A Healthy Community is a Happy Community

The Healthy Concord initiative plans its next survey, RTBC hosts another Cocoa House, and two plays grace town stages.


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.

Weekend stages

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 stefanieac@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.

Stefanie Cloutier November 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Just to clarify my own point about the funding - the money comes from local hospitals via a state requirement, and is issued from a grant from the Community Health Network Area (CHNA).
Bill Montague November 15, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Hi It's Bill Montague, Addressing Health in Concord, I have organized a Discussions Groupe the I hold in my Gallery here on Walden Street. We meet every 2nd Friday. I have invited around 12 people. I have hand picked them from folks who come into my Gallery. We meet about 7:00 - to 9:00 p.m. The health part of this is to get people talking. I find now days people do not get together to talk like we all did many years ago. So I set about doing something about it. This Discussion Group is about 2 1/2 years old now and going strong. I would suggest that you start a Discussions group and get folks talking. We talk about anything any one wants to talk about . We avoid Religion & Politics. But other than that anything goes. We all look forward to it every two weeks. This is not an open meeting - I have picked the folks I though would be compatable. I would suggest you do the same. Some times one person needs to unload somthing or other - here they have a group of friends who care about them and listen. Some times you just need some one to listen! Other time you have something to say that you feel the group would be intersted in. Give it a try. What do you have to loose execpt perhaps your mind! Cheers! Bill Montabue
Bill Montague November 15, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Geeeee I even mispelled my own Name - Must be my age! Any way it's Bill Montague - I think? Cheers!


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