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Owatonna Hospital

Investing in community health

Northfield High School Girls’ Soccer team

The Northfield High School girls’ soccer team raised funds for breast cancer research with their Lace for a Cure project, funded by a mini-grant from the Healthy Community Initiative. Support from Allina Health allowed the Healthy Community Initiative to give 67 grants for projects last year.

Health care doesn’t just happen behind the doors of clinics and hospitals. Allina Health Faribault Clinic and Northfield, part of Allina Health, makes contributions to organizations that help promote good health in the Northfield and Faribault communities.

Programs supported by Allina Health contributions may be related to safety, nutrition, education, exercise and more. “Collaboration with community organizations has resulted in creative and effective programs that enhance community health,” said Barb Barlau, clinic manager, Allina Health Northfield Clinic.

Grants for youth

For example, the contribution of Allina Health to the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative enabled it to offer 67 Investing in Youth mini-grants for projects last year. More than half of the projects were initiated by area youth, who wrote proposals for grants and followed through to make the project happen. About 6,600 youth participants were involved.

Evaluations showed that 84 percent of those young people felt more connected to their community or had developed a relationship with a caring adult. Both of those are key factors to developing healthy, caring, responsible youth, according to the Search Institute.

The Investing in Youth mini-grants covered a broad range of topics. A cyber-bullying presentation at Northfield Middle School made students aware of online bullying and its consequences. A pen pal project brought together senior citizen volunteers and students at Sibley Elementary School. Area college students created a community bike tour of several area farms. Lace for a Cure, a fundraiser for breast cancer research, was planned by the Northfield High School Girls’ Soccer team. The Northfield Public Library started a Lego Club and an Origami Club to provide creative and challenging activities after school.

In Faribault, Allina Health supported Faribault Area Hospice, the South Central College Faribault Campus Foundation (scholarships for nursing students), Tommy Allen Youth Scholarship, City of Faribault Safety Camp, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the HealthFinders Collaborative, the Faribault Booster Club, Ruth’s House of Hope, the March of Dimes, the Down Syndrome Association of MN, and the Food Shelf.

Apply for a grant

Zach Pruitt, director of the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative, encourages people of all ages to apply for a mini-grant.