Farewell but not Goodbye: LiveWell Longmont is YOU!

To Our Dear Longmont Community,

Ten years ago this past December a group of concerned and engaged community leaders from Longmont convened in Washington, DC, to learn about how they could address the rising costs of healthcare. What would unfold, including the establishment of LiveWell Longmont, is much to celebrate! However, celebrations are bittersweet: this summer marks our final season operating as LiveWell Longmont. As we reflect back on this past decade of work dedicated to healthy community momentum, there is an enormous amount be proud of, and also to look forward to with regard to our community’s future.

Since our inception in 2008, LiveWell Longmont has worked to ensure, promote, and develop the accessibility of healthy eating and active living opportunities for all who live, work, learn and play in Longmont. Through extensive collaborative efforts, we have developed healthy eating and active living accessibility through development of our built environment; through educational opportunities; through leveraging of funds and resources; and by addressing specific health barriers.

It would take more time than we have to whittle down to a top ten, but before we close our doors we’d like to highlight a few of our favorite examples of the positive momentum that has been building in our community:

  • Leveraging over $1.2 million in grant funding for the St. Vrain Valley School District, LiveWell Longmont supported student health in numerous capacities, including provision of district-wide movement trainings; salad bar offerings; bike rack installations; free culinary trainings for employees, and more.
  • Our dedicated efforts helped to shape healthy policy and vision, resulting in changes to the Longmont Area Comprehensive Plan for multimodal transportation and active living environments.
  • We helped organizations build sustainable wellness efforts through various initiatives, including creation and distribution of free seasonal wellness packages; facilitating of employee wellness challenges; wellness-centered educational and networking opportunities; and everything in our power to help make the healthy choice the easy choice in the workplace and without.
  • In 2016, LiveWell Longmont embarked on an exciting new, strategic approach for strengthening the health of our community made possible thanks to generous funding awarded from revenue allocated for competitive grants through The Cancer Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Disease (CCPD) Grants Program. Working Together for One Healthy Longmont (One Healthy Longmont) collaboratively brought together resources and opportunities to increase community health by supporting those living in Longmont most impacted by health disparities and chronic disease. Collective resources continue to be applied to create new avenues for established and emerging local leaders to effectively identify and address environmental barriers to health and wellness within their neighborhood communities, while also improving retail access to healthy food options.
  • Since 2008, LiveWell Longmont has leveraged funding from LiveWell Colorado, various grants, in-kind support, and match dollars totaling over $6 million. These funds, alongside in-kind time and donated resources, have been carefully allocated to support healthy eating and active living for all in our community.

We could continue, but more importantly, our LiveWell Longmont Team would like to thank our LiveWell Longmont Coalition for all the devoted time, energy, resources, and services. Each of our valued partners has committed to working together to effect positive healthy change.

Over these past ten years, we have made impressive strides—but as is always the case with progress, there is still much work to do. We feel confident, however, that the healthy momentum will continue to flourish. Through the years, we have consistently focused our work with conscious intention to create sustainability while defining what would be most meaningful and impactful to our community. For example, LiveWell Longmont provided four years of funding to support a School Wellness Coordinator at  St. Vrain Valley School District. Following that period, financial responsibility for this position was assumed by the district, and the good work continues. Even as we wind down our own operations, we continue to work to integrate our work with community partners. What’s more, there is enthusiasm, passion, and talent that drives healthy movement in Longmont and fills us with hope and awe…and it starts with you.

There is always work to do in removing health barriers. Even in healthy Boulder County, nearly one in four children between the ages of two and fourteen are overweight or obese. At the same time, nearly one in ten Coloradans struggles with food insecurity. We have food deserts existing right outside our very doorsteps. Healthcare today is fraught with debate, contentiousness, and inequity. Seventy percent of health outcomes stem from the social, political, and economic environments that shape our choices. Our social systems determine where business owners can open, types of retail, which parks are maintained, levels of air and water pollution, who receives accessible care, and what options are available. We have the power to change this. You have the power.

Collectively, we can work to eliminate health disparities, and to increase healthy options everyone can access. There is staggering power, and empowerment, in informed, dedicated community organizing. There are big things and little things. Small steps with great gains. Through grassroots efforts, each of us can work to cultivate a sustainable healthy future. Please connect with any of the organizations represented on our Steering Committee for ways to get involved. Keep the momentum going, Longmont! Health happens with you.

Sincerely,

Melissa Trecoske Houghton
LiveWell Longmont Manager

Our heartfelt thanks to our current Steering Committee Partners:

John Ahrens :: St. Vrain Valley School District
Eric Bergeson :: Chairperson :: Chair, At Large
Rob Berry :: St. Vrain Valley School District
Jessica Erickson :: Longmont Economic Development Partnership
Erin Fosdick :: City of Longmont
Susan Heikkinen RD :: Kaiser Permanente
Sarah Levison :: Former City Council Member/Member At Large
Susan Motika :: Boulder County Public Health
Michelle Orge :: Community Food Share *Special thanks to Community Food Share for serving as our current fiscal agent!
Karen Roney :: City of Longmont
Edwina Salazar :: The OUR Center

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