Wellness in Tough Times

Part Four: Community Projects

Community- led Projects Supported by Wel lness in Tough Times By Julien Hoffman The WTT project was designed to allow for unique programming and projects in communities to bring people together around the topic of mental well-being. The community advocates in each sponsored location facilitated discussions among locals at town hall meetings and other community gatherings to select specific projects that fit their population’s interests best. This led to the WTT team working on a variety of project types like community gardens, where produce is made available to limited-income seniors, “conversation benches,” and gathering shelters, to motivational speakers sharing messages of resiliency during tough times in communities and high schools. The only parameters for the WTT community projects were that the projects stayed within budget and that they inspire human connection and allow for conversations about mental well-being.

Featured Community Project Stories Gordon, Hay Springs, and Rushville, Nebraska

Located in the northwest panhandle, each of these rural communities has a community garden supported by local volunteers. Community gardens are opportunities for volunteers and the community to come together with a shared purpose of providing fresh produce for families. Community gardens can improve well-being through the benefits of being in nature and promote healthy habits like exercise. The community gardens are also places where people of all ages can work cooperatively and make social connections. The gardens in Gordon, Hay Springs, and Rushville are recent recipients of a SNAP-Ed funded project called “Growing Together Nebraska.” This program is designed to increase food security and promote healthy food access for families and individuals who are food insecure. WTT supported the community gardens with funds to purchase a wheelchair-accessible picnic table for the Hay Springs and Rushville gardens. The community garden in Gordon requested a shade sail that will be used to provide a comfortable location for people to gather.

Hay Springs Community Garden; photo Credit: Julien Hoffman

Gordon Community Garden; photo Credit: Julien Hoffman

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