2018 Community Wellness Grants Encourage More Physical Activity

More Vermonters are snowshoeing, doing yoga and participating in sports and exercise classes, thanks to $15,000 distributed by The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports.
The grants, called Exercise Is Medicine Community Wellness Grants, support local organizations in developing new initiatives for improving health and fitness. The application process is competitive: Of the 14 groups that applied, only four were selected to receive funds this year.

The grants are guided by the principles of Exercise is Medicine (EIM), a global health initiative led by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). EIM is committed to the belief that physical activity plays an integral role in the prevention, treatment and management of chronic diseases and should therefore be considered and promoted as a vital sign of health. EIM not only strives to integrate physical activity into healthcare but also seeks to link patients to community resources with the ultimate goal of implementing interventions that will slow, stop, and reverse the progression of chronic diseases.
The council raises funds through registration fees for the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge and State Agency Race, a 5-Kilometer team walking and running event in Montpelier.

The 2018 grant recipients include:

  1. Community Health Centers of Burlington, for trauma-informed yoga classes, particularly for the refugee population.
  2. Edgar May of Springfield, for “Move to Improve” program. These are free, fitness classes provided in non-intimidating environment for citizens with physical limitations. The classes will use special resistance bands that connect to chairs, that can be transported to residential sites.
  3. Essex Junction Parks and Recreation, for a snowshoe loan program to encourage citizens to be active in winter.
  4. Parks Place of Bellows Falls, for subsidizing registration fees for children in lower income homes to participate in recreation and sports.

“These organizations have potential to positively change the health of Vermonters by encouraging and supporting health through physical activity.” – Janet Franz, chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

In 2017, the council gave grants to the City of Rutland Recreation and Parks Department for a Learn-to-Bike lending program, Community Health Center of Burlington (CHCB) for an exercise and healthy lifestyle educational walking group for patients at high risk for chronic diseases, and to the Pride Center of Vermont to support trauma-informed yoga classes to LGBTQ community members.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is a physical activity promotion and advocacy group comprised of volunteers appointed by the Governor and representing a broad spectrum of Vermonters. The council’s mission, defined in the legislation passed in 1986, is to promote health and wellness through physical activity for all people living in Vermont at all fitness and ability levels.

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