Through the years, we’ve worked with exceptional individuals who understand local challenges facing their communities and have the passion and the vision to create opportunities where people can make healthy choices where they live, work, learn, play and pray. We’re recognizing these individuals, who have been nominated by their peers and colleagues, to showcase their commitment to making the healthy choice, the easy choice.
If you talk the talk, shouldn’t you walk the walk? That’s how Lowcountry resident and SC Department of Health and Environmental Control employee Sharon Crossley lives. For the past 25 years, she’s been an advocate for healthy eating and active living both in her work and in her personal life.
“It started with my master’s in health promotion back in the 80’s from USC, and I have been living the life since and working in preventive health and now population health education,” says Sharon. “I have been supporting communities; schools; and worksites with healthy eating and active living policies and education for over twenty-five years in coalitions.”
Over the years, Sharon has worked with coalitions to increase access to healthy foods and physical activity for communities that have had little to zero healthy options. She’s had a hand in many initiatives throughout the Lowcountry, from Bamberg to Dorchester to Charleston counties.
“She really is the ultimate bridge builder between the public, private, and non-profit sector regarding eating smart and moving more,” says Nikki Seibert Kelley of Wit Meets Grits. “Sharon works tirelessly to create genuine and strong connections between different agencies, organizations, and the communities they serve. She is the first to volunteer to help, the first to get things done, and the last one to complain about being overextended.”
One of the many initiatives Sharon has worked on is a school wellness program with school districts in Charleston and Dorchester counties. The school districts have been able to make great strides in creating healthy environments for students with support through local funding, local coalitions, and MUSC Boeing Center for Children’s Wellness.
In addition to healthy school environments, Sharon has helped create the Walker Leader Training program through Eat Smart Move More Charleston Tri-County; successfully encouraged healthy policy adoptions in worksites and churches; guided Goose Creek with the development of walking trails; and helped organizations working on food systems initiatives, like Lowcountry Food Bank.
“If I need to know who is doing what and where, I can always ask Sharon and there is a good chance she will end up at any meeting I am in,” says Seibert Kelley. “Beyond her actual work output, she is a pleasure to be around and walks the walk.”