In November the greater La Crosse community nominated youth, individuals and organizations to be recognized as Healthy Living Heroes. The review committee selected the following recipients:
Youth Award Winner: Alethia Knutson.
Alethia’s dedication and involvement to FACT and tobacco education with her peers is a model for all youth. Whether she is advocating and talking with local politicians, educating others, leading cigarette clean-up days in local parks, or assisting with the Great American Smokeout on UWL’s campus, Alethia shows that everyone can do their part no matter their age.
Individual Award Winner: Morgan Drexler.
Morgan is this year’s SPARK intern with the Wellness Resource Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Morgan has done tremendous work with tobacco education, prevention, and tobacco-free efforts on the UWL campus. This fall, Morgan planned and implemented an event on campus called “Quit Cold Turkey – Frozen Turkey Bowling” to support awareness of the Great American Smokeout.
Individual Honorable Mention: Safe Routes to School Liaisons.
Safe Routes to School is a community program designed to increase childhood physical activity by helping children walk or bike to school. Liaisons coordinate Walking School Bus activities in specific neighborhoods to support kids and safe pedestrian travel to school. The Safe Routes to School efforts are successful in the La Crosse area because of the effort of 19 adult individual volunteers who support safe Walking School Bus routes.
Organization Award Winner: Washburn Neighborhood Association.
Over the past 6 years, the Washburn Neighborhood Association has managed 54 garden plots in their neighborhood. Ten-percent of the produce is donated to local charities and food banks, this added up to over 1,000 pounds in 2013 and even more in more recent years. The Washburn Neighborhood Association is also passionate about community outreach and volunteering – educational booths at community events, community rain barrel contest, and promoting gardening and fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
Organizational Honorable Mention: Grand Bluff Running.
Grand Bluff Running opened its doors in the spring of 2014 and is the first specialty running store in Western Wisconsin. Grand Bluff Running hosts Good Form Running Clinics for beginner and seasoned runners and walkers. They also host two weekly group runs, as well as a Trail Run series to promote physical activity not only outdoors, but in the trail systems in the bluffs. During Grand Bluff Running’s first year of business, they promoted over 250 community events for all community members to enjoy, which encourage physical activity and an active lifestyle, all at no charge.
Healthy Living Heroes were awarded at the annual January meeting with a hot healthy breakfast and plaque on January 8 at the Myrick Park Center. Formed in 2009, the Healthy Living Collaboration has taken the charge to bring together groups working to promote nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco-free living, three behaviors that are major contributors to chronic disease and premature deaths among La Crosse County residents.