GarCo coalition boosts health from Carbondale to Parachute
RIFLE — To promote the launch of Garfield Healthy Communities Coalition, formerly known as LiveWell Garfield County, community organizations gathered at the Ute Theatre on Thursday in celebration of their efforts to make the county a healthier place to live.
The event showcased some of Garfield County’s most successful health programs, including the Sopris Elementary Wellness Team, La Liga Women’s Soccer, Water First Campaign and the Gleaning Project.
“It’s a community celebration of all of our programs,” said Dana Wood, Garfield Healthy Communities Coalition coordinator. “Community leaders from all of Garfield County’s different communities were invited, and it presented a great opportunity for bonding and connections to be made from Carbondale to Parachute.”
While the event was meant to serve as an opportunity for Carbondale community organizers to connect those out in Rifle and so on, brief presentations gave guests the chance to learn a little bit more about the programs the coalition supports.
Brandon Henriquez and Margarita Alvarez, the organizers for La Liga Women’s Soccer, discussed how they wanted to get women in their area more exercise and decided to start the La Liga league from Aspen to Rifle.
“That’s why we do this, to support women,” Henriquez said.
The league consists of women ages 15 and up composing several teams throughout Garfield County. More than 90 percent of the players are Spanish-speaking, and without the health coalition, it would never have gotten off the ground, according to Henriquez. Now he gets to see mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins playing with or against one another in a league that’s sole purpose is to get women involved and interested in the competitive sport.
Among other programs featured Thursday, Christine Dolan, nutrition program coordinator for Garfield County, said that 30 water bottle filling stations have been installed at fountains throughout Garfield County as a result of the Water First campaign.
Combine that with the 40,000 pounds of fresh produce that has been donated to the county through the Gleaning Project, a partnership with local farmers of the county to help glean produce and donate it, and it’s easy to see how influential these programs can be in eating and living healthier.
While most of the presentations discussed projects currently in Garfield County, Nathan Lindquist, Rifle planning director, had much different information to share. He gave a brief rundown of a future trail that is going to be constructed behind Rifle High School to connect the high school to the Rifle Animal Shelter and beyond. The trail, two-thirds of a mile long, is still in the design phase, but Lindquist said that the near $10,000 donated by GHCC is a great help in seeing the trail becoming a reality.
By inviting these organizations and the communities that take part in them, Wood and the rest of the GHCC committee hope to establish relationships that can be used to build the coalition and the programs it supports to new heights in 2017.
“The big thing for use is to get all the communities together and talking,” said Jody Williams, member of the coalition’s committee. “One way or another everyone in attendance is touched by what we do.”
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