At the annual WeTHRIVE! Recognition Event in December, we celebrated more than 50 communities, schools, child care providers, and champions for their commitment to improving health, safety, and vitality across Hamilton County in 2018. In preparation for this event, I took a trip down memory lane to think about how we’ve THRIVED over the past year. While many examples came to mind, the following are some that stood out.
The story of Miss Mary’s Community Garden is one of collaboration and community spirit, but also of tenacity. Mary Wagner wanted a community garden in Woodlawn and despite facing obstacles over the years, she did not give up. Her tenacity will certainly endure, as she and the Woodlawn WeTHRIVE! team are already planning for the spring. Read the whole story here.
Hope and Healing
Tikkun Farm in Mt. Healthy is a place of hope and healing for children who have suffered Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). ACEs make people more likely to turn to tobacco, alcohol and other drugs to numb their pain. Through Farm Camp and other programs, Tikkun Farm offers kids different ways to manage the hard emotions associated with ACEs, such as grief, neglect, and fear. Click here to see what summer on the Farm was like.
An African Proverb reads, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” There’s no truer statement that comes to mind than when I reflect on the power of relationships fostered over the past year, as we welcomed six new WeTHRIVE! partners in 2018. Perhaps most rewarding is that these organizations built relationships with our WeTHRIVE! communities and schools. Just a few examples:
- OSU Extension offered free nutrition education and cooking classes in the WeTHRIVE! communities of Whitewater Township and Forest Park (get the full story here).
- Habitat for Humanity organized “Rock the Block” in Lockland (we told the story of one grateful resident here). Habitat will begin building houses again in Lincoln Heights in 2019.
- American Lung Association offered free smoking cessation classes in the new WeTHRIVE! community of St. Bernard.
Taylor High School students showed us that their voices can be influential when advocating for change. Seniors from Nancy Flickinger’s Teaching Professions Academy partnered with Hamilton County Public Health and PreventionFIRST! to learn about youth tobacco use. They presented at Addyston and North Bend village council meetings, where they shared what they learned and advocated for comprehensive tobacco-free policies, which both village councils adopted in March. Read how it all happened here.
Strength is in the ability to be versatile. Forest Park continued to jump right in on any project presented to them. The community took on infant mortality, tobacco use prevention and cessation, tobacco-free school policies, healthy cooking classes, fitness classes and more.
Encouragement acts as a source of positive energy and has the ability to shape the minds of our youth. WeTHRIVE! child care providers exemplify every day the importance of encouraging children to make good choices. Providing “family style” meals is one way they set young children up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits (find out how here).
Hope and Healing
These are just some of the many positive attributes that sum up how we THRIVED in 2018. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings!
Becca Stowe, MEd, MCHES
Director, Health Promotion and Education
Hamilton County Public Health