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Celebrating Community Champions of Health

September 25, 2012
Keene, NH

Champions

Cheshire County's Healthiest Community Initiative, launched by the Council for a Healthier Community in 2006, will hold the third annual Vision 2020 Champions Celebration event to recognize the accomplishments of individuals, schools and organizations who have pledged to live, share, model and inspire healthy behaviors. The event is free and open to the public and will be held at Keene High School on Thursday, October 11 from 5:30-7 p.m. For more information, call (603) 354-5454, ext. 3930 or visit www.healthiestcommunity.org.

The goal of Vision 2020 is to become the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020. Community response has been terrific, and the program now boasts more than 1500 individual Champions, 10 schools, and 55 organizational Champions. According to Linda Rubin, Director of the Healthy Community Initiative, the roster of Champions is the heart of Vision 2020. "Champions are the faces of the Initiative, inspiring others to join in," Rubin said. "They are taking steps, both small and large, to improve the places where we live, learn, work and play - the places where health really begins."

The Champions Celebration will include the presentation of 6 awards to individuals, schools and organizations who exemplify the mission of modeling healthy behaviors within themselves, their family, neighborhood, organization, town, school or other group. Current Champions and the general public are invited to nominate Champions for their work and successes over the past year. Awards will be shared over two categories, including the H.E.A.L (Healthy Eating Active Living) Award and Healthiest Community Champion of the Year Award, which will recognize those who inspire healthy behavior change in others and advance the action plan of the Healthiest Community Initiative.

Several businesses, including Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities, Cheshire YMCA, Franklin Pierce University, Monadnock Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coalition (MADAC) and Monadnock Rotary Club recognize the importance of supporting healthy behaviors and have re-emphasized health and safety through the organizational Champions program. "When the Monadnock Rotary Club learned about the Champions program, it was an easy decision to become a part of it. Our Club members felt it was a way to acknowledge our current community service activities focused on living a healthy lifestyle, but it also gave us a reason to do more," said Robin Eichert, Monadnock Rotary Club organizational Champion. "Having the program is a reminder that individually and collectively, we can make a difference."

The Healthiest Community Initiative is funded by community partners and donations to the Cheshire Health Foundation at Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene. It is designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the journey to become the nation's healthiest community by 2020. The Champions program's emphasis is on encouraging individuals, schools and organizations to take greater responsibility for all aspects of their own health and to think also about the health of friends, family, co-workers and neighbors. Among the many goals of the Healthiest Community Initiative is an evolution of the local healthcare system to allow an increased focus on disease prevention and maintaining good health.

For information about the Healthiest Community Initiative, to view the current list of Vision 2020 Champions, and to see how you can become a Champion, please visit www.healthiestcommunity.org or call (603) 354-5454, Ext. 3930.

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