Archive for the ‘Guest Authors’ Category

Chelsea and Dexter SR2S Kickoff

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Wouldn’t you agree the people who know best should be the people we ask before starting something big?  That’s what we figured & that’s our plan.

The Chelsea and Dexter Wellness Coalitions have joined forces with the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation and Michigan State University’s Small Town Design Initiative to launch the Safe Routes to School Program (SR2S) in Chelsea and Dexter. SR2S is an international movement and a federal program, designed to make it safe, convenient and fun for children to bicycle and walk to school.

One of the most important parts of this process is getting input from community stakeholders about what barriers to safe walking and biking currently exist. We invite you to give your opinion and bring attention to issues in your neighborhood at a SR2S kickoff meeting. There will be a kickoff meeting for each school district.  The Dexter kickoff meeting is Wednesday, October 10th at Creekside Intermediate School and in Chelsea on the following evening, Thursday, October 11th at South Meadows Elementary School. Both meetings will open at 6:30 pm with refreshments and socializing, with the discussion beginning at 7:00 pm. Can’t make it to the meeting? Send your thoughts to our Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Kristen Delaney at and your input will included in the planning.

For more information about SR2S please visit

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Movin’ Right Along –

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

If you ask me, every summer that doesn’t include a road trip seems a bit incomplete. However, two of our coalition members are taking the road trip concept one step further. Make that one pedal further. Tom Clark and Joe Muscato, members of the Stockbridge Coalition, are riding their bikes from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to Key West, Florida.

After one full week, they rode 712 miles to Estavan, Saskatchewan, the energy capital of the province. By day 10 they reached Aberdeen, South Dakota. Stay tuned as Tom and Joe make their way to the Sunshine State! We will post updates of their progress.

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Run or Roll

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

We all know that exercise helps control weight and prevents illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease; but did you know that study after study has shown that exercise improves mental health and increases energy? My brother Lee and I love to exercise and compete in events such as the Big House Big Heart run, the Heart and Sole run, and various other 5k and 10k events around southeast Michigan. We both have a lot of fun and get great benefits from getting out with thousands of people to participate in these events; however, we participate in different ways.

My brother Lee has crossed many finish lines in his high tech, and might I add, very fast, wheel chair, which he has been in for most of his life. Lee, now 22, started racing in middle school in annual events at Hudson Mills Metro Park and loves to take daily walks up and down his street outside of Chelsea. His first experience with Big House Big Heart was when a friend of his asked him to be a guest of honor to ride shotgun in a customized racing chair in 2009. Lee had fun, but being a pushed passenger was not his style. So the next year, he rolled through the finish line on his own.

The reason I am writing this is to stress a couple of important points. First, sign up for these events! They support your health, they are fun, and they build a sense of community that I believe is being lost in the age of Facebook and cell phones. Secondly, encourage everyone to join. Just because Lee is not physically running does not mean he is not experiencing and benefiting from the event. In fact, study after study shows that physical activity, wheelchair bound or not, improves health . Lastly, don’t be afraid to come up and talk to those who simply travel by other means. I promise you as a Doctor of Physical Therapy and as a brother of someone in a wheelchair, the worst that will happen is you will learn something new about someone in your community and, more likely with Lee, you will gain a friend.

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Dexter Community Schools Promote Good Nutrition and Exercise

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

The Dexter Community School district is committed to improving the health of it’s students by promoting healthier lifestyles. One of the recent initiatives toward this goal was the implementation of the Move Forward Program in the district’s K-6 buildings. The program was grant funded by the CWF, and oversight is provided by a committee made up of parents, staff members, a pediatrician, school nurse, and the coordinator of the program.

