RIVER FALLS, Wis.
Representatives of the eight successful grant applicants in western Wisconsin attended a small reception at River Falls Area Hospital on July 20 to receive their checks. Pictured are: (Seated on yoga balls) CJ Young (Hillcrest Elementary School and Ellsworth Senior Center) and Kelly Fox, Hudson YMCA; (standing, left to right) Bobbi Kuhn (Have a Heart), Margaret Levenhagen (Ellsworth Senior Center), Monique Squire (River Falls Community Education), Carol Peterson (Ellsworth Senior Center), Heather Logelin (Allina Health), Teri Kulow (Hillcrest Elementary School), Rita Humbert (Westside Elementary School), Terri Rinke (Journey House Campus Ministries), Brandi Poellinger (Allina Health).
Eight groups and organizations in western Wisconsin are aiming to improve community health thanks to $19,170 in Healthy Activity Grants from Allina Health.
A total of 58 Healthy Activity Grants were awarded this year through a competitive application process across Allina Health’s service area in western Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The eight western Wisconsin recipients were invited to a reception at River Falls Area Hospital on July 20. The successful programs, together with the amount they were awarded, are:
- Greater Twin Cities YMCA: Senior fitness programming in River Falls ($8,000)
- Hillcrest Elementary, Ellsworth: Walking/running/strength training program for school employees ($3,000)
- Journey House Campus Ministry, River Falls: Bowling, walking and nutrition program for students ($2,500)
- Westside Elementary, River Falls: Freezer meal program for Westside parents ($2,000)
- River Falls Community Education: Early morning walking program ($1,800)
- Ellsworth Senior Center: Senior fitness programs ($890)
- River Falls Community Education: Preschool gym program ($580)
- Have-a-Heart, River Falls: Raised garden bed program ($400)
"Research shows that we are more likely to stick with healthy activities if we do them with other people," said Heather Logelin, director of foundation and community engagement at River Falls Area Hospital, part of Allina Health. "We also know that people with positive social connections are healthier and live longer, are less likely to be depressed, get better faster after an illness and help make our community stronger. We saw some strong applications from groups in western Wisconsin last year and we were delighted to receive further strong, creative grant proposals in 2015."
The local grants, ranging from $400 to $8,000, are part of Neighborhood Health Connection™, a community program developed by Allina Health that gives people the tools they need to create stronger connections with their neighbors, and offers fun, creative ways to make their communities healthier.
"There is a lot of interest in making communities healthier," says Ruth Olkon, manager of Community Health Improvement for Allina Health. "We received over 100 applications from throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin and we were impressed with the caliber and creativity of the ideas presented."
Free resources are also available at neighborhoodhealthconnection.org, including a Toolkit that provides information about forming a neighborhood group as well as sample flyers, group activity ideas and more.