The town of Prosper is ready to hit the ground running for the IT’S TIME TEXAS Community Challenge. The challenge is a 12-week competition that mobilizes a community’s schools, businesses, organizations and city staff toward the goal of transforming the city’s health. This is the challenge’s fifth year of existence, and Prosper’s second year participating. City staff said participating in the Challenge is a win-win for the town and its residents.


“Not only will one of our schools win almost $2,000 for educational programming materials on good health, but the town gets bragging rights for another year, and perhaps most importantly, participants enjoy a healthier life by eating better, losing weight, toning their muscles, increasing their good quality of life, deepening their family relationships by doing healthy activities together, lowering their susceptibility to illness, looking and feeling better, and many other personal benefits,” Mayor Ray Smith said in an email.


After competing in the Challenge for the first time in 2016, Prosper emerged with the victory, something the town is hoping to continue this year. City staff attribute last year’s victory to the participation of local organizations and businesses, as well as the school district.


“Since the Challenge has a goal of changing lifestyle habits of young people toward a healthier approach, bringing in the schools was critical,” the mayor said in his email. “Our staff visited with principals, teachers, school nurses, administrators, coaches, parents and other school-based groups and asked them to participate. They all agreed that the goal was worthy and they eagerly participated. The support of the schools was a key to our success, and we’re counting on them once again this year.”


He emphasized that winning the challenge is a community-wide effort that requires everyone to pitch in and keep track of their progress on the ITT website.


Last year the prize money for Prosper was $1,500, along with a trophy and a large banner. The money was earmarked for health-related programming in Prosper schools. The city created a participation contest among the district’s schools to see which school would embrace the campaign the most.


“At the end, the race was a close one, but Rogers Middle School emerged as the winners,” Smith said. “The Rogers principal was invited to a Town Council meeting and the check was presented to him on behalf of the school and all of the school supporters who helped.”


This year’s prize money has increased to $1,800, and Prosper has already made the commitment to repeat last year’s competition among the schools. There are several ways for cities and towns to earn points. Registering on the site as individuals, groups, organizations, businesses and schools, and then posting healthy selfies or other examples of eating well, exercising, losing weight and showing a commitment to health and wellness all add points to Prosper’s entry.


At the end of the 12-week program, the cities and towns in each of the five categories with the most points win the titles. Points are only awarded when individuals, groups, organizations and schools upload their progress on the website. Examples of photos can include a picture of someone eating an apple instead of a donut for a snack and visiting the gym instead of getting ice cream or watching TV.


The contest kicks off on Jan. 9 and continues through March. To find out more and to register, visit www.ittcommunitychallenge.com. A presentation of the Challenge will be made to the Prosper Town Council on Tuesday, Jan. 10, and a video promoting the Challenge will be debuted next week.