RIVER FALLS, Wis.
Six organizations in western Wisconsin are aiming to improve community health with the support of $22,010 in Neighborhood Health Connection grants from Allina Health.
A total of 58 grants were awarded this year through a competitive application process across Allina Health’s service area in western Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The six western Wisconsin recipients were invited to a reception at River Falls Area Hospital on February 23. The successful programs, together with the amount they were awarded, are:
• River Falls Community Arts Base: Hike and Seek – Making Art from Found Objects ($2,995)
• Ellsworth Public Library: From Apron to Pavement – A Cooking and Walking Program ($1,730)
• St. Croix Valley NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): Strike Out Stigma social bowling ($4,000)
• Turningpoint for Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence: Health, Wellness and Empowerment Series ($7,040)
• River Falls School District: We Can! Energize Our Community ($3,745)
• St. Croix Valley Habitat for Humanity: Eco Village Community Gardens Education ($2,500)
“We 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,” said Heather Logelin, director of foundation and community engagement at River Falls Area Hospital, part of Allina Health. “We are excited to support the funded activities, which will strengthen social connections while also helping the participants to develop healthy habits.”
The local grants, ranging from $1,730 to $7,040, 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.
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.
Data collected from previous years’ Neighborhood Health Connection grants indicates that positive changes experienced as a result of taking part in a grant-funded program continues, even after the grant ends. For example, after the 2014 grant period:
• 81% of participants who met someone new through their NHC activity reported they still talk to or meet with at least one of the new people they met.
• 64% of participants reported eating healthy meals and snacks more often at the end of the grant and maintaining or continuing to increase their healthy eating behavior six months after the end of the grant.
• More than half of participants reported increasing their physical activity at the end of the grant and maintaining or continuing to increase this activity six months after the end of the grant.