With a tagline of, “Building a Resilient Community with Healthy Spaces” on the cover of their brochure, I immediately wanted to learn more about the RiseVT program in Chittenden County. RiseVT has a mission of embracing healthy lifestyles, and they bring in support to facilitate connection, health, and emotional strength through accessible events, campaigns and programming for peoples of all ages, income, and ability. A RiseVT community motivates and inspires individuals, families, businesses, and schools to make small changes in their lives that will have a big impact on their health. Working together, community members and RiseVT staff amplify the energy around chosen health and well-being ideas in ways that work best for each community.

The Building Bright Futures Chittenden County Regional Council was excited to support RiseVT in their outreach efforts this summer and fall. We issued a small grant to RiseVT to help bring scavenger hunts to youth and families at the Richmond Farmers Market. Each week, RiseVT sets up a table at the Richmond Farmers Market and provides free arts and crafts for youth at their table, as well as an invitation to participate in the weekly scavenger hunt. Each individual is given a card, which includes a recipe that uses the produce pictured, and participants must find ingredients that go along with that recipe at the different vendors located at the market. When they return the completed card they get a $5 token to the market! In most cases, the token was used to purchase produce from the recipe on the card- a real win-win for all!

We recently had the privilege of sitting down with Robin Katrick, Program Manager from RiseVT in Chittenden County to discuss how these outreach efforts were going and where she sees RiseVT in the context of serving children and families in our region. We discussed how her RiseVT community came to be, and how she helped steer the conversation, and how they worked together with community members and stakeholders to develop community priorities and embark on some really valuable outreach efforts.

Can you share a little of the history of RiseVT?

RiseVT started in Franklin & Grand Isle Counties as a healthy community coalition. After reviewing data, conducting an inventory, and assessing community readiness, they decided to focus their efforts on childhood obesity in their county.

It’s important to note that RiseVT is a community driven movement to improve population health. RiseVT works collaboratively with communities, organizations, and initiates to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Where can we find RiseVT programming in Vermont?

RiseVT is currently in the process of expanding, and have reached new communities this past year through our partnerships. The plan is to reach every county in Vermont by the end of 2019.

The following counties offer RiseVT programing in Vermont:

  • Addison
  • Bennington
  • Chittenden
  • Franklin/Grand Isle
  • Lamoille
  • Windsor

How long have you been in Chittenden County?

In Chittenden County, we got started in January 2018.  Before beginning work in communities, we needed to build a framework, steering committee, and collect data about what the needs are in our county’s towns. Once we had this in place, we were able to take this information to our steering committee to help us choose our initial RiseVT Chittenden communities.

What can the community gain from RiseVT?

You can expect enthusiasm, energy, and support from the RiseVT staff as we work together to:

  1. Create healthy spaces and support making the healthy choice the easy choice.
  2. Strengthen and build a sense of community pride now and into the future.
  3. Support community champions and their efforts to build a healthier community.
  4. Offer opportunities within your community, worksite, and schools to embrace a healthy. lifestyle. This could be through highly visible community-wide health and wellness campaigns, and show up events that are open to the public.
  5. School and worksite initiatives to encourage healthy lifestyles.
  6. Provide a support system that helps with amplifying, connecting, and refocusing the great programming happening in the community.
  7. We will assist in identifying gaps and barriers to success of that programming and help implement solutions.
  8. Build health and well-being into community policy and mindset for generations to come.

How were the communities chosen?

Richmond, Bolton, and Huntington were selected as our first three towns in Chittenden based off of data from the census and department of health, community readiness, and discussions at our steering committee meetings. Once these communities were selected, I began connecting with community members to form a local action team. Currently our local action team has 90+ members and continues to grow. The action team and community feedback helps guide RiseVT Chittenden’s work in these communities.

We will be expanding to more Chittenden County towns when we have the capacity to do so. When we are ready to expand, we will go through the same process again using data, community readiness, and our steering committee meetings as a guide to select our next towns.

How did the Richmond, Bolton, and Huntington community determine their priorities?

It was a process! We held focused discussions and developed many action items. Our action team helped narrow down our priorities to a more manageable number! We then sent out a community survey to garner community engagement. We really wanted mobilize our communities to help guide RiseVT efforts and over the last several months Richmond, Bolton, and Huntington helped us get to our top three priorities.

If you’re interested in joining the Richmond/Bolton/Huntington Action team, you can email me at robin.katrick@uvmhealth.org.

Can you speak a bit about your partnership with BBF?

BBF has been a great support to RiseVT Chittenden. Many of the goals of our organizations overlap and from the start, BBF helped connect RiseVT to other community partners, offered informative trainings, and also provided a grant to kick start a project addressing nutrition education in our initial three communities.

What were there big takeaways from the scavenger hunts at the market?

Our goal was to provide a fun and engaging activity that draws children and families in, while teaching them about healthy food choices at the same time. We also wanted to provide equitable access to these activities and healthy food choices, which is where the $5 token incentive really helps. A bonus is that everyone who participated in the scavenger hunt learned about what veggies are in season and gave them to opportunity to talk the farmers and understand where and how foods are grown in their community. A real sense of community was found through these events and there were so many great conversations and learning opportunities that occurred, all while discovering and trying out new foods.

Below is a sample of the Scavenger Hunt Cards that were used at the events:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on the horizon for RiseVT in Chittenden County?

We just launched the Come Alive Outside 2018 Fall Passport in the Richmond, Bolton, Huntington community. Every time folks go places like the park, hiking trails, farmers markets, participating businesses, libraries, etc…they can earn points by finding the secret codes that we’ve hung up all around the community. The codes change weekly, so they can hit the same places each week and/or design their own new adventures around the community. Folks can turn in their completed passports to local schools, libraries, and town offices to enter a raffle to earn some really great prizes!

We also are in collaboration with Camel’s Hump Middle School to bring UVM Nursing students in to assist in health education as well as provide additional after school programming. This is something we hope to grow and expand in the next year.

The final Richmond farmers market was on October 12th from 3-7pm. However, our scavenger hunts have been so well received that we are already in talks with the Richmond farmers market manager about continuing these types of activities next year.

There’s always something fun going on with Rise, so stay tuned!

To learn more, visit: https://chittenden.risevt.org/

 

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