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Over the past four years, Mayo Clinic Health System has awarded $788,000 in grant money to nonprofits in northwest Wisconsin to help improve the health of communities in the region.

“Core to our mission as a nonprofit health care provider is reinvesting into the health of our communities,” says Richard Helmers, M.D., regional vice president, Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin. “While improving the health of the populations we serve is core to our work at Mayo Clinic Health System, we also are keenly aware we cannot do it alone, which is why supporting other community organizations is crucial.”

“The Hometown Health Grant Program represents Mayo Clinic Health System’s continued commitment to investing in our communities as we work together to enrich the well-being of all who live in northwest Wisconsin,” says Sara Carstens, director of Community Engagement & Wellness. “These grants champion innovation in overall community health, and the goals of selected grant recipients closely align with Mayo Clinic Health System’s commitment to addressing community health assessment priorities in the areas of mental health, obesity, and chronic disease prevention and management.”

New or existing programs in Barron, Buffalo, Dunn, Chippewa, Eau Claire, Pierce, St. Croix and Trempealeau counties were invited to apply. Recipients recently named to receive a total of $205,000 in grant money are:

Beaver Creek Reserve:

  • Living Healthy and Staying Active in Nature, $25,000 — Connecting people with nature and increasing physical activity is the focus for this program. Visitors to Beaver Creek Reserve will have the opportunity to engage in more than nine miles of trails, enjoy outdoor play and exploration, visit the indoor discovery center and more.

Big Brothers Big Sisters:

  • Mentors in Motion, $15,000 — Strong mentoring relationships between caring adults and children can significantly increase positive development in youth. Project plan will work to educate parents, staff and volunteers about mental health in youth and how to incorporate play into the lives of children facing adversity.

Boyceville School District:

  • Heart Mind Well-being, $20,000 — Introduce the Resilience/Health Realization model to students in grades six through 12. Training focuses on resilience, youth development, mental health, brain development, stress reduction and social and emotional learning.

Boys & Girls Club of the Greater Chippewa Valley:

  • Mental Health & Stability Programs, $5,000 — Members of the Boys & Girls Club will receive programming focused on preventive measures in mental health, positive youth decision-making and avoiding risky behavior.

Children’s Museum of Eau Claire:

  • Eat! Move! Live!, $19,000 — Brings an interactive exhibit and program experience to children and their grown-ups promoting nutrition, fitness and confidence. A food pantry also will be developed to support cooking healthy meals at home.

Chippewa Valley Free Clinic:

  • Healthier You, $14,500 — Work to reduce the incidence of obesity-related diseases using interventions that champion and sustain healthy lifestyle behaviors.

City of Eau Claire Parks and Recreation:

  • Active Aging Fitness Park, $20,000 — Provide an outdoor space for affordable, accessible and fun low-impact exercise options encouraging older adults to live healthier, more active lives.

Dunn County Health Department:

  • Nurse Family Partnership Program, $1,000 — Specially trained nurses regularly visit young, first-time moms empowering them to transform their lives and create better futures for themselves and their babies.

Eau Claire YMCA:

  • Concepts of Healthy Living, $2,000— New, eight-week classroom-based program for children in grades 2 through 7 will teach the importance of an active lifestyle focusing on healthy eating, physical activity and mindfulness.

Family Promise:

  • Homeless Families Pathway, $25,000 — The link between family homelessness and poor health has been well documented. Program offers homeless residents in Eau Claire case management and rental subsidies with the expected end result of permanent housing and self-sufficiency.

Feed My People:

  • Weekend Kids’ Meals, $5,000 — The Weekend Kids’ Meal program addresses child hunger and local food insecurity by sending meals home from school on Fridays. The meals offer a variety of fruit, vegetable and protein items.

Legacy Community Center:

  • Agnes Table, $25,000 — New project expands on the existing Agnes Table program by adding additional meals throughout the week. Offering healthy meals provides a cost-effective way for families and individuals to meet basic needs and build supportive connections in the community.

NAMI Barron County:

  • Hope & Recovery Project, $23,500 — Expands local support and education to people living with a mental illness, their family members and friends and to area providers.

Stepping Stones of Dunn County:

  • Shelter Program Support, $5,000 — Provides emergency shelter, housing assistance and referral services to prevent homelessness and facilitates long-term self-sufficiency.

The 2019 grant application process will open in January.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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