As many of you know, this is my last week at Live Healthy Appalachia. Starting Monday, August 14, I will begin serving as the Executive Director of Community Health Programs and the Area Health Education Center at Ohio University's Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine. I'm thrilled for this new opportunity, and hope to continue to find ways to partner with many of you in my new role!
Hello, my name is Dylan Bean the new AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Live Healthy Appalachia. I am truly excited for the opportunity to work at LHA, an organization of the utmost importance to the region in which I am fortunate to now call home.
When things are busy, wellness often takes a backseat to other priorities. Luckily, today we thought of a couple ways to bring it back to the forefront of your life.
I visited Athens one time before I began my service. I remember walking uptown, looking down the brick streets, and seeing these brightly “Live Healthy Love Athens” flags hanging from the lampposts. I really can't describe the feeling I had when I saw them, other than sensing I made the right decision moving from Virginia to Ohio. A year later I found myself serving Live Healthy Appalachia during my second AmeriCorps term and learned those beautifully-designed flags were one of the many community health initiatives linked to LHA.
When I first started COMCorps in 2015, I had no idea that it would have such a profound impact on me. During my first year, I had the opportunity to teach the Live Healthy Kids curriculum and to meet the staff (strong, vibrant women) of Live Healthy Appalachia. Right away, I fell in love with LHK and all the second graders. The more I was involved with the program, the more I learned about LHA and their mission. When I decided to serve a second year with COMCorps, I knew it had to be at LHA.
When I arrived in Athens almost four years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. Well, I had inklings -- in the form of farmer’s markets, quilt barns and long, windy country roads. On one Saturday morning, I decided to attend a heart health event and came across a table with folks from Live Healthy Appalachia. I had no idea who they were or what they did but after speaking with the staff at that time, I soon became interested and signed up as a general volunteer. It turned out that most of the volunteer opportunities didn’t match my schedule well enough, so I kept LHA in my back pocket of interests in case something came up. Let lo and behold, something did.
Our Board of Directors provides distinct insights about the health and well being of the Athens community. One of our newest board members has a particularly deep history with Live Healthy Appalachia, one that dates back to a time when she was the only other staff member for the organization aside from our director. “I was the first AmeriCorps COMCorps member at LHA when Louise DiLullo was the executive director,” Michelle Oestrike recounted. Michelle’s service assignment was to coordinate the children’s program, which was then called Food is Elementary.
Now, as the president of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, this northeast Ohio native continues to support what LHA has done for the community. “What LHA does is encourage people to know that healthy eating is accessible and doable. They have a great way of collaborating with other organizations. Together, all of these food based organizations make these changes possible.” What at first seemed impossible has become possible.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted included our very own Live Healthy Appalachia as part of the Ohio Business Profile program that is featuring not-for-profit organizations for the month of May.
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR UPTOWN FLAG PROJECT WINNERS FOR 2017!
There will be a reception for all flag contest winners and their family on Monday May 1st at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at the Mayors Office in the Athens City Building, 8 East Washington St. We will be first on the city council agenda for a special presentation. Hope you can join us for this exciting event!