AgCenter partners with community center to provide clean water, physical activity in Bogalusa

(05/31/22) BOGALUSA, La. — A community center in Bogalusa has been facing challenges accessing safe drinking water. With the summer heat setting in, the LSU AgCenter wanted to ensure that visitors are staying both hydrated and active.

Brilliant Mindz Community Center director Dana Walker worked with the Bogalusa Strong coalition, which is led by the AgCenter and Our Lady of Angels Hospital, to come up with a solution. Last week, the group unveiled a new hydration station and portable physical activity mats at the center.

“Since Brilliant Mindz rents the space and is not allowed to modify the center, the roll-out physical activity mats and temporary hydration station were the perfect solution,” said Valerie Vincent, LSU AgCenter nutrition agent and Bogalusa Strong facilitator.

Washington Parish, where Brilliant Mindz is located, has some of the worst health outcomes in the state. The center offers various healthful enrichment opportunities for residents, including AgCenter nutrition lessons, fitness activities and a new community garden.

The center even adopted a policy to only serve water at the center, Vincent said.

“The youth and adults have participated in nutrition lessons, a physical activity challenge and healthful family fun days,” said Christi Mitchell, LSU AgCenter SNAP-Ed nutrition educator. “This summer we’re launching a ‘rethink your drink’ challenge, so the new hydration station will support that. Other Bogalusa Strong partner sites are also participating in the summer challenge as well.”

Mitchell hopes that teaching community members how to build healthy habits will help reduce generational reoccurrences of chronic diseases.

Bogalusa Strong is a collaborative coalition of community members, business owners, organizations and elected officials working together to improve quality of life and health outcomes in Washington Parish.

“We are glad to be part of a coalition that works with us to keep the community healthy by offering so much to help enrich our lives,” Walker said. “We strive to be healthier, and with Christi teaching our youth, hopefully these lessons will stay with them throughout their lives and extend to family and community.”

For more information or to join Bogalusa Strong, contact Vincent at or 985-875-2635.

4 people standing next to table with water jugs.

From left, Dana Walker, director of the Brilliant Mindz Community Center; Valerie Vincent, LSU AgCenter agent; Christi Mitchell, LSU AgCenter nutrition educator; and Angela Lambert, of Our Lady of Angels Hospital unveil the new hydration station and portable fitness mats at a Bogalusa Strong coalition meeting. Photo provided by Mignon Barnes

5/30/2022 4:17:34 PM
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