To appreciate all that the volunteers have done to positively impact well-being in the community, Blue Zones Project hosted an employee appreciation event recently at the Shawnee Family YMCA.

Appreciation event celebrates volunteers

Since the launch of the Blue Zones Project Pottawatomie County in January 2019, local stakeholders and well-being enthusiasts have volunteered their time and energy to provide guidance in how best practices are best implemented in Shawnee. This has led to more than 200 volunteers spending nearly 2,000 hours supporting well-being work through sitting on advisory committees, deploying educational programming, and/or serving as policy advocates.

To appreciate all that the volunteers have done to positively impact well-being in the community, Blue Zones Project hosted an employee appreciation event recently at the Shawnee Family YMCA.

“This event emphasized social and family connectedness by offering a variety of activities families and friends could enjoy together in a low-key environment including swimming, puzzles, crafts, games, photos with Santa Claus and The Grinch, and healthy snacks,” Organization Lead Miriam Bell said.

Blue Zones Project Pottawatomie County is always appreciative of volunteers as the work of making the healthy choice the easy choice would be impossible without their support, she said.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project, call (405) 765-8052 or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

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Find-A-Friend event set in January

Blue Zones Project Pottawatomie County just announced Shawnee Mall will be hosting a Find-A-Friend event to encourage social connectedness.

At 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at Dunham’s Court in Shawnee Mall, the event will help attendees connect with others by helping them identify common interests and assist in small groups building deeper friendships by meeting one time per week for 10 weeks.

The event is free and open to everyone in the community.

Snacks, activities and swag will be provided.

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Horace Mann celebrates approval

Horace Mann Elementary is being welcomed as the newest Blue Zones Project-Approved school and celebrated the designation recently with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event was attended by students, staff, Avedis Foundation President Dr. Kathy Laster, and Avedis Board President Mark Finley.

Some items implemented to help make the healthy choice the easy choice for students were:

• Teachers incorporating physical activity into the school day to help keep students focused and energized. One of the many ways they take these micro-breaks are by planning educational dance videos.

• Running the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), a federally-assisted program providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to children at eligible elementary schools. Many Shawnee schools participate in this program. The USDA notes that this is an important tool in efforts to combat childhood obesity. The program has been successful in introducing elementary school children to a variety of produce that they otherwise might not have the opportunity to sample.