by Eric Hagen
Whether it was learning about nutrition in the schools, how to perform CPR or finding out about the Anoka County Library’s eBooks program, hundreds of people were able to learn about healthy living at the fourth annual Community Wellness Day.
Anoka-Hennepin School District Community Education organizes this event with the help of a committee of about a dozen people who come up with programming ideas and seek sponsors, according to Karen George, communications coordinator for the community education department.
“It’s a great event for communities to come out on a cold winter day and learn about health and wellness and things they can do to improve their life everyday,” said George, who noted the Jan. 21 event drew more than 300 people to Oak View Middle School.
This year’s sponsors were Essentials of Life Chiropractic in Andover and Park Dental of Blaine and Coon Rapids. A total of 32 vendors were on-hand to share information about their services while some held educational sessions.
Approximately one year ago, the Anoka County Library began offering eBooks so citizens could download electronic books. Jill Smith, the branch manager for the Johnsville Library in Blaine, informed interested readers how they could download the books.
Chuck Levine, a garden design consultant from Roseville, showed people how a “container gardening” hobby could pass the time in the winter by using regular household items.
Diana Menster-Sullivan, a manager in the school district’s community education department, said human obesity and sedentary children are huge issues, so these community wellness days are meant to encourage people to be active. There are large community wellness events in Minneapolis and St. Paul, but they wanted to offer a local option.
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Menster-Sullivan said the committee, which she is the chairperson for, began meeting in the early spring to discuss possible sessions and vendors. Feedback they receive at the community education department is valuable in developing the list. For example, many citizens were interested in learning about the Anoka County Library’s eBooks program that kicked off in late January 2011. The committee wanted more people to learn how to do CPR without having to take the usual six-hour course. The school district’s Adventures Plus coordinators were able to teach basic lessons in half-an-hour.
Guests were able to find out about local gymnastics or Taekwondo studios or the Andover YMCA, for example. An instructor from the World Taekwondo Academy in Coon Rapids provided a demonstration on different stretches and movements that can help the body.
Parents could also bring their preschooler’s gently used books, CDs, DVDs and VHS tapes to Oak View Middle School during the event and purchase new items. A book swap for adults was also held. High school students volunteered to help with these book swaps, Menster-Sullivan said.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org