Is RiseVT Successfully Launched?

Yes, we are rising! Thanks to the tireless efforts of the RiseVT team led by Dorey Demers, RiseVT enjoyed an amazing month-long launch in June. As of the end of June, nearly 600 individuals and families had signed the RiseVT pledge to embrace healthier lifestyles! They were joined by 11 local businesses, 4 schools, and 3 municipalities. What an amazing start in four short weeks! The momentum to rise above our history of challenging health indicators is building! Now is the time for you to join us – we can each be a bit healthier, and RiseVT proves you can have fun doing it!

RiseVT is our region’s innovative, engaging, community-based best practice wellness initiative designed by our Community Committee on Healthy Lifestyles to help our population embrace healthier lifestyles. For too long, our northwestern Vermont has felt the burden of poor health indicators, such as sedentary lifestyles, challenging food choices, and tobacco use. Our health has suffered from this and our personal health care costs are higher than they need to be as a result. RiseVT was created by a broad-based group of local leaders to help change that. RiseVT provides a formal framework – we call them scorecards – for individuals, families, schools, businesses, and municipalities to use in guiding their improvement efforts.

RiseVT launched in June of 2015 with a month of interactive outreach. Teams from RiseVT were at June Dairy Days in Enosburgh, the Health & Wellness Day in North Hero, the Vermont Days at our state parks in Grand Isle and Franklin, “show up” events in St. Albans, significant social media interaction, local media attention, and more. Our adult and child “smoothie bikes” are becoming famous among event planners in the region and three other communities have already reached out for their own “show up” events. They were a big hit at the NOTCH summer camp and meal site in Richford, at the NOTCH office in Enosburg, and everywhere else they’ve been. We have had crowds of up to 20 people at our Wednesday 6am “show up” physical activity events in Taylor Park and have already had three other towns ask us to bring those events to their town greens as well and an 8am has been added in St. Albans! One of the particularly visible RiseVT kickoff events was held at St. Albans City School where more than 750 children and their entire staff celebrated the school’s achievement of “Gold” status in RiseVT through their adoption of healthy habits and policies by following a lap on their new walking track by coming together on the school field to spell out RiseVT for an aerial photo and then enjoying healthy smoothies from the RiseVT smoothie bikes. It was a sight to be seen that made it to front page of the Messenger!

I am thrilled to report that 582 individuals have taken the RiseVT pledge to adopt healthier lifestyles. They are now within the RiseVT system that includes the personal scorecards, health coaching support, access to the Cerner wellness portal, and more. Eleven businesses have signed up to be RiseVT businesses and are working with the RiseVT health coaches and health advocates to work through their scorecards and adjust policies and practices and infrastructure to better support their employees in living healthy lifestyles. Four schools are already formally involved with a focus on healthier children. Three municipalities have joined as well and are working through what evidence and best practice has shown a village can do to help improve population health among their residents. The role of social media and online connections has been key. We have more than 1400 likes on the RiseVT Facebook page and the first 27 posts in our launch drew 437 comments, had 501 shares, and were seen by 50,567 people!

Now is the time for all of us to rise! We can make small changes that can make a big difference in our health and our personal healthcare costs down the road – and we can have fun doing it. Visit www.risevt.org to learn more, take the pledge to embrace a healthier lifestyle, download your scorecard, and join us! Find us on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram. Show up at one of our “Show Up” events! Let’s connect and all enjoy getting a little healthier together.

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer