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LiveWell Douglas County will mark its 10th anniversary with a community breakfast celebration from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at the Lied Center of Kansas Pavilion, 1600 Stewart Drive. The event is free and open to the public.
LiveWell’s mission is to build communities that support the health and well-being of all Douglas County residents. The coalition continues to focus its work on strategies outlined in the Douglas County Community Health Plan and is leading efforts in the areas of food security and healthy built environment.
LiveWell was established in 2008 when the Douglas County Community Foundation received a Kansas Health Foundation grant to launch an initiative aimed at reducing chronic disease by promoting healthy eating and active living. The Douglas County Community Foundation convened a LiveWell steering committee to coordinate community-based efforts. In 2009, LiveWell organized the first “World’s Largest Community Workout” in Lawrence to raise awareness about the coalition and its efforts.
“LiveWell shifted our mindset from viewing community health primarily as sick care to viewing community health as supporting wellness in everyday places such as schools, workplaces and neighborhoods,” said Marilyn Hull, a founding member of LiveWell.
Since its inception, the coalition has received more than $2 million in grant funding to support the work of the coalition and its partner agencies. The funding has been instrumental in implementing numerous projects including: Safe Routes to Schools, trail development, a Double Up Food Bucks program at farmers’ markets for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients, healthier vending options in public places, and tobacco-free parks policies in Lawrence, Eudora and Lecompton.
“The hard work and collaboration of many volunteers, partner agencies and organizations, school districts and local governments has created new opportunities for communities to support healthy, active lifestyles for residents,” LiveWell Douglas County Chair Jeff Severin said. “As we look forward to the next 10 years, we hope to build on our successes while addressing gaps and inequities in health through the type of strong, community-based support that LiveWell was founded on.”
The celebration’s program begins at 7:45 a.m. and will include honoring the 2018 Culture of Health Action Award recipients:
• Reenie Stogsdill. Stogsdill, a physical education teacher at Langston Hughes Elementary School in Lawrence, is passionate about fitness and helps her students set high expectations. She is a leader in the bike fitness and safety programming and the Safe Routes to School initiatives.
• Food for Jayhawks, KU Center for Community Outreach and KU Student Senate. These organizations were instrumental in setting up the Campus Cupboard food pantry that is now housed in the Kansas Union. Their goal is to reduce food insecurity among KU students and staff.
• Kelly Smith. Smith, an employee at SACK (Self-Advocate Coalition of Kansas), has been a dedicated participant in the LiveWell Sexual Violence Prevention Work Group. She has provided valuable guidance to help make the work group’s community assessment and survey more accessible to Lawrence’s disability community.
• Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence. Agency leaders have worked with youth to build capacity for participating in the policy development process for tobacco prevention efforts, including raising the age limit to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21.
• Janelle Martin. Martin, chair-elect of WorkWell Douglas County, has been active in workplace wellness programs at the local and state level for more than 10 years. She launched a wellness program at Communities in Schools of Mid-America where she began working two years ago. Janelle is a founding member of LiveWell and has been active in the coalition since its inception.
• Friends of Lawrence Area Trails (FLAT). The nonprofit group is devoted to developing, promoting and maintaining a robust and vibrant trails system in Douglas County and northeast Kansas. FLAT has successfully raised funds for trail construction, advocated for city investment in trails and cosponsored community activities.
The Douglas County Community Foundation will recognize the recipients of its LiveWell Community Wellness grants:
• The Children’s Shelter, Inc. — raised garden beds, $1,000.
• Eudora Schools Foundation — Cardinal Cardio, $11,000.
• Just Food of Douglas County — Just Cook: Linking Lecompton, an intergenerational cooking program, $9,254.
• Lawrence Arts Center — Inclusive movement and wellness classes for all ages, $10,000.
• Baldwin Education Foundation — Rethink your drink, $575.
• City Play Corps — Playworker training, $3,400.
• Lawrence Meals on Wheels — provide meals to residents, $5,000.