a result of this program.
In 2002, HEAL founder, Christy Swaid retired from a career of sports and fitness and moved to Alabama after marrying world renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Swaid N. Swaid. She quickly realized the impact of obesity and unhealthy lifestyle choices on the citizens, especially the children, of her new state. Alabama, during the time of Christy’s arrival, was one of the top three states for obesity, diabetes and hypertension, and we had one of the fastest growing rates of type two diabetes among children. For Christy, this was unacceptable. After moving here, it became her mission to help find solutions to our state’s health and wellness challenges. As a result, HEAL, Inc. was tested in 2002 and formally organized in 2006. By 2007, a six-month pilot initiative was launched and evaluated with fifth-grade PE classrooms at 10 Alabama schools.
Most recently, Christy was recognized as a 2018 Yellowhammer Woman of Impact and was appointed this year by Governor Ivey to serve on the executive team of Alabama’s Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. Christy is a health and wellness committee member, charged with helping establish best practices for improving student health and wellness in Alabama. In 2018, HEAL was selected by the Birmingham Business Journal as a finalist for the Nonprofit of the Year Award.