By: Janelle Wiebelhaus-Finger
Blue Zones Project(r) Dodge County held a ribbon cutting celebration today for Sacred Heart Parish, the first faith-based community to become Blue Zones Project Approved(tm) in Dodge County. Blue Zones Project Dodge County is a community-wide well-being improvement initiative-designed to make healthy choices easier through sustainable changes to environment, policy, and social networks.
“Blue Zones Project helps us build community,” said Father Mike Petrie at the ribbon cutting ceremony. “The more we live together in relationship, the more our physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual health improves. These are all things that help to build us up as the Body of Christ so that we are living out the Eucharist during the week and not only on Sundays.”
To earn this designation, Sacred Heart parishioners formed a wellness committee who sought out ways to bring greater well-being to the congregation and the community they serve. Sacred Heart hosted a Purpose Workshop for parishioners last fall allowing the opportunity for individuals to reconnect with their personal purpose and consider what drives them each day.
An emphasis on bringing families together and fostering more social connections was important to the wellness committee. The group organized parish family games nights and plant slant potluck events. Several parish members have also joined Potluck and Walking Moais.
“Being around like-minded people who want to incorporate more plant based food into their diets and make healthy eating choices helps to keep me on track,” said Deb Wiebelhaus, Sacred Heart wellness committee member. “Meanwhile, being a part of a Walking Moai encourages me to walk more. It is easier to make the choice to walk when I have a set day, time, and place I am going to walk. There is something special about walking with others who have the same purpose.”
Healthier choices are easier now at Sacred Heart Parish. A bike rack was donated to the parish. Blue Zones Project parking spots were painted to encourage members to add more natural movement to their day. The hospitality snacks following Sunday Mass service now regularly includes fruit, vegetables, and infused water, in addition to the traditional sweet treats. During the growing season, parishioners donated excess produce from their gardens to the Sacred Heart Food Pantry. Members also set up a free produce exchange table. Parishioners brought in excess produce and anyone was welcomed and encouraged that excess produce home to use.
“Sacred Heart Parish prioritizes the people it serves,” said Janelle Wiebelhaus-Finger, Blue Zones Project Engagement Lead. “They understand that spiritual well-being and physical well-being go hand in hand and they support their parishioners and their community in optimizing both.”
Brought to Dodge County by Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative-designed to make healthy choices easier through sustainable changes to environment, policy, and social networks.
For details about becoming a Blue Zones Project Approved organization or general information about Blue Zones Project, Dodge County, call 920-212-8511, or visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com
About Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc.
Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. is an independent, non-profit healthcare organization whose mission is to deliver excellence across a continuum of services to patients in the region of Dodge, Columbia and Fond du Lac counties, Wisconsin. BDCH offers a comprehensive continuum of services to people of all ages, including primary and specialty care, obstetric and inpatient acute care, outpatient surgery and oncology services, emergency services, rehabilitation, independent and assisted living, home care, hospice, long-term care, wound care, urology, orthopedics and sports medicine, interventional radiology, occupational health, pain management, breast health services and women’s health, community education, sleep medicine, and day care for children. For more information, visit www.bdch.com<http://www.bdch.com>.
About Blue Zones Project
Blue Zones Project(r) is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world-or Blue Zones(r)-with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner’s findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being. Currently, 42 communities in nine states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. The movement includes three beach cities in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth; and communities in Southwest Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is an exclusive partnership between Blue Zones and Sharecare. For more information, visit bluezonesproject.com.
Sharecare is the digital health company that helps people manage all their health in one place. The Sharecare platform provides each person – no matter where they are in their health journey – with a comprehensive and personalized health profile, where they can dynamically and easily connect to the information, evidence-based programs, and health professionals they need to live their healthiest, happiest, and most productive life. With award-winning and innovative frictionless technologies, scientifically validated clinical protocols, and best-in-class coaching tools, Sharecare helps providers, employers, and health plans effectively scale outcomes-based health and wellness solutions across their entire populations. To learn more, visit www.sharecare.com<http://www.sharecare.com>.