|Blue Zone Comes to Oskaloosa|
|Friday, 02 November 2012 12:43|
Oskaloosa got a chance to showcase its strengths this week. Representatives from the Blue Zone Project visited Tuesday to take a peek at the community's enthusiasm for the effort.
If selected, Oskaloosa will be one of 10 Iowa cities to receive grant funding and program support as it strives to make its citizens healthier and happier.
The Mahaska Wellness Coalition has been preparing for this day.
"We are organizing a site visit and rallying the troops," says Dawn Collins of the Mahaska Wellness Coalition.
And the troops showed up. About 60 city, school, business and community leaders came to William Penn's Musco Technology Center to discuss why Oskaloosa would make a good Blue Zone demonstration site.
"We showed them the great things that Oskaloosa has to offer - the teamwork and the ability for our community to work together for a better cause," says Sharon Ferguson of the Mahaska Wellness Coalition.
The demonstration sites chosen will undergo a healthy-living transformation over 18 to 24 months. The Blue Zone Project, sponsored by Healthways, will provide 3 full-time staff members who will work with community leaders to make positive changes - anything from talking to restaurants about putting more healthy options on menus to organizing activities to get people moving.
"It means working with your schools, your restaurants, your grocery stores, your work sites, working on community policy, engaging citizens to help make the healthy choice the easy choice. Making environmental choices that help make our well-being top of mind for people," says Iowa's Blue Zone Director Mary Lawyer.
Lawyer says she was happy with what she saw already in Oskaloosa.
"I'm seeing a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of community connectivity, a lot of enthusiasm. Folks that want better well-being for the community, people that are working together toward that end. It's very exciting to see the enthusiasm we've seen in Oskaloosa and the commitment to well-being," says Lawyer.
Four communities have been chosen already as Blue Zone sites. 12 finalists are now vying for the six remaining spots. The decision will be made in January.
And the Mahaska Wellness Coalition says the more people pledge their support to the project, the greater chance Oskaloosa has of being selected. Click HERE to show your support for Oskaloosa.