Community Champions of Health Celebrated

October 16, 2013
Keene, NH

Champions Celebration

Caption: Jen Risley accepts Healthiest Community Champion of the Year award with last year’s winners, Elm City Rotary Club.

The Monadnock Region’s Healthiest Community Initiative, Healthy Monadnock 2020, launched by the Council for a Healthier Community in 2006, held its fourth annual Champions Celebration event on October 10th at Keene High School with over 150 community members in attendance.

The agenda featured an update of the Champions program, including involvement of Individual Champions (2,100); School Champions (11 and growing); and Organizational Champions (84 local businesses and groups) – all who have pledged to live, share, model and inspire the goals and values of Healthy Monadnock 2020.

Six H.E.A.L (Healthy Eating Active Living) Awards and the Healthiest Community Champion of the Year Award were given out to individuals and groups who model healthy behaviors in themselves, their family, neighborhood, organization, town, school or other group. In addition, the Heart Safe/Heart Strong Coalition honored an Individual, Lauren Platt, and Organizational Champion, Walpole Fire, who both have made an extraordinary effort to improve cardiovascular health in the region.

Individual Champions awarded were: Angella Joslyn, who after battling a health scare, continues to live her life sharing her knowledge of healthy eating habits and love of running with her students at Winchester School; and Jen Ireland, an “uber” Champion, for efforts in sharing healthy eating and active living strategies with her staff at Monadnock Family Services in Keene, including implementing physical activity breaks into the day, starting a wellness committee, and mentoring MFS Inshape clients on the benefits of healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Organizational Champions awarded were: Hamshaw Lumber for implementing a campus wide tobacco free policy, the institution of ‘instant recess’ breaks during the day, and participation in a companywide 5K walk; and Elm City Bagels & Deli for truly ‘championing’ healthier eating in the Keene community by adopting Turn a New Leaf healthy menu options for patrons.

School Champions recognized were: Marlborough School in Marlborough for implementing school wide physical activity breaks into their classrooms, creating a task force to start implementation of a Safe Routes to School  program to encourage active commuting to and from school, and 80% staff participation in the Champions program; and Fuller School in Keene, for encouraging walking and biking to school day, starting an active 5-2-1-0 after school club, and supporting their students to participate in the recent Kid’s DeMar marathon sponsored by last year’s Champion of the Year, the Elm City Rotary Club.

The Healthiest Community Champion of the Year was awarded to the Jen Risley, who has advanced the action plan of Healthy Monadnock 2020 by being an active member on advisory boards and committees for the Healthiest Community Initiative, plays a key role at the new Monadnock Food Co-op and Monadnock Buy Local, encouraging the community to keep their purchases local, works to keep young professionals in Keene as a member of the Keene Young Professionals Network, helped to pass the complete streets resolution in Keene, and is an advocate of local food and the farming community. Most recently, Jen is helping to create an opportunity for a Monadnock Region public showing of the film “A Place at the Table,” showcasing the issue of hunger and food disparity throughout our country on Sunday November 17th at 1:00 pm at the Colonial Theatre in Keene.

According to Linda Rubin, Director of the Healthy Community Initiative, the Champions are the heart of Healthy Monadnock 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.”

About Healthy Monadnock 2020
Healthy Monadnock 2020, formerly named Vision 2020, is a community engagement initiative designed to foster and sustain a positive culture of health throughout Cheshire County and the Monadnock region. Founded and developed by the Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene in 2007, Healthy Monadnock 2020’s action plans are being guided in the community by the Healthiest Community Advisory Board, a group of 30 individuals representing schools, organizations, coalitions and businesses. Currently the City of Keene, the Keene School District and five area coalitions are implementing action strategies designed to improve quality of life and prevent the leading causes of death for everyone. Learn more at:

For information about Healthy Monadnock 2020, to view the current list of Healthy Monadnock 2020 Champions, and to see how you can become a Champion, please visit or call (603) 354-5454, Ext. 3930.

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