Hello all, and happy Thursday! I know, it feels like it should be Friday, doesn’t it? But there’s still one more day to go in the week, and that’s a good thing, because Thanksgiving is one short week away.
I don’t know how that happened – it just kind of snuck up on me. Thanksgiving’s early this year, which means more time to eat holiday food, which of course means more time to think about how NOT to eat all the goodies that will parade before you. Sigh. It’s so hard to be healthy.
Which brings me to Jill Block and the initiative she’s currently running on keeping Concord healthy. I had heard whispers of this here and there, so I tracked her down to get the dirt, so to speak. I’m a strong supporter of regular exercise and healthy eating, but I found out that a healthy town encompasses so much more.
First, a little background: This program comes from a state initiative to create healthy communities, defined by a collaboration between social services and health and wellness. To that end, the state was divided into 27 “health” areas, and grant money was awarded from the Office of Healthy Communities to the different town health departments to fund the first phase.
The project has input from a steering committee of representatives from all areas: Emerson Hospital, the Council on Aging, our schools and the Recreation Department, among others.
Their first survey, intended to give a broad overview on the health of our town, was mostly good news, in that overall we’re a pretty healthy community with no big chronic disease issues, like obesity or diabetes. But drilling down deeper, some areas of concern did emerge, most notably transportation – how to keep people from driving individual cars to school instead of taking busses, how to get elders to doctor appointments, etc. And mental health – the pressure of living in a town where so much is expected of people, the stress that comes from having a different economic background than other residents, for example.
As Block explained to me, the question they are trying to answer is, “What would make Concord a healthier place to live and work?” It’s more than just going to the local gym or planting a community garden. The answer should encompass everything from affordable housing to welcoming newcomers; from offering diverse activities for all ages to providing community meeting places, where neighbors can run into each other and people can naturally share information.
According to Block, the next survey is due to come out in a week or so; it will be both paper and electronic, and the idea is to get as many people here in town to fill one out as possible. You should be able to find them at most of the public buildings in town, or through local newsletters. The committee is looking for specific recommendations to answer the question posed above.
For a full description of the program, go here. It sounds like a huge undertaking, but in the end, don’t we all want to live in a community where we feel safe and welcomed and cared for?
Speaking of Community
Last month during the Discover West Concord Village day, local ice cream shop Reasons to be Cheerful hosted a Cocoa House, designed to give kids from elementary to high school a place to showcase their musical talents. Well, it was so successful, RTBC is hosting another one this Sunday, Nov. 18, from 4 to 6 p.m. What a great way to support your community!
There will be keyboards, mics, and a PA system onsite; you bring your voice, guitar, oboe, or whatever else you may play, and you’ll have five minutes all to yourself. And to sweeten the pot, all performers will get either free ice cream or hot cocoa. Interested parties should head over to RTBC to sign up; everyone else is invited to drop by and listen.
Lastly, if you’re hanging around with NOTHING to do this weekend, I’m here to remind you of two fabulous performances here in town: Mister Roberts at the Concord Players, and Next to Normal at Emerson Umbrella. The first is a light-hearted comedy, the second a more serious musical. Either one is totally worth your time and money.
Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to help you spread the news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.