Welcome to the Kankakee County Pioneering Healthier Communities website. This site is here to help you make the healthy choices and provide tools and information on activities in the area to make those choices easier. Our goal is to create an environment in the Kankakee county area that promotes and supports healthy eating, an active lifestyle and maintaining a healthy weight, especially for childhood development.

Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) is a local initiative that works together with local governments, community organizations and social service agencies to promote physical activity and healthy eating for everyone living in Kankakee County.  This is accomplished by coordinating existing resources and collaborating on the enhancement and development of effective programs and policies.

In 2010, the Kankakee Area YMCA was selected as one of 16 communities in three states to build a statewide network for reducing childhood obesity through the Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) initiative. Kay Green, Retired Superintendent of the Kankakee School District, led a team of community leaders in February 2011 to Washington, D.C. for training on implementing PHC in our community.

PHC Team in Washington, D.C. - February 2011



LIVE HEALTHY SUMMIT:  In May of 2012, this initiative sponsored the Live Healthy Summit to address the critical issue of reducing childhood obesity by promoting a more active lifestyle. Community leaders throughout Kankakee County attended a three-day summit given by nationally known fitness expert Mark Fenton. This summit focused on the design and implementation strategies that encourage residents to be more active by walking and bicycling more frequently.

COMPLETE STREETS:  One key result from the Live Healthy Summit was the City of Kankakee leading the charge by adopting the Complete Streets Program as an ordinance and plan to develop a healthier community. Plans for the communities of Bourbonnais and Bradley are under consideration, and we look forward to their implementation.

BIKE PATH PLAN:  The PHC Initiative was instrumental in the design, development and implementation of the City of Kankakee Bike Path Plan.  This plan was also coordinated with the Bike Dock Initiative.

BIKE DOCK INITIATIVE:  This initiative encourages businesses and organizations to purchase branded bike docks for their place of business.  The goal of this initiative is to encourage residents to use a more active mode of transportation to get around the community.  Bike docks are purchased by area businesses and individuals.  Once the bike docks are purchased, the communities of Kankakee, Bradley, and Bourbonnais install the docks at no charge. To date, 82 bike docks have been placed throughout the metropolitan area.  The PHC team wishes to thank the communities of Kankakee, Bradley, and Bourbonnais, as well as local businesses and organizations for their very generous donations to foster healthy living in Kankakee County!

EARLY CHILDHOOD SUMMIT was held to assist area preschool educators with developing ways to increase physical activity of children during the school day and provide more extensive nutrition information to parents in an effort to address childhood obesity.  A focus has been the implementation of the 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go! program into area preschool programs.

MINI-GRANTS awarded to five local preschool programs to develop innovative projects designed to address the youth obesity epidemic.

LIVEHEALTHYKANKAKEECOUNTY.COM WEBSITE has become an important resource for parents and educators in the fight against youth obesity.

SLOW ROLL is a group bicycle ride that is organized once a month (May-October) for a community ride that gives riders a unique perspective of our great community and its neighborhoods.  Each month riders meet at different venues and take a unique route at a leisurely pace throughout the community.  The goal of the Slow Roll is to promote healthy living while learning more about the diverse neighborhoods of our community. 



The PHC Initiative is lead by a team of community leaders.  These individuals give of their time and talents to address the obesity epidemic.  The dedicated PHC Team members are as follows:

Dr. John Avendano - Kankakee Community College, President

Dennis Baron – Deck & Baron Attorneys at Law, City of Kankakee Alderman

Chris Bohlen - Barmann, Bohlen, & Jacobi, P.C. - Attorneys at Law

Hollice Clark - Bourbonnais Township Park District, Executive Director

Dr. Kay Green (Chair) - Retired Superintendent of Kankakee School District

Amy LaFine – Presence Health Foundation, Executive Director

Steve Linneman - Tern of the Wheel Bicycles, Owner

Rebecca McBroom - Head Start Program Kankakee County, Director

Mike Mulcahy - Kankakee County Board

Dr. Kay Pangle - Retired I-KAN Regional Office of Education, Superintendent

Theodis Pace - NAACP, President

Nicole Smolkovich - Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley, Executive Director

Norm Strasma - Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley

Deloris Walker – University of Illinois Extension, Extension Educator

Bill Yohnka – City of Kankakee, Economic Development Director

Jim Jumonville - Spotted Pelican, Owner

Jasmine Evers - Kankakee Area YMCA, Membership Director

Dirk Langfoss - Kankakee Area YMCA, CEO

PHC Team Meeting - August 2015