We are happy to bring you a series of guest blog posts that will highlight some of the completed projects from Year 4 subawardees. We hope you enjoy this little peek into what network libraries are doing with their funding; perhaps you will even get some inspiration for your own future projects!
This week’s post comes from Decatur Public Library in Decatur, Texas.
In the late winter of 2018, Wise Health Systems began bringing the community together through their Healthy Wise County initiative. This initiative sought to reduce the top three health related issues in the county: heart disease, obesity, and mental health. At the end of summer reading that year, it was time to plan for 2019 programming. We chose to support the county initiative and combine a health challenge (physical health) into our reading challenge (brain health). The results of this program incorporated several community organizations and increased our participation over 400%.
One challenge in adding the health portion to our challenge was that of funding. We went directly to National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) after learning of their “Consumer Health Outreach Award”. Our proposal included health related books for the library, health programs including yoga and Zumba classes as well as creating posters for several winners to have their picture on a poster for their school and for the library showing them as healthy heroes.
Our community partners included Fit-N-Wise, the hospital supported rehabilitation and fitness center, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office, STAR Council on Substance Abuse, and Decatur Independent School District’s (DISD) Nutrition Department. A challenge for our community and other Texas communities is how to exercise during the hot summer months. Fit-N-Wise helped solve this issue by allowing those participating in our summer reading program to gain access to their health facility at no charge for the duration of the program which included the months of June and July. They also provided instructors for the yoga and Zumba classes held at the library. These instructors were paid through the NNLM award. AgriLife assisted with supporting family health also through their Walk N Talk Program that was held at the library. DISD provided free meals once a week to children in our community. Each week, food would be delivered to our library to be served after the week’s live entertainment.
In the fall of 2019, posters were presented to the winners of the program. Winners were chosen by drawing from those who had completed both the reading and health challenges, including one student from each elementary, intermediate, and middle school in the local district. Winners were also selected from two of the surrounding school districts. The hope is to garner interest for next year’s challenge as the kids will be given the opportunity to do both challenges again and to receive their picture on the poster that is distributed to their school.
We are grateful to NNLM for their support in this process and for our program. Everyone we worked with at the South Central Region’s office was very helpful and supportive through the entire process. If you are looking for funding for your health programs, look into the grants and awards offered by NNLM.
Thank you, DPL team!