Pulling together helps everyone in the community

A healthy community isn't afraid to assess where it stands, nor make that information public. Larimer County fits that bill. And Greeley's parks department has made strides to make sure all of its citizens can enjoy playing outdoors by building a special playground. Read on for details!

Larimer County residents wanted for health survey

The Health District of Northern Larimer County is taking the pulse of the community, and it’s asking local residents for help.

Through November, randomly selected households in Larimer County will be receive a letter requesting participation in the 2016 Community Health Survey. A follow-up mailing will include a copy of the 12-page, 65-question survey. The survey should be completed by the adult in the household who has the next birthday. It can be returned by mail or completed online.

The survey helps the Health District better understand the health and healthcare needs of area residents. Survey questions cover a broad range of subjects, including personal health, health behaviors (such as diet, physical activity, smoking and seatbelt use) and access to healthcare services.

All survey responses are completely confidential. The Health District keeps no personal information on individual participants. Only aggregate results will be analyzed and reported.

The survey is part of the Health District’s periodic Community Health Assessment, which also includes a series of community forums where community members can express their opinions on a variety of health-related topics.

Information gathered during the Community Health Assessment helps guide the planning and design of programs and services at the Health District. It also is shared with other local organizations working on health-related issues.

Partial support for this year’s survey comes from Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, North Colorado Health Alliance, TEAM Wellness & Prevention, CanDo Loveland and LiveWell Colorado.

People interested in more information about the 2016 Community Health Survey can call the Health District at 970-224-5209 or visit www.healthdistrict.org/community-health-assessment.

New website features Larimer County health data

Community organizations, students, reporters and interested county residents will find a useful source of health data from the newly launched, online Larimer Health Tracker. This website will be valuable to those who previously relied on the Health section of the Larimer County Compass website, which was discontinued in 2012.

The new tool can be found online at www.larimerhealthtracker.org and serves as a hub for Larimer County health data collected by local, state, and national organizations. Overall, more than 700 health indicators are available, including selected socioeconomic and environmental measures, which strongly affect a community’s health status. 

The Larimer Health Tracker provides a user-friendly way to search for specific health indicators, while also displaying the information by age, gender, income and education level where available. The site includes results of the Health District of Northern Larimer County’s triennial Community Health Survey, as well as Larimer County-specific health data from national and state data sets.

Throughout Larimer County, agencies rely on health data to identify areas of concern, assess gaps in services in our community, as well as to support the need for funding to help fill those gaps. The Larimer Health Tracker has the ability to show historical trends over time, plus compare local, state and national health indicators.

Greeley opens all-inclusive playground

Last month, the City of Greeley Culture, Parks and Recreation Department opened Aven’s Village at Island Grove Regional Park, located at 501 N. 14th Ave.—an all-inclusive playground that was built in part with city funding, as well as community and private donations, and grant money. Although there are other accessible playgrounds in Greeley, this is the City’s first all-inclusive playground.

"It’s a labor of love that took three years of planning, fundraising and construction, " says Parks Planner Sarah Boyd.

She explains that the all-inclusive playground is different from an accessible playground. "An accessible playground simply means that it’s fairly easy for a person with mobility-related challenges to access and move through the playground. It might have lower monkey bars or high-back seat swings with belts. An all-inclusive playground—such as Aven’s Village—is different in that it is geared toward people of all ages and abilities, and seeks to encourage and engage visitors with each other. It includes a mix of sensory, social and physical activities, and allows for people of various levels of ability to experience similar equipment side-by-side."

While City of Greeley staff try to provide unobstructed access to all of its playgrounds, the all-inclusive concept takes it a step further by incorporating many types of play such as physical, sensory and social activities that appeal to a broad range of users. Special attention is given to include equipment for thrill seekers and non-thrill seekers alike.

For more information about this playground, visit www.AvensVillage.com.

NightLights shines light into the darkness of child abuse

Realities For Children is hosting the 19th Annual NightLights Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, December 1 at 6pm. All are welcome to join this free hour-long celebration on the lawn of First Presbyterian Church, 531 S. College Ave. There will be food, hot drinks, cookies, live music and a visit by Santa. Each light on the tree represents a $100 donation by a community member to help take a child out of the darkness of abuse.  Community members are invited to sponsor a light on the NightLights Tree any time throughout the month of December. For more information or to donate, visit www.GiveaNightLight.com.

Bikes For Tykes 

From Nov. 1 through Dec. 12, Realities for Children will be collecting new and gently used bicycles from the community for children ages 2-17 who would otherwise not have the opportunity to own a bike. By donating a bike for a child who has experienced abuse or neglect or is at risk, you are providing not only fun, but freedom. Gently used bikes should be delivered directly to participating bike shops for safety check and minor repairs. Participating shops include: Lee’s Cyclery (all 3 locations), The Phoenix Cyclery and Breakaway Cycles. New bikes can be delivered to Realities for Children at their 1610 S. College Ave. office.