#LOVE Lansing Celebration Opening remarks

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Thank you to everyone (nearly 400 of you!) neighbors who attended the LOVE Lansing Celebration last night.  Congratulations to all of the honorees and thank you for your work to build strong neighborhoods in Lansing.  By request, below are my opening remarks from the event:

In Lansing, we believe that “neighbor” is a verb.  To neighbor is to build the social infrastructure of our community.  It is to do what needs doing.  While it may be to have the meetings and hash out the bylaws and organizational policies of your neighborhood group.  It is most importantly cleaning the park, organizing the potluck, arranging the garage sale, cleaning up the litter, planting the flowers in the snow like we did last weekend, mowing or shoveling for those who cannot, and keeping a watchful eye out for each other’s safety.  It is taking the extra moment in the driveway to talk with one another before heading inside, it is the cup of coffee at each other’s kitchen table.  When we move the lawn chairs from the back deck to the front porch and talk with those around us, we are neighboring and are building our critical social and civic infrastructure. 

 

And moving from the block level to the city level, we are citizens, another great verb.  Residents simply live in a place.  To Citizen is to take responsibility for and ownership of a place.  Citizens see something needing done and don’t think “who can I call to complain about this?”  They think, “how can I get some neighbors together to change and improve this”?  To Citizen is to commit, to engage, and to be responsible for the well-being of a place.  In this work it is not the old adage “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, rather, it is the “organized and collaborative find the resources to get things done.”

 

When we connect with each other, when we neighbor, when we citizen, we are engaging in public health, crime prevention, and economic development.  When we start with building a social infrastructure, we can then build everything else. 

 

Tonight we recognize and thank those of you who embody these principles and take action to neighbor and to citizen in Lansing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Cool tools for citizen centered health promotion & health in all policies

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My work building Healthy Community Zones with Urban Health Partnerships and the TOUCH initiative in Broward County is in full swing.  Working with transportation engineers, city and county leadership, health care professionals, education leaders, law enforcement, and most importantly, residents, we’ve been busy conducting Walking Audits and extensive data gathering to connect and build upon existing plans.

A huge thank you to the host organizations for your time and effort to coordinate these events in a very short time L A Lee YMCA (Ft. Lauderdale), Austin Hepburn Center (Hallandale Beach), C W Thomas Park (Dania Beach), and Delevoe Park (Broward County Municipal Services District).

Up next the building of Community Action Plans that will guide work for the next two years and beyond.  Follow TOUCH Broward on Facebook  and on Twitter @TOUCHBroward for lots of photos. Here’s what it looks like in action:

 

Citizen centered health promotion policy development in action. Photo credits to Beny Schonfeld.

Citizen centered health promotion policy development in action. Photo credits to Beny Schonfeld.

Hallandale_WA.groupPreWalk Sistrun_WA.lunch Sistrunk_WA.discussion

You know people are committed when they show up for Walking Audits in the mid-afternoon South Florida August heat!!

As we begin tackling the Community Action Plan building phase, a great resource is the leader in Health In All policies work, Change Lab Solutions.

ChangeLab Solutions provides community-based solutions for America’s most common and preventable diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Our solutions promote the common good by making healthier choices easier for everyone.

Their graphic rich, brilliantly simple tools translate the complicated process of policy, system, and environmental change into tools for community action.  These are customizable and beautifully tie in the health in all policies framework into economic development and sustainability.  All tools are available at Change Lab Solutions with direct links below:

Presentation Make the case

Health In All Policies Guide Understand Health In All Policies implementation

Model Policies Tools for plan development

Our method for building Community Action Plans is based on tools from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and built with the necessary rigor to potentially secure implementation funding.  This is what we love, translating community goals into formalized plans that match the right funder to that effort.  The TOUCH Healthy Community Zones are on their way!

#Walking Wednesday Greater Lansing Food Bank Resource Center

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This week’s Walking Wednesday took us to the Garden Resource Center with Julie Lehman, Garden Program Coordinator of the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

The Garden Project is one of its programs and the Resource Center is its hub.  When we visited on Wednesday it was full of neighbors picking up seeds, gardening information, starter plants, and food.  There were volunteers everywhere running the operation and working in the gardens.

 

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2401 Marcus St. Lansing, MI 48912

2401 Marcus St. Lansing, MI 48912

The facility is tucked into the south end of Foster Park Foster Park map(C on the map below–A is the Foster Community Center).

 

 

 

From the Resource Center you can see the traffic on both 127 to the East and 496 to the South, yet you are surrounded by green space and large community garden/urban farm projects.

Community gardens and home gardeners can register with the garden program and find a community of growers and support for their efforts.

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Just southwest of the Resource Center is the UrbandaleFarm.    Urbandale

Amazing the difference a sign makes!

Amazing the difference a sign makes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in home gardening, urban gardening, food access, healthy living/eating, or just meeting people who are thinking about these things are creating them in your community, stop in at the Resource Center and learn more.  Of course, donate to the Greater Lansing Food Bank to continue their support of these programs and services as we work together to eliminate hunger in our community.  Thank you Julie for your hospitality and we look forward to seeing the bounty of these gardens all summer long!

 

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DanceLansing: A Community Dance Project

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I’m excited to support DanceLansing: A Community Dance Project led by Happendance, Inc in partnership with Lansing Community College.  This project brings together amatuer and professional dancers of all ages to produce public art happenings throughout August around downtown Lansing.  http://www.happendance.org/

A thriving community needs great art!  Support this project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/171010198/dance-lansing-a-community-dance-project (give $50 and get a shirt!).  Be sure to catch a performance and celebrate art, joy, movement, and economic development–my favorite combination of things!!!!

Malcolm Gladwell at YMCA General Assembly

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I had the awesome opportunity to attend the YMCA General Assembly in Philadelphia, PA last week.  This gathering happens every 3 years and was attended by over 4,000 indivduals, of which, 1,000 were Y volunteers.  In addition to a wealth of professional development opportunities, the event laid out the forthcoming nationwide Y campaign and development of the national strategic plan for Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility.

I was especially struck by author and social scientist Malcolm Gladwell’s comments which said that the Y is the most important vehicle for “human capitalization” in the nation, meaning the Y has the ability to help individuals reach their full potential.  When we don’t educate children well, fail to keep our population healthy, and don’t engage communities in meaningful service, we leave talent, potential, and opportunity  on the table.  The crtical social issues of our time require us to maximize this potential.

Malcolm Gladwell addresses the YMCA General Assembly

Malcolm Gladwell addresses the YMCA General Assembly

Catching up with Lansing Leaders

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Always love catching up with District 10 County Commissioner Brian McGrain http://bc.ingham.org/MeetYourCountyCommissioner/District10.aspx a great leader for Lansing’s Eastside.  Also, looking forward to coffee today at a Mid-Michigan institution http://www.biggby.com/  with colleague Shannon Lounsberry, Business Development Manager for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce http://lansingchamber.org/.

Love catching up with friends and hearing about great things happening for the Lansing economy!