The key to achieving healthy communities is creating partnerships. We envision MetroWest Moves as a movement to create sustainable partnerships that will allow our communities to garner the support needed to make Framingham, Hudson, Marlborough, and Northborough places where everybody can eat healthy and be active.
Whether you’re already involved in making your community a healthier place or if you’d just like to stay up to date with the MetroWest Moves activities, please contact us if you would like to partner with us in this effort. Below are some of MetroWest Moves’ Community Partners:
Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest
Description: The Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest provides social, educational, physical and cultural programming for over 750 boys & girls each day in in their preschool and after-school programs. The intent of these programs is to enhance the development of children and to prepare young adults to be responsible and productive members of the community. The Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest has locations in Framingham, Hudson, and Marlborough.
As an organization, the Boys & Girls Club emphasizes incorporating physical activity into every child’s day. All clubhouses have open gym time, filled with various recreational activities. In addition, a number of the Boys & Girls Club programs aim to increase physical activity among their youth members, including their Triple Play and city-wide youth basketball programs. The Triple Play program is a new program promoting fitness, nutrition, healthy living, and positive relationships in all youth. The curriculum is age specific and sessions include sports culture and history, nutrition, physical fitness, and healthy relationships. The youth basketball program connects over 700 players and parents with 80 volunteer coaches. The program focuses on increasing physical activity, good sportsmanship, healthy competition, and skills development.
Encouraging healthy eating is also a priority for the Boys & Girls Club. Currently, the Framingham, Hudson and Marlborough Boys & Girls Clubs have increased the number of healthy food and beverage options in their club vending machines. The Clubs are also involving youth in making healthier snacking decisions by holding taste tests to identify appealing vending options.
Building a Healthy Northborough
Description: Building a Healthy Northborough (BHN) is a community initiative to create healthy eating and physical activity opportunities for children and their families through programs, policies, systems, and environmental changes in the town of Northborough, Massachusetts.
BHN began in 2008 thanks to a planning grant from the MetroWest Health Foundation. The purpose of initial funding was to conduct an assessment of assets and barriers to implementing environmental policy and system changes to promote healthy eating and active living in Northborough. The MetroWest Health Foundation awarded BHN a second grant in 2009, this time to implement environmental policy and system strategies throughout the community. The town of Northborough became one of the first communities to participate in Mass in Motion (MiM), a statewide effort led by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
In 2012, with support from the MetroWest Health Foundation and MiM, BHN has greatly expanded their work efforts to include:
- Healthy Northborough Food Establishment Initiative to increase healthy options for individuals eating outside the home
- Adoption of policies in the Town of Northborough and Northborough schools to support healthy eating and active living
- Development and support of community gardens
- Increased awareness of community efforts through traditional and new media efforts
As part of their active living strategy, BHN has supported Active Schools policies including Recess Before Lunch, the Take 10! Program and working with the School Wellness Policy Subcommittee in addition to Active Out-of-School Programs provided by Northborough Extended Day Programs (NEDP) and the Northborough Recreation Department. BHN has also implemented Healthy Eating strategies including Healthy School Lunches and School Gardens as well as the Healthy Northborough Food Establishment Initiative.
Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center
Description: Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center helps people live healthier lives. Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center is a private, non-profit community health center serving over 100 communities. They serve the greater Worcester area and the greater Metrowest area. They utilize a family practice model of care, including preventive care, routine checkups, immunizations, and management of acute and chronic illnesses. Health care services are provided by board-certified, caring medical professionals. In addition, the Health Center has a large staff of Community Health Workers and Health Educators.
To assist their patients with quitting smoking, Edward M. Kennedy CHC has a case manager trained in Tobacco Cessation and are about to launch that program in January 2013. They also offer referrals to the Comprehensive Weight Management program –Center for Youth Wellness, a new initiative between Tufts Floating Hospital,YMCA, and MWMC.
Framingham Council on Aging/Callahan Center
Description: The Framingham Council on Aging (COA) is an advisory board that advocates for older citizens in Framingham. The mission of the COA/Callahan Center is to promote healthy, successful aging for our senior citizens. The Callahan Center updates its calendar of events monthly to identify opportunities for physical activity such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba and many more, along with health education programs and other services to assist seniors in a variety of ways.
