Barre Woman Nationally Recognized for First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” Initiative

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The woman known for throwing the biggest chocolate egg hunt in Barre for nearly 3 decades is getting people going.

“I will have perhaps have to think a little more about the chocolate, but I understand the First Lady says a little bit of chocolate is okay,” Stephanie Quaranta, the Assistant Director Building & Community Services Department in Barre, said.

For the past 18 months, Stephanie Quaranta has been leading the “Let’s Move” initiative in the Granite City. It’s a nationwide program, created by First Lady Michelle Obama. The point of it — getting people active.

“Keeping moving, how can I be fit, how can I be a healthier person,” Quaranta said.

Quaranta has partnered with local groups, such as the University of Vermont Extension and Hunger Free Vermont, bringing healthy summer snacks and new activities for kids. It’s all done on a shoe string budget.
 
“She runs her department, her department is her, and you know limited funds like all small towns in Vermont,” Mayor Thom Lauzon said.

Mayor Lauzon says Quaranta’s work has helped make Barre healthier, and the city is now being recognized across the nation.  

“Let’s Move” ranks Barre as one if it’s top cities, up there along with Anchorage, Alaska and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“Cities who are 10 or 15 or 25 times the size the population, who also have 25 times the budget,” Mayor Lauzon said.

Lauzon, and his wife Karen, nominated Quaranta for the Most Dedicated Staff Person Change Maker Award.

“You know, Stephanie cares so deeply about the kids – she knows them all. She knows their circumstances, and she goes out of her way to make sure she knows their circumstances,” Mayor Lauzon said.

Taking the time to help others start an active lifestyle.

“It doesn’t take a lot to get the fitness started, but if we can help instill that at a younger age, then I think down the road we will have healthier children, healthier adults and a much healthier Vermont,” Quaranta said.

Next month will be big for Quaranta. She’ll be flying down with the mayor to receive the Change Maker Award in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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