LIBERAL, Kan. – The path of health and wellness is making its way through the heart of Seward County Community College.
Through a grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the Liberal Area Coalition for Families is working with the college to promote the importance of good health and well-being through the campus surroundings.
“We’re trying to promote an atmosphere that reflects health, wellness, activity and positive energy,” said SCCC President Ken Trzaska. “… promote the importance of health and wellness and taking care of yourself.”
SCCC and LACF are no strangers to each other, having worked together on previous programs.
“We’ve worked on several different grants with the college and formed a pretty great partnership in other areas,” said Sarah Foreman, LACF executive director. “It made sense to approach (the college) saying ‘We have these funds. We work well with you. We know the work you’re doing is good so let’s partner on this.’”
It also made sense since the college had the infrastructure for an inviting environment. “(The grant) fit nicely into what Seward County Community College is doing and its mission to promote health and wellness,” Foreman said. “With those funds, we approached (SCCC) with being able to enhance their trails, add lighting, benches and other safety measures, so people of all ages can use the trails at different times of the day.
“Additionally, recognizing that health and wellness is a big initiative on campus, we approached them about designating some of the campus smoke free,” she continued. “Use some of the money for beautification, putting up a gazebo, seating and making the courtyard a more inviting environment.”
There is also a food component to the grant. The college has purchased a food cart to provide people on campus with healthy options.
The hope is that the college will become a resource for health and wellness, not just for those who attend and work on campus, but for the entire community for decades to come.
“One of the most remarkable rewards of the partnerships with Liberal Area Coalition for Families and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas is the idea that this work is sustainable,” Trzaska said. “I see this as something that will live on for generations with our pathways and trees – all of these things coming together – if we flash forward 10 to 20 years, this can be an absolute oasis for our community where folks can walk and run and connect and find that peace on campus.”
As one of eight recipients of the BCBSKS Pathways to a Healthy Kansas grant, LACF received $500,000, which was spread to several different organizations in the community. SCCC has received $54,000.