Description: The mission of the Framingham Parks and Recreation Department is to create recreation opportunities, preserve open space, manage public athletic fields and parks, and administer recreation programs and facilities for the varied population of Framingham.
The Framingham Parks and Recreation Department provides over 200 formal programs geared towards a varied population; including adults, youth, seniors, preschool, and those with special needs. Services are provided through a combination of user fees and public tax dollars. Last year, they had just fewer than 20,000 users of their formal programming.
All programs are available to Framingham residents. Some programs are available to non-residents for an additional fee. Information on registering for any of these programs can be obtained by visiting their office for literature, reading the Metrowest News, and visiting their Recreational Programming section.
Parks, Athletic Fields, and Recreation Facilities:
The Department operates 62 athletic fields for a variety of sports. Fields are available for group use by permit only. In addition, there are three public beaches, 20 tennis courts, an indoor recreation center, and several passive recreation areas. The Department had over 14,000 events scheduled on their facilities this past year.
Description: Green Marlborough is “a group of residents and businesses promoting environmentally sustainable choices” in Marlborough. Green Marlborough has worked with many community stakeholders, to both initiate and support local, healthy, community initiatives. Some include:
The 2008 Marlborough Sustainability Action Plan (SAP)
The Sustainability Action Plan is a foundation document outlining actions to support healthy, sustainable community living including walking, biking, gardening, etc. The SAP Task Force was comprised of residents, businesses, municipal stakeholders and experts. The researcher/author/co-chair was the founder of Green Marlborough who worked with local officials to create and implement it.
Under Green Marlborough’s umbrella, a Bike Marlborough event was initiated and coordinated among community groups to increase opportunities for safer bicycling in Marlborough.
Green Marlborough members met with stakeholders interested in community gardens and supported efforts of the Marlborough Conservation Office which opened the Marlborough Cider Knoll Community Garden with 42 garden plots. This impressive community garden, which was coordinated by a local eagle scout and created by his supporters, provides a space for Marlborough residents to grow fruits and vegetables and encourages healthy eating.
Woodland Walks with Green Marlborough
Green Marlborough hosted 30 walks on Marlborough trails and introduced more than 200 people to the local trail systems. See photos and learn more about these walks here: http://greenmarlborough.org/achievements/walks/
Hudson Senior Center
Description: The Hudson Senior Center is the focal point for the town’s elderly services. It is a strong local advocate that helps serve the over 3,500 Hudson residents aged 60 and older by providing social services, information, advocacy, referrals, programs and activities.
In an effort to ensure the healthy aging of Hudson citizens, the Center tackles a broad range of issues, including proper nutrition and active living. Through its comprehensive Health and Wellness program, the Center provides seniors with information, activities, and services that not only teach seniors the benefits of healthy eating and active living, but help them adopt this lifestyle. For example, the Center invites guest speakers to give informative talks and presentations on topics such as eating healthy on a budget. In addition, the Center offers activities such as yoga, water aerobics, cardio and weights, and tai chi, as well as a number of services such as blood pressure screenings, diabetes support services, fall prevention programs and a nutrition for health and weight management program. For a complete and up-to-date list of its nutrition and physical activity opportunities, the Center posts a monthly newsletter on its website.
Description: The Latino Health Insurance Program, Inc. (LHIP) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) community-based organization, which originally began in East Boston and expanded to the Town of Framingham in 2008 to serve the growing Latino population in Metrowest. LHIP’s mission is to increase access to medical care and food for minority residents from MetroWest, connect them to medical facillities, and improve health literacy.LHIP has three primary goals: to offer Latinos a community-based, culturally-specific program for health insurance enrollment and maintenance, to connect clients to appropriate health care services (including primary care), and to help individuals to apply for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) to reduce food insecurity. Individuals and families can also apply for oral health services and WIC. LHIP promotes more effective use of preventive services (including health screenings, prenatal care, wellness visits, and health education) and refers patients to specialty care. Through their Chronic Disease Prevention Programs (CDSMP), LHIP educates residents from MetroWest about chronic disease prevention, encourages self-management, and emphasizes nutrition and exercise. These services are provided in a culturally appropriate manner. LHIP provides additional services to seniors, including free transportation to medical appointments and provide them with evidence-based healthy aging educational programs, so they can better understand how to manage chronic health conditions and be more active. LHIP meets its program’s goals through a combination of individual case management, community education, and strong community partnerships. The organization provides these services in MetroWest in the following locations: 12 Irving Street in Framingham (Monday to Friday from 10 am to 5pm) and 204A Main Street, 2nd Floor in Milford (Tuesdays from 9 am to 6pm, call 508-422-9996). Contact LHIP at 508-875-1237 to make an appointment. For further information about additional locations and services visit their website: www.lhiprogram.org or find LHIP on Facebook.
Conservation Officer: Priscilla Ryder
Secretary: Susan Brown
Members: Edward Clancy (Chairman), Dave Williams, John Skarin, Allan White, Dennis Demers, Lawrence Roy, Michele Higgins
Description: The Marlborough Conservation Commission works to protect the city’s natural resources, including all waterways and wetland and seven parcels of conservation land. The Commission manages the City’s large network of trails, many of which connect into neighboring trails and parks such as Callahan State Park and Ghiloni Park. In May 2012, the Commission opened their first Community Garden, at Cider Knoll Conservation Land, which has been very successful. Other activities the Conservation Commission has been involved with include: assisting with the design and construction of the Assabet River Rail Trail and staffing the Open Space and Recreation Plan update, which has information about trails, connections, open space and recreation that the City provides. The Conservation Commission has worked with a dedicated group of citizens and businesses to make Marlborough more sustainable and together they developed the Sustainability Action Plan 2011, which includes information about healthy living, eating locally and healthfully, and active transportation. In December 2010, the City, working with other groups including the Commission, achieved the states Green Community Designation. By being a designated Green Community the city has pledged to reduce its energy use and carbon footprint.
The Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRCC), along with the Marlborough Wellness Committee and MetroWest Moves, is putting together a year-long community health and wellness program called Marlborough Moves. Marlborough Moves will offer free educational lectures, exercise programs, healthy eating and nutrition information, motivational meetings and workouts throughout 2013. Kathy Ekdahl, chamber board member and owner of Personal Best Personal Training, along with Sue Leeber of MRCC and Julie Brown Dalbec of Marlborough Wellness Center, are coordinating this city wide program to educate the Marlborough community as to the easy, affordable ways that one can improve their health.
Many of the MRCC business members are already participating in Marlborough Moves by donating their time to make 2013 a healthier year for all of us! For more information on Marlborough Moves, or if you would like to volunteer, please contact Kathy Ekdahl at 978-562-0377 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Julie Dalbec at Julie@marlboroughwellnesscenter.com
MetroWest Visitors Bureau
The MetroWest Visitors Bureau (MWTVB) is a Regional Tourism Council focused on 19 communities, including Framingham, Hudson, Marlborough, and Northborough. The MWTVB works to attract travelers to the area and guide local residents looking for services, family activities, fantastic meals, cultural experiences, and getaways. The MetroWest Healthy Dining Initiative is promoted in the MWTVB annual “Guide to MetroWest”. More information about the MWTVB is available on their website: www.metrowestvisitors.org
State and Regional Elected Officials
During MetroWest Moves’ New Year Kick-Off Event on January 17th, 2013, the following state and regional elected officials provided updates on how their health priorities and initiatives relate to the work of MetroWest Moves:
Representative Thomas P. Conroy
Meeting with people all across Massachusetts, Representative Conroy has broadened his knowledge of the state’s health care system and the significant role of community-based health care.
Massachusetts Legislature Profile
Senator Jamie Eldridge
As a member of the Acton Planning Board and Acton Housing Authority, Senator Eldridge developed “a deeper understanding of municipal budgets and the impact of state legislation on communities, and housing, environmental, and “Smart Growth” issues.” In his presentation during the MetroWest New Year Kick-Off Event, Senator Eldridge spoke about state and regional efforts to help people become healthier and reduce child obesity, focused on his role in the Healthy Communities zoning reform bill, and support of rail trails as part of comprehensive transportation planning.
Massachusetts Legislature Profile
Representative Danielle W. Gregoire
During the MetroWest Moves Kick-Off Event, Representative Gregoire spoke about her support for tobacco control efforts. To address transportation issues, she also advocates for toll equity and improving commuter rail service to the MetroWest region.
Massachusetts Legislature Profile
Representative Chris Walsh
Representative Walsh supports the revitalization of old rail beds as a “secondary system for moving people, by bicycle, walking and perhaps by low speed electric trolleys” and envisions the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) aqueduct lands as an area which could be utilized for “walking or jogging paths or even as pathways for children to safely walk to school…”
Massachusetts Legislature Profile
Description: The Park Commission/Division of Recreation’s goal is to provide the residents of Hudson with a comprehensive leisure time program for ages 0 to 99, while continually expanding and enhancing recreation facilities and opportunities while keeping abreast of ever changing trends. The Town of Hudson Division of Recreation also works to preserve open space and the natural features of Hudson that define its character, identity and link to the past.
Hudson Recreation offers many of their programs on a user fee basis. All recreation program information is located on their website at www.hudsonrecreation.org and is listed seasonally. Registration for various programs can be done on-line through the website. They are responsible for management, operational maintenance and scheduling for over 120 acres of public parks and playgrounds, as well as a beach during the summer months. They assist with the management, scheduling and recommendation of maintenance for five school fields and playground areas. Hudson Recreation works very closely with all youth and other civic organizations in Hudson who provide a variety of activities from baseball/softball and soccer to band lessons and drama programs.
Hudson Recreation programming is both active and passive, including sports clinics and programs through cultural opportunities all geared to various segments of our population. Basketball programs, swimming and tennis lessons, sports clinics, socialization programs, special needs programs, youth and adult golf lessons, trips to plays and concerts are just a few of the activities offered throughout the year.
United Way of Tri-County
Description: The United Way of Tri-County is a community building organization that brings people together to care for one another. They raise funds, connect volunteers, strengthen agencies, teach social responsibility, and meet the critical needs of the community. Currently the United Way is working on three initiatives aimed at increasing healthy eating and active living for youth and families: the Food Security Initiative, the Framingham Playground Initiative, and the Born Learning Trail.
Food Security Initiative:
The United Way of Tri-County aims to provide hunger relief, improve the quality of life, and connect families and neighbors in need to essential services in their community. The goal is to reduce levels of food insecurity and hunger, while strengthening the connections between people and available resources. With MetroWest food pantry locations in Framingham and Marlborough, the Food Security Initiative helps to provide regular access to nutritionally adequate foods. During the holiday season, the United Way of Tri-County is also holding a fundraiser, “Feed-a-Family for Fifty Holiday Drive,” as part of their food security initiative. A donation of $50 will help feed a family of four over the holidays. A tradition of a hot meal with family and friends, for some, is a luxury.
Framingham Playground Initiative:
The absence of play has serious, negative effects, including childhood obesity. When kids play, they learn to run, jump and swing. They also learn how to negotiate and to respect one another. They learn how to think and plan without an adult telling them what to do. Using a community model, The United Way is coordinating, connecting, facilitating & maintaining play spaces in underdeveloped neighborhoods in Framingham.
Born Learning Trail:
Parents do not always know what to do to encourage early learning and healthy behaviors. In response to this need, the United Way built a Born Learning Trail in the Leonard Morse Hospital Fitness Path. Signage on the trail will include 10 fun outdoor games on engaging signs to help parents and caregivers create learning opportunities for a young child. The trail is a community change strategy, helping boost children’s language and literacy skills and encouraging families to get active. It’s a great way to elevate awareness of early childhood education, get families moving, and connect volunteers to the community.