A thriving region requires a broader definition of health
The Healthy Communities initiative began in 1994 as a means to draw individuals and organizations together from throughout the region of northwest Missouri and the surrounding counties in Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa to work together on the mission of engaging area citizens in building new pathways for community and regional sustainability. Today, six partner organizations located throughout the region are working collaboratively towards healthier and more thriving communities.
We’re talking about “thriving” communities in terms of places where . . .
- education is a priority,
- our children are nurtured,
- our homes and communities are peaceful,
- individuals are valued for their unique abilities and treasured as community contributors,
- business thrives,
- every individual’s health and well-being is a priority,
- the arts are inspired,
- our environment is preserved, and
- businesses, organizations, and people from all walks of life work as partners to create a desired future for those who live in our communities.
Across America and here at home, communities are going through times of immense change, and many are in decline. The skills required for both the existing and new jobs in our region have shifted. Employers acknowledge their needs have changed in ways that involve innovative applications of new technology and tools in all sectors. While at the same time, they desperately need a workforce of integrity as dependable and loyal as former generations.
We know higher levels of education and a greater sense of empowerment are linked to an individual’s likelihood to make choices in their lives that lead to better physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial health. With many sources of collected research supporting this reality, the Healthy Communities Regional Investor Partners work to promote the idea that (e2) education emPowers® and acknowledge the importance of learning from birth throughout life as a means of tackling the root causes of economic stress and poor health.
As the managing partner, Heartland Foundation regularly convenes several (e2) education emPowers® action teams of regional volunteers from business, education, government, healthcare, and others who recognize the critical need to work together to assure that we have quality 21st century jobs for the people who live here as well as highly qualified workers for these jobs. To make our region as attractive as possible to our young and seasoned citizens alike, all sectors need to value ongoing learning and collaborative conversations focused on the greater good. The (e2) initiative has the potential to unite this region around a powerful vision – one that is focused on Better Jobs, Better Wages, Healthier People, and Thriving Communities.