As the snow is falling outside the office windows, we find we have all the notes we need to begin drafting the final chapter of our 2015 storybook.Beginning our year, we celebrated Bryan, Candy, Skylar and Brady Kuntz who joined our family and led this year’s story building. They attended Healthy Kid’s Weekend which highlighted our amazing partners and promoted free activities for families in our community. In June, the block party re-enforced this ‘family story building’ by launching the 2015 Annual Fund Campaign with a Harmon Park party.

Our community is rich in programs and opportunities for families to be active together, which builds resilient families and engages youth. Building on that theme, Positive Pressure launched the “Parents, Take a Stand” blog, highlighting a webinar with Dr. Atri on ‘Normal Teenage Behavior”.

This year we celebrated 25 years of Walk Out On Your Job, in which, for the first time, Activate Buffalo County engaged the workforce in an event that broke- even financially and they look forward to adding more businesses and volunteers in 2016. Activate Buffalo County also hosted several walk/bike to school days in the spring and fall engaging more families in setting the walking and biking pace in your community.

The plot of our story thickens, as Kearney was named a quarter-finalist in the America’s Best Communities competition, Kearney was awarded $50,000 to implement a community revitalization process and they celebrated in November with the submission of a 100+ page plan developed by over 200 community residents.
Building strong families would not be possible without the help of the Buffalo County Youth Advisory Board, who developed policy papers and conducted a mock legislative session on the floor of the State Capitol this spring. Additionally, Picturing Peace, a new project led by United Against Violence Coalition, began building our communities’ vision of peace. We welcomed Lt. Governor Mike Foley to recognize photographers and community champions to celebrate the first Picturing Peace reception. Additionally, the social/emotional learning tools of Second Step curriculum were implemented in six pre-K through 8th grade classes in your community.

One of our most successful stories highlights the Be Safe Be Smart Coalition who established a positive community theme to Cruise Night and effectively reduced large parties, arrests and created a family-friendly 25th Sreet atmosphere. Substance abuse prevention is key to your community, as Red Ribbon week, designed by Positive Pressure, teamed up with the Elks Lodge #984 to distribute prevention materials, prizes and engaged sports heroes with elementary students in October.

A footnote to our story includes the Diabetes Referral Network that built a referral network of over 50 stakeholders and launched the first Information and Referral Fair in November. Toward the end of the year, Dr. Ken Schaffer and HyVee Dietician Kaiti George hosted a “healthy luncheon” for our leading donors. As the year ends, coalitions are working together to plan for 2016. We are measuring outcomes in order to share with you, our donors and volunteers, our success stories. We will also be launching the Adult Behavioral Risk Factor Survey in 2016 in order to measure overall impact of our communities efforts of partnering together.

We want to thank all who have helped us make Buffalo County a healthier community in 2015. Our volunteers, donors and staff have created this year’s story, thank you!

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