LiveWell Lawrence will have two informational meetings about $200,000 in grant money that is available for its community health initiative.
The meetings will be at 4 p.m. Jan. 28 and noon Jan. 29. Both will be in the Lawrence Public Library auditorium, 707 Vt.
The meetings are mandatory for anyone who wants to apply for a grant.
For more information, contact Marilyn Hull, LiveWell Lawrence facilitator, at 843-8727.
The LiveWell Lawrence Coalition has released its plan to make it easier for residents to eat better and move more.
The coalition has $200,000 in Kansas Health Foundation funding and plans to award it to a group or groups who will help it achieve its goals.
• Making healthy foods more available and unhealthy foods less available in public venues such as schools, child care centers and city and county buildings.
• Encouraging county residents to produce and consume more local foods, and expand the number of places where local foods are available.
• Offering all children 30 minutes of quality physical activity during school hours, and 30 additional minutes outside of school hours.
• Designing all streets with safe access for all users: walkers, bicyclists, wheeled-device users, transit riders and drivers.
“We are looking for the community’s ingenuity and creativity on how to implement some of these goals,” said Marilyn Hull, facilitator for LiveWell Lawrence. “These are not things that are going to happen easily or quickly. These are big changes that have to occur.”
Hull said LiveWell Lawrence isn’t looking to provide funding for an exercise program that’s going to benefit 20 people. They are looking at rewarding changes in policy and systems that will affect thousands of people.
For example, she said, the city of Lawrence could adopt new nutrition guidelines for day care centers.
Another example would be to have an after-school fitness program offered at every public school.
And yet another example would be expanding the farmers’ market to other areas of town.
“We focused on four areas where we thought the community work would make the most difference in the lives of people,” Hull said.
LiveWell Lawrence’s ultimate goal is to reduce chronic diseases linked to poor eating and sedentary lifestyles.
According to research, about 50 percent of Lawrence’s adult population is overweight or obese.
“Good health is not achieved in clinical settings,” Hull said. “Instead, it happens in the places we live, work, learn and play — our everyday environments.”
LiveWell Lawrence began in 2008 when the Douglas County Community Foundation received a $300,000 grant from the Kansas Health Foundation. A steering committee of about a dozen people have been meeting since then.
Its first community event was the “world’s largest community workout” on July 8 when about 2,800 people turned out to do sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks and a half-mile run at Kansas University’s Shenk Recreational Sports Complex.
It also has held several public forums to seek the community’s input.
LiveWell Lawrence has made a list of 300 residents who are ready to help make a difference.
“We have a lot of everyday citizens who are just interested in health and wellness or have particular interests like bicycling or walking paths or local foods,” Hull said. “We are interested in getting them involved because a lot of times they have the energy and compassion to really drive community change in ways that are helpful to the professionals that do this for a living.”