NEW LONDON, NH – The Wellness Connection: For a Healthy Lake Sunapee Region is pleased to announce the recipients of grants from its first round of giving through its new Community Wellness Mini-Grant program. Launched in early 2015, the program invites area nonprofit organizations and municipal/school groups to apply for grant funding to advance healthy eating or active living.

PHOTO: Jim Demers, Executive Director of Newport Food Pantry displays contents of Weekend School Backpack

“We want to give directly back to the community a portion of the generous donation that funds our work,” says Lauren Conkey, Program Director of The Wellness Connection. “We are excited to take this next step in partnerships to create a healthy Lake Sunapee Region.”

Three community organizations were selected from a competitive pool of applicants for funding of these programs: Kearsarge Regional High School’s (KRHS) Take the Extra Step, New London Outing Club’s Upgraded Yoga and the Newport Food Pantry’s Expanded Weekend School Backpacks.

At KRHS, Media Specialist Janet Mancuso-Rucker proposed the mapping of walking routes, both inside the building and on the school property outside. Mathematics teacher Dr. Randy Wormald is working with his Algebra I students to implement this vision. Their grant is funding the purchase of trundle wheels to measure distances and pedometers to calculate steps. From this data, color-coded maps that include distance and approximate travel time for a variety of routes will be developed to encourage more walking by students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

The New London Outing Club is upgrading their classroom space to attract additional yoga instructors and students, with the intention of expanding their current program to offer a wider variety of classes that will attract people of all fitness levels. Once basic improvements are made with grant funds, they will offer classes at least three days during the week and also on the weekends. Program and Special Events Director Carter Bascom says that new classes could include sports-specific yoga, a class for children and one matching the schedule of parents who drop children off for activities at the Outing Club.

The Food Pantry in Newport, NH provides 62 backpacks for at-risk children each Friday during the school year, filled with child-friendly, nonperishable, nutritious foods. Thanks to its Wellness Connection grant, this three-year old program is now able to include organic milk, 100% juice and at least one fresh fruit in each backpack.  Executive Director Jim Demers says, “Of all the programs we do here, I think this is the most important because it impacts children immediately.”

The next Community Wellness Mini-Grant deadline is June 30, 2015. Guidelines and application are available at http://newlondonhospital.org/wellnessconnection/grants .

 

The Wellness Connection is a community health initiative founded in 2013 by New London Hospital that aims to create a culture of wellness in the Lake Sunapee Region.

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