As we continue to celebrate our 10th anniversary, this week’s THRIVING for 10 Years post was contributed by Addyston Mayor Dan Pillow.
The Addyston Village Council, the Addyston WeTHRIVE! Team and all of our citizens congratulate the Hamilton County WeTHRIVE! Team on ten years of extraordinary service to our communities.
We began our journey in November of 2011. Catherine Ramstetter contacted the mayor and told him of a program that could enhance the health of our community. She graciously guided us through the membership process with a grant of $7000 to implement a program that would identify and sustain healthy options in the community. We chose to identify and map a walking path system that went through every street in our community. We were also able to build a three-station outdoor fitness area. All of these are still used today.
In any successful organization or business, the key is sustainability. That comes from the top. Health Commissioner Tim Ingram and the Hamilton County Board of Health have given their wholehearted support to the WeTHRIVE! program. They realize, as do we here on the local level, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To be able to sustain the message for ten years of ‘Making the healthy choice the easy choice’ is incredible. There were times when we as a team wondered if we could keep going. But, with the help, encouragement and often persistence of the Hamilton County WeTHRIVE! Team we continue with the message.
Let there be no illusion, this is an uphill battle. Asking people to change is difficult at best. Asking them to change their diet is next to impossible given the onslaught of the advertising industry. We in Addyston have taken on the challenge, sometimes subtly and sometimes quite overtly.
We have adopted the many health resolutions and policies that make our community better, including a tobacco-free village property ordinance and the WeTHRIVE! Overall Resolution. We have removed vending machines from our facilities. We include a yearly flyer with health tips. We do a yearly WeTHRIVE! Day community event for the sole purpose of promoting better health in our community.
WeTHRIVE! Day is the highlight of our year. It takes of months of planning. We send letters to nearly 100 businesses in the area asking them to support our effort in any way they would like. We get an overwhelming response each year, from bicycles to sports balls to monetary gifts. We have given away grand prizes that range from Gold Passes to Kings Island to family stays at The Great Wolf Lodge.
Participants visit stations that include UC Medical health and fitness staff, a pharmacist, a dentist doing actual free checkups, Fire and EMT with a fire survival trailer, CPR and AED demonstrations. Blood pressure and diabetes information and testing are done. The Addyston Police Department gives safety tips and information. They are joined by the Ohio State Patrol and Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department. The Hamilton County, State of Ohio and UC Air Care helicopters all add an element of wonder for our kids and adults.
Then there is the real fun of the event—we teach kids how to play. We have a hula hoop contest (once won by a 70 year old lady), three-legged races, sack races, 100 and 50 yard dashes, and a crowd favorite, the balloon stomp. There is a toddler obstacle course. We have group events like kickball as time allows. Every attendee gets a gift bag with small prizes, fresh fruit and lots of flyers with health tips.
All of this is wrapped around the constant reminder of making the healthy choice the easy choice.
We say all of this to share with our peers and those we hope will join the initiative. Without WeTHRIVE! we would not have taken the initiative to bring our village together with one goal—the health of our community.
This year will be a banner year for Addyston. We expect to open a brand-new playground this summer as part of phase one of the Addyston Park Project. This will be a great place for our kids to get the much-needed exercise they deserve. Our Muddy Creek Restoration and wildlife preserve adjacent to the park will open about the same time. Our new walking path around both projects will be lined with new outdoor exercise equipment.
In the end, we thank the present WeTHRIVE! staff for their total support. We thank our fellow WeTHRIVE! communities for sharing their visions, accomplishments and inspirations. And to those thinking about joining the WeTHRIVE! movement, we hope this will inspire you to move forward expeditiously.
Finally, as we have stated before, if we had not received a dime, the knowledge we have acquired about childhood obesity and related health issues is priceless.
Congratulations, WeTHRIVE! And thank you so much for allowing us to be a small part of this 10th anniversary celebration.
The Addyston WeTHRIVE! Team
Mayor Dan Pillow, Chair
Read all our stories about WeTHRIVE! in the Village of Addyston: