Pottstown Regional Public Library Joins Foundation Center’s National Network

This comes to us from the Pottstown Regional Public Library…

Thanks to a grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, nonprofit organizations and other grant-seekers in the tri-county area now have access to a valuable new collection of resources at Pottstown Regional Public Library.  The library has been accepted as a member of the Funding Information Network of the Foundation Center of New York.

The Foundation Center is the leading authority on connecting grant-seeking nonprofit organizations with philanthropic institutions.  Established in 1956, the Foundation Center of New York supports a nationwide network of resource centers, such as the one at Pottstown Regional Public Library.  These resources provide the tools and training needed to connect grant-seekers with grant-makers.  For more info about the Foundation Center, visit foundationcenter.org.

The Pottstown Regional Public Library now offers free access to detailed information on grant-makers and how to apply for grants. The Foundation Directory Online, Foundation Grants to Individuals Online, Foundation Center Philanthropy In/Sight, print directories, and proposal writing guides are some of the available resources. The Foundation Directory Online allows a grant-seeker to search by their area of interest, their geographic location, the size of grant, and other parameters.

Trained staff members and computers are available to help searchers make the best use of these resources.  As a member of the Funding Information Network, the Pottstown Regional Public Library will be holding training sessions on how to effectively use these resources and identify potential funders.

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit  www.pottstownfoundation.org  for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community at www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter.

MOSAIC Community Garden to celebrate installation of locally-crafted pergola tomorrow

The MOSAIC Community Land Trust invites everyone to a celebration of the community garden in winter and the installation of a beautiful, artistically-designed and built pergola that will support the wisteria vine, planted beside the walkway to the garden beds. The event will take place at noon tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 5th at the garden at 423 Chestnut Street.

The pergola is designed and built by Ryan Procsal, a Pottstown resident, designer and craftsman. MOSAIC is excited to feature Ryan’s creative talent and skills in the community garden and honored to call him “neighbor.” Ryan’s website: http://www.madebyprox.com/

The ceremonial celebration of the winter gardens will be led by Jodi McCarty and Lorraine Kat Morris of the Enlightened Path Holistic Center, 1494 N. Charlotte St. Ste#11.

Warm spiced cider and hot chocolate on tap!

Laughter, Love, Peace, Joy and Healthy Food in 2013!

This project/program was made possible through a grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community at:

www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter.

Free plants at MOSAIC Community Garden tonight & tomorrow morning!

Calling all area gardeners!

The 8th grade students at St. Aloysius School started a bunch of plants from seedlings this past spring with help from Strogus Flower Shop and funding from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. They gave the starter plants to their parents and parishioners, but they had many more left over.

Anna Brendle from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation suggested they get in touch with us. So… there are a bunch of good-looking plants at the rear of the garden now. The MOSAIC Community Garden is at 423 Chestnut Street, Pottstown, PA 19464. I’ll be there from 6-7:30 pm tonight and from 8-9:30 tomorrow morning if you want to stop by and pick some up. They’re FREE! There are mostly squash and zucchini, but also some spinach, peppers, and tomatoes.

After tomorrow morning, I’ll set the remainders on the rear curb of the garden, in the alley. Spread the word!

To Win, We Have to Lose: The Weight of a Nation Premieres May 14 and 15

Editor’s note: This timely information about an HBO series that begins tonight comes to us from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.

With recent statistics suggesting that 42% of the United States population will be defined as obese by 2030, The Weight of a Nation, could not come at a more opportune time to shine the light on a national epidemic. The four-part documentary series was developed by HBO in conjunction with several of the nation’s leading research and health care organizations. Three years in the making, the documentary spotlights the facts and myths of this urgent public health issue, showing how obesity affects the health of the nation and the health care system. The series also highlights how individuals, workplaces, and communities are making positive changes.

The documentary airs on HBO on May 14 (Part 1 and 2) and May 15 (Part 3 and 4). Additionally, content will be available free on multiple digital platforms including YouTube and HBO.com. The full series will also be available from the Pottstown Foundation for organizations interested in hosting future screenings.

“Educating ourselves is the first step in getting our community to a healthier weight,” said Dave Kraybill, Executive Director of the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. “Helping our children make good food choices at home and creating neighborhoods and schools that enable them to eat well and be active are critical to helping the next generation live healthier, happier lives.”

The Foundation also celebrates the ongoing efforts of several grantees who are dedicated to aiding the community in pursuing healthier lifestyles and combating obesity:

Boyertown Area School District’s Brain Body Connection project is an effort to measure the connection between student’s health, physical activity and academic performance. For instance, science teachers collaborate with physical education teachers on days when tests are to be given – ensuring that students receive a stimulating dose of activity before heading into the classroom to take their test. The District’s vision is to expand the focus on physical activity beyond the gymnasium, making it more of an integral and beneficial part of their students’.

Get Moving at the Freedom Valley YMCA is an exercise and health education program meant to motivate individuals to pursue healthy lifestyles. The impetus for the program came during a Relay for Life event. One team noticed others struggling to walk around the track and approached the YMCA with an idea based on community members supporting each other toward common healthy goals. The program began in January and runs through June 2012. Their goal is to see seventy-five percent of participants increase their walking/running time and distance.

Pottstown School District’s Healthy Me initiative promotes healthy living through its after school programs that focus on nutrition, diet, food preparation, exercise activities and stress reduction. The program aims to decrease the proportion of obesity in both the middle school and high school levels. It is open to all students, staff and local community at no charge.

About the Foundation
The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit http://www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community at http://www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life – including its series on childhood obesity. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter.

If your organization is interested in hosting a screening of The Weight of the Nation, please contact Rose Crews at rosecrews@pottstownfoundation.org for more details.

Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation article: Exercise proven to be a stimulus to learning

 Editor’s note: This is the latest article from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. More evidence that not only does exercise make us feel better physically and mentally, but it’s good for our brains too!

Teaching all kids, not just athletes, the importance of fitness and wellness, was the topic of conversation recently in Pottstown and Boyertown.  Dr. John Ratey, author, researcher and Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, traveled to the area recently to talk about the “brain-body connection.”

Dr. John Ratey, author of the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, began the day speaking to a group of 33 at the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Representatives from local school districts and organizations attended this small group discussion to learn the importance of incorporating activity and fitness into the daily routines of local school children.

“We were very excited to have Dr. Ratey visit Pottstown,” stated Dave Kraybill, Executive Director of the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. “His research is very exciting and supports the Foundation’s goal of promoting exercise and active lifestyles.”

New brain cells are generated every day. According to Ratey, exercise promotes new brain cell growth and acts as a “brain fertilizer”, which optimizes learning.  In addition to the increased learning ability, exercise can help control aggression, stress and depression.

Later that day, Dr. Ratey traveled to Boyertown to address a group of more than 150 faculty, staff and Board members from the Boyertown School District. Neighboring school districts were also represented, in addition to local organizations.

Those in attendance learned about the relationship of the human brain development and movement, and how it directly relates to our ability to learn and process new information. Questions and answers focused around the connection between student’s physical activity, test results, depression and incidences of discipline.

According to Stephanie Petri, K-12 Health and Physical Education Lead Teacher, “The faculty and staff in the Boyertown School District found this information very exciting and are planning to incorporate 20 minutes of physical activity prior to the junior’s PSSA reading and math exams. Our goal is to increase student focus, decrease test anxiety, and improve student success. We believe the connection between exercise and learning will provide this outcome.”

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community at www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter.

Hill School CFO appointed to Health & Wellness Foundation Board

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation recently appointed Donald Silverson, of Pottstown, to its board of directors. Mr. Silverson is the Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of The Hill School since 2007.

“Don brings specific talents to our board,” comments David Kraybill, Executive Director of the Foundation. “His financial and investment knowledge, and familiarity with the building and construction process, will benefit the Foundation Board.  His willingness to serve the Foundation and the Pottstown community is to be commended. We value his opinions and expertise, and appreciate his time commitment in assisting us with moving the dial as we continue to improve health and wellness in our community.”  Mr. Silverson will serve on the Foundation’s Finance and Facilities committees.

A graduate of University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, Silverson received his Masters in Community Planning and Public Administration, and his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Brown University, Providence, RI. He serves as Treasurer of the Pottstown Area Industrial Development Corporation (PAID).

The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles.

Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community at www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share great information on how to lead a healthier life. You can also follow Mission Healthy Living on Facebook and Twitter.

Info sessions on Pottstown’s first Community Garden to be held tonight and Saturday

MOSAIC Community Land Trust is holding another information session tonight about the community garden being built this spring at 423 Chestnut Street. (See the concept plan below.) All Pottstown residents, business owners, community organizations, and youth groups are encouraged to attend.

Have you ever wanted your own garden, but didn’t have enough room in your yard? Would you like your children to learn how to grow their own fresh vegetables? Would you like to grow fresh herbs for your restaurant?

Thanks to a grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation, MOSAIC Community Garden will give individuals, families, and community groups the chance to  work side-by-side on their own garden plots. 

Information sessions will be held tonight and this coming Saturday:

February 21 from 7-8 pm, MOSAIC’s office, 10 S. Hanover St.

February 25 from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center, 28 N. Washington St.

Applications will be available at the meetings or on our website: www.mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org. They can be dropped off at any of the above locations or mailed to MOSAIC Community Land Trust, 10 S. Hanover St., Pottstown, PA 19464 by March 1.

For more information, contact Sue Repko, MOSAIC Executive Director, at 609-658-9043 or srepko@mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org.

In the event that there are more applications than garden plots, a public lottery will be held at MOSAIC’s offices on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm.

Garden Concept Plan

MOSAIC to hold information sessions about Community Garden

Have you ever wanted to have your own garden, but didn’t have enough room in your yard? Would you like your children to learn how to grow their own fresh vegetables, but don’t know where to begin?

This spring MOSAIC Community Land Trust is building Pottstown’s first community garden at 423 Chestnut Street. They will be holding three information sessions during the month of February to explain what community gardens are all about and to take applications for approximately 40 raised bed garden plots for the 2012 season.

In addition to the garden plots, there will be compost bins, rain barrels, pavers, fencing, trellis, perennial gardens, a storage shed, and water service for irrigation.

The MOSAIC Community Garden is being built with a $30,000 grant from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. The property at 423 Chestnut Street was donated by thePottstown School District last spring, and other major donors and volunteers includePottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation. Other donations have already been received from Genesis Housing/Susquehanna BankLowes, Davey Tree ExpertsAndrew Monastra, Esq., the Borough of Pottstown, and many other individuals and volunteers.

According to the American Community Gardening Association, a community garden is “any piece of land gardened by a group of people.”

Typically, community gardens transform vacant lots into beautiful and positive community gathering places. While fresh, organic food is typically more expensive and out of financial reach for many people, the cost to grow and harvest one’s own food is significantly less. Residents pay a small annual fee to lease their plot and actively cultivate it throughout the entire growing season. MOSAIC plans to provide educational workshops for new and experienced gardeners. Individuals, families, community organizations, youth groups, and local restaurants are all welcome to apply for a plot.

The information sessions will be held at the following times and locations in Pottstown:

Tuesday, February 14 from 7-8 pm at the Ricketts Community Center, 640 Beech Street

Tuesday, February 21 from 7-8 pm at MOSAIC’s office, 10 S. Hanover Street

Saturday, February 25 from 2-3 pm at Victory Christian Life Center, 28-30 N. Washington Street

Applications will be available at the meetings and can be dropped off at any of the above locations or mailed to MOSAIC Community Land Trust by March 1. In the event that there are more applications than garden plots, a public lottery will be held at MOSAIC’s offices on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm. For more information, contact Sue Repko, MOSAIC Executive Director, at 609-658-9043 or srepko@mosaiccommunitylandtrust.org.

How to stay healthy & eliminate costly doctor visits this season

Editor’s Note: This is the third and final article in a series on living a healthy lifestyle on a budget, brought to you by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation.

10 TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY AND ELIMINATE COSTLY

DOCTOR VISITS AND UNWANTED DOWNTIME THIS SEASON

By: David Kraybill, Executive Director, Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation

No one likes to be sick. Besides the obvious feeling miserable, you miss work and cannot accomplish the things you need to for yourself and your family. On top of that, you have to spend money to go to the doctor, get a prescription filled or buy over-the-counter remedies. But, this time of year it’s inevitable, right? So, you sit back and wait for that first sign of a body ache or scratchy throat.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 1 in 5 people will get the flu this season. However, there is good news. That “1” doesn’t have to be you. You can take preventative action on a daily basis to reduce your and your family’s chances of getting sick and spending extra dollars on doctor office visits and trips to the drug store.

Top 10 Tips to Prevent Getting Sick

1. Wash your hands—you get sick for one reason—germs. Bacteria and viruses make you ill by finding a way into your body through physical contact. Since most contact is with your hands (think of everything you touch in just a few hours), washing them frequently can stop germs from entering your body. Never eat without washing your hands and wash them after riding public transportation. While antibacterial gels are effective and good when hand-washing isn’t practical or possible, washing with soap and water is the preferred option.

2. Don’t touch your face – even if you keep your hands clean. Chances are, some germs will survive and they can act only if they get inside you. The mucous membranes in your eyes, mouth and nose are ideal entry points. Simply keep your hands away from your face and food and make it difficult for germs to grow.

3. Avoid sick people – seems obvious, but yet you still do not always do it. Germs are everywhere, but they are definitely hanging out around someone already infected. Politely stay away and disinfect everything they touch. If possible, avoid those who work with little children, like teachers and pediatricians—unfortunately, they are usually contagious.

4. Don’t eat group food. Avoid party dips where there is no spoon to put some on your plate. (Think about someone sick sneezing into their hand, picking up a chip and rotating it in the dip or salsa to find the best dipping angle and swishing all those sneeze germs in the food.) Also, don’t eat out of a bag or bowl of anything that isn’t individually wrapped or equipped with tongs to choose your piece of food. Along these lines, avoid shared mugs, cups or utensils unless they’ve been washed in a dishwasher or with very hot water and a clean sponge.

5. Get enough sleep. According to Dr. Rubin Naiman, a sleep specialist and assistant professor at the University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine, “Sleeping well is the single most overlooked factor critical to good health, especially during flu season.” Sleep restores and heals the body; without it, your immune system cannot function properly. In addition, if you feel like you may be starting a cold, get some extra sleep to help your body fight it.

6. Don’t drink alcohol in excess, smoke or use other tobacco products. Drinking large amounts of alcohol negatively affects your immune system and makes it weaker for a full 24 hours. If you feel like you’re coming down with something, avoid drinking altogether for a few days. Smoking weakens the immune system by depressing antibodies and cells that are in the body to protect against foreign invaders.

7. Relieve stress. Being too uptight or constantly stressed out makes you vulnerable to viruses. It can also make your recovery time longer if you do get sick. Find ways to relax and chill out, and give your mind and body a chance to unwind.

8. Exercise at least three days per week. Aerobic exercise will build muscle and endurance and keep you strong as you age. Choose walking or any other exercise you can stick to. If you are feeling sick, it is best to skip a workout. Also, if you go to a gym – make sure you clean your equipment before and after use and wash your hands when you are finished working out.

9. Eat well and stay hydrated – seems simple, but eating a diet full of fresh vegetables, herbs, fruits, lean meats and whole grains can boost your body’s immune system and help it stave off invasive germs. Staying hydrated also helps your body stay balanced and strong and helps it support all your body’s functions. Ideal drinks include water and warm tea. Skip the soda—regular and diet—it adds calories and makes your body crave sweets.

10. Take a multi-vitamin. While eating healthy is the ideal way to get all your nutrients, sometimes we don’t. Taking a multi-vitamin can help fill in the gaps and add fuel to your body’s immune system.

Be Aware of the Top 8 Germy Public Places

1. Grocery Store – Shopping cart handles and seat buckets are the biggest culprits. They can be full of germs from others’ hands and leaky packages of meat. Wipe them down with the antibacterial wipes most grocery stores provide.

2. Children’s Playgrounds – Swings, jungle gyms, and all other equipment can be loaded with germs. The largest threat is from fecal bacteria from bird droppings and diaper-wearing kids. Always wash your and your child’s hands when returning home from the playground.

3. Public Restrooms – Believe it or not, it’s not the toilet, but the sinks—the taps and faucets and soap dispensers—they are all touched after using the toilet. Avoid touching moist surfaces that breed bacteria, and turn off all faucets and open all doors with a paper towel.

4. Offices – Desks, telephones and computer keyboards are the biggest offenders. Wipe down your desk with antibacterial wipes daily, and avoid these items on co-workers’ desks if they are sick.

5. Restaurants – Beware of the table surface and high chairs. Most restaurants wipe down the tables and high chairs with cloths that are used over and over and lack disinfectant. High chairs also harbor fecal bacteria, too, because they hold diaper wearing tots. Carry sanitary wipes and do your own wipe-down after you sit down.

6. Libraries – You can catch more than knowledge at your local library from the many surfaces that are touched. After handling books and touching countertops, use hand sanitizer to wash your hands.

7. Cruise Ships – These ships are floating cities, and the main cause of getting sick are noroviruses—almost impossible to avoid on a cruise ship and resistant to routine cleaning procedures. All public surfaces are breeding grounds. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially before eating.

8. Malls – Escalator handles are teeming with germs so try to avoid them. The sheer volume of people who touch the handles make them a bacterial hot spot. If you do, don’t touch your face and wash your hands or use antibacterial wash as soon as you can.

It can seem like too much to remember or an impossible feat to stay healthy. But, with a little extra effort and change of habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting sick—not only this winter, but year round.

 About the Foundation – The Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation’s mission is to enhance the health and wellness of area residents, providing education, funding and programs that motivate people to adopt healthy lifestyles. Visit www.pottstownfoundation.org for more information about the Foundation. Discover Pottstown area’s online community at www.missionhealthyliving.org to learn and share information on how to lead a healthier life!

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