Under the umbrella of this program, exciting things have been happening in the K-6 buildings, such as:
~ fruit and veggie try-it’s (introducing new fruits and vegetables) to children
~ fitness stations and Fit Fridays lunch time activities
~ assemblies such as Iron Chef at the 3 – 4 building
~ farm-to-school field trips learning about where food comes from
~ chef Alex presenting at the schools about healthy foods and snacks
~ policy changes encouraging healthy snacks and treats in the schools
~ the installation of Project Fit America equipment at 2 of the buildings
~ the Healthy Me Poster / Poetry competition
~ developing ways to encourage walking and biking to school
the list goes on.

The grant is for 2 years but the sustainability of the program lives on, through overall increased awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles in disease prevention and happier healthier lives, and through changes in the school’s policies and environment.

Aileen Kernohan is the district school nurse for DCS. She has a strong interest in health promotion / illness prevention activities and behavior.

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Free With Facebook

Monday, July 11th, 2011

One of the most effective ways to change behavior is to reward positive actions.   So we are going to reward our fans for their positive behavior of liking us (and connecting with others in a healthy way)! 

The CWF is going to raffle off prizes as we reach certain fan number milestones on Facebook.  Each milestone means a grander prize.  Our first milestone is 675 fans.  Once we reach that goal, the CWF is going to have a random drawing.  The lucky fan will receive:

  • Four tickets to the Manchester Chicken Broil on Thursday, July 21st.
  • Two tickets to see the Twistin’ Tarantulas and The SunMessengers on Friday, July 29th at the Sights and Sounds Festival in Chelsea.

Encourage your family and friends who live in Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Grass Lake and Stockbridge to become our fans on Facebook and you could be a big winner!

*Winning fan must be from one of our five service communities.

Get ‘Em While You Can!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

As warm weather approaches, so will an abundance of produce! The freshest, prettiest and tastiest fruits and vegetables available during the year will come from the many farm markets we are fortunate to have available to us.

Some of the luscious fruits offered are antioxidant rich, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, low in fat, carbs and calories but high in fiber, vitamins, minerals. Tart rhubarb, rich in calcium and vitamins C and K (there is debate as to whether it is a fruit or a vegetable – feel free to weigh in!). Plump juicy peaches packed with vitamin C, potassium and fiber and tomatoes containing lycopene, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants!

Tasty vegetables include sweet corn, rich in folate, iron as well as vitamins B and C. A variety of colorful peppers loaded with antioxidant vitamins A, C & K and hot peppers with capsaicin which has been shown to boost immunity and reduce the risk of stomach ulcers by killing bacteria. You will also find plenty of fresh leafy green vegetables that have a host of powerful antioxidants, calcium, iron, beta carotene and much more! You can even buy the plants so you can grow your own powerfully healthy food.

Many of these farm markets also offer a variety of honey, jams, jellies, fresh baked goods and herbs. So what are you waiting for? Lets’ get out there and support not only our health but our wonderful local farmers!

Chelsea Farm Market – Downtown –Park Street
Saturday – 8:00 am – Noon

Chelsea Bushel Basket Market – Chelsea Fairgrounds
Wednesday – 2:20 – 6:30 pm

Dexter Farm Market – Downtown Dexter – Alpine Street
Tuesday – 3:00 – 7:00 pm
Saturday – 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

Manchester Farm Market – Adrian Street in front of the Red Mill
Thursday – 4:00 – 7:00 pm

Stockbridge Open Air Market – Corner of Wood and Elizabeth Streets (across from Stockbridge Middle School)
Friday – 4:00 – 7:00 pm

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North & South Schools Compete

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Guest Column by Lisa Nickel and Carly Groves

 To start the New Year and January off with a fresh, healthy living start, our Elementary Schools are promoting more fruit and vegetable eating.  In January children from North & South Schools are competing against each other to see which school can eat the most servings of fruits and vegetables in the Fruit & Veggie Challenge. 

Only servings eaten at school for snacks and lunches count, but students are of course encouraged to still eat them at home.  The goal is for both schools to make it to 7,500 servings for a total of 15,000 servings for Chelsea Elementary Schools.  As an end celebration, and to tie in with promoting exercise and movement along with healthier eating, the staff of both North and South Schools will compete against one another in the “Wacky Winter Olympics Challenge”.  On Friday, January 28th, North students and staff will ride buses to South for the challenge in our new gym.  We have funny relay races and games incorporating fruits and vegetables for competing teachers and support staff.  Points will be awarded to the school with the highest serving total from this past month and the winners of each of the relays.  Our principals will be going against one another in the final event of the day dressed as fruit in a face off battle!  The school that wins will receive a fruit and veggie trophy, fruit and veggie medals made by the students, and bragging rights for this year until we meet again the following year. 

Students and staff from both schools have had a fun time joking with one another about who will be crowned champion this year!  We see a huge increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables being eaten at both schools and the kids are doing an excellent job.  We also had a lot of wonderful feedback from parents.  They’re stocking up on more choices in their homes and their children are really enjoying eating more healthy foods.  We hope our efforts with this challenge will ensure that these types of snacks and lunches will continue after this month to become part of student’s everyday eating habits.

Go South!

Village of Dexter Community Garden

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Things are growing in the Village of Dexter!  Tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis and melons are thriving in the Village of Dexter community garden.

With the generous support of the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation, the new community garden in the Village of Dexter opened this season on Dan Hoey road on property owned by the village.  The location was once a farm, lending a perfect atmosphere to the gardening experience.    Further making the gardening experience a pleasant one is perfect loamy soil in what was once a sheep pasture, easy parking, access to plenty of fresh water and close proximity of the garden to the  village’s downtown.

Village of Dexter community garden gardeners will be tracking their harvest this season, but the garden is flourishing with corn, tomatoes, and cabbages to name just a few of the crops growing in abundance.

Many individuals and families are working the soil in the 10 plots, but a few groups are growing for donation as well.  The Dexter Rotary club and Kiwanis have plots chock full of produce for donation. 

Like gardens everywhere the Village of Dexter community garden greatly improves access to fresh produce for everyone who gardens in it. Community is created by simply gardening alongside your neighbors, leaning over the  fence, chatting from one plot to the other, sharing successes and discussing concerns. 

People from many different walks of life garden in the  Village of Dexter Community Garden and while gardening is the common denominator that brings everyone together ,it is also the reason for the garden’s success this first season and in the “growing” the community garden is  sure  to experience in years to come!

Melissa Kesterson is the Garden Coordinator at the Dexter Community Garden.

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Chelsea Community Garden

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The mission of Chelsea Community Garden is to create an opportunity for Chelsea area residents to have garden plots within the city where they can grow fresh, organic produce.  The gardens also provide produce for the Faith in Action food pantry, which benefits low-income families and senior citizens.

The Chelsea Community Garden was initiated by a small group of people who came together in the winter of 2009. Now in its second season, the garden includes over 20 plots filled with vegetables and flowers. The Community Garden has prospered thanks to volunteer efforts of many area residents and the support of Faith in Action, which acts as a fiduciary, the City of Chelsea, and the Chelsea Community Foundation, ACO Hardware,and the Chelsea Garden Club.

Susan Morrel-Samuels is the Managing Director, Prevention Research Center of Michigan and is a member of the Community Garden steering committee.

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Vitality is Alive at the Senior Center

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

The Chelsea Senior Center is a place of vitality. Did you know that we have a Laughter Club? This club is a group of seniors who meet weekly just to laugh. Laughter is a social interaction, a positive reinforcement, and clearly a healthy dose of medicine. Laughing exercises your lungs, heart, and diaphragm. It also helps in reducing stress which can lead to lower blood pressure.

Vitality comes in all forms and laughter is just one more way for our seniors to improve their wellness. The next time you have a chance to listen to a joke, or to tell a joke, jump in and give it a chance. You too will reap the benefits of laughter. 

Caroline Arbour is a student at Eastern Michigan Univertsity in the Graduate Certificate Program in Gerontology.  She is currently an intern with the Chelsea Senior Center where she oversees the program planning committee and works with senior volunteers.