We face chronic disease and obesity in rural Lorain County.
We help people live healthier lives.
Access to healthy options is just one part of what we do.
Check out our work in the areas of Financial Stability, Education, and Transportation.
Together, we can transform our community so that all families have the opportunity to thrive.
THRIVE! Southern Lorain County is a Community Collaborative focused on improving the health of residents of Brighton Township, Camden Township, Huntington Township, Kipton Village, Pittsfield Township, Rochester Township, Rochester Village, Wellington Township, and Wellington Village.
To build upon the local culture of southern Lorain County to provide affordable opportunities for all to live healthier through healthy eating, active living and social/emotional support, and reduce the instance of metabolic syndrome – obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke.
Funding elevated garden boxes and other gardening opportunities to our senior, handicapped, and low-income populations; support our local food-pantries; offering CSA City Fresh delivery of fresh local fruits and veggies; promoting water consumption at public events; Providing Indoor Walking at the elementary; supporting the Community Tower Garden project for the high school FFA program; promoting and supporting a LIFE Memory Café for dementia patients and their care givers; promoting Work Site Wellness through health screenings and other wellness programming; maintaining a Facebook and a website presence to share all local events that promote our mission.
Partners: Dave Lengyel | Elms Retirement Village | First Congregational UCC Wellington | Friends of Senior Citizens | Herrick Memorial Library | Huntington Township | Kiwanis Club of Wellington | LIFE: A Dementia-Friendly Foundation | Lorain Community College – Wellington Center | Lorain County Office on Aging | Lorain County Public Health | Main Street Wellington | Mercy Health | Oberlin Community Services | OSU Extension, Lorain County | Salvation Army Wellington | St. Patrick Helping Hands | The YMCA of Greater Cleveland | United Way of Greater Lorain County | Village of Wellington | Well-Help | Wellington Exempted Village School District | Wellington First United Methodist Church
If you'd like to learn more about the services and events provided by THRIVE! please visit: thriveslc.org
KEY (Keystone Empowers You) is a Community Collaborative focused on increasing access to physical activity and healthy food options in the Keystone area.
A Community where more adults have access to exercise programs - both formal and informal - and are exercising regularly, there is an increased availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, neighborhoods and workplaces, and youth spend less time playing video games or watching television and more time engaging in the recommended amount of daily exercise.
Improving concessions offered during school and community events, a pantry garden to provide residents with access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and physical activity programming in community venues.
Partners: Elyria Public Library System | French Creek Family YMCA | Keystone Pointe | Keystone Schools | LaGrange Lions Club's Food Pantry | LaGrange Park Board | LaGrange United Methodist Church | LaGrange Township | LaGrange Yoga | Lorain County Metro Parks | Lorain County Public Health | Penfield Township | Salvation Army | SpaceBound, Inc. | United Way of Greater Lorain County | Village of LaGrange
If you'd like to see the calendar of events or have access to more KEY resources, please visit their Facebook page here.
North Ridgeville Heart and Sole is a Community Collaborative focused on increasing access to physical activity and healthy food options in North Ridgeville.
A community where more adults have access to exercise programs – both formal and informal – and are exercising regularly, an increased availability of fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, neighborhoods and workplaces resulting in more consumption of these foods from people of all ages, youth spend less time playing video games or watching television and more time engaging in the recommended amount of daily exercise.
Healthy cooking classes hosted by Parks and Recreation Department on school grounds, farm markets, healthy concession stand offerings, and working with the Metro Parks to map and promote walkable and bikeable areas of the community.
Partners: Beckett Corp | Cleveland Clinic | French Creek Family YMCA | Lorain County Metro Parks | Lorain County Public Health | Maximize Fitness | North Ridgeville City Schools | North Ridgeville Community Care | North Ridgeville Parks and Recreation | North Ridgeville Senior Center | North Ridgeville Seniors Inc. | United Way of Greater Lorain County
If you'd like to see the calendar of events or have access to more North Ridgeville Heart and Sole resources, please visit their website here.
Through our Collect - Sort - Deliver Impact Initiative, we have an inventory of menstrual products available for distribution through our collaborative partners and other community organizations.
If your organization would like to distribute tampons and/or pads or you are in need, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (440) 277-6530.
United We Sweat was formed to promote healthy living in Greater Lorain County by raising awareness on the types of fitness and nutrition options available.
The collaboration aims to ensure that everyone in Lorain County has access to quality physical activities no matter their location, age or skill level.
Every month there will be new fitness classes and events to get everyone moving in Lorain County. All classes and events are free and open to the public. Check out all of the free fitness opportunities by visiting: Live Healthy Lorain
- The Center For Health & Fitness at the UH Avon Health Center
- French Creek YMCA
- Lorain County Community College
- Lorain County MetroParks
- Lorain County Public Health
- United Way of Greater Lorain County
- Vermilion Family YMCA
The following is a story told by Jolene, a new North Ridgeville resident who loves to pick up the Grab-n-Go Produce Bags powered by United Way’s North Ridgeville Heart & Sole Community Collaborative. At $10/bag, she can affordably provide healthy food for her family as well as learn more about local produce options.
We moved to Ohio from the seacoast of New Hampshire two years ago. We loved New Hampshire because there were so many opportunities to be in nature, and many farms offering locally-grown food through farmers' markets, stands, and farm shares. Our family spent a lot of time on trails, at the beach, and enjoying fresh produce throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
When we found our new home in North Ridgeville, I was excited to be closer to family and in a community that was a better fit for us economically, but was worried to leave the beauty and bounty of New England.
I missed the farm shares that we used to be a part of, where we could pick up a prepared assortment of seasonal produce every week or two, and be encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables and have our kids try new varieties as well.
When I learned about the Grab-n-Go produce program through North Ridgeville Heart & Sole, I was thrilled! And with the beautiful Sandy Ridge Reservation almost in our backyard, it was a match made in heaven: we could enjoy a walk or bike ride to the park on a Saturday morning, pick up a HUGE bag of healthy, local food, and get to know what each local farm had to offer.
As a result of Grab-n-Go, we got out for more walks as a family, connected with our new neighbors who were also participating, felt awesome to be supporting our local farmers, and were motivated to go out of our way to visit their farm stands more often throughout the growing season to get more fresh food in between Grab-n-Go weeks. It was convenient, inexpensive, and satisfying for the whole family - my kids always looked forward to "farm bag day"!
I'm very grateful to everyone who made a program like this possible - what a fantastic resource to encourage a growing community to stay healthy, fit, and close to nature!
Grab-N-Go is typically offered weekly for about 8 weeks over the summer. To get a hold of one of these bags you can just show up to a pick up location or reserve a bag online. (Reservation information comes out over the summer and will be circulated in the community). Be on the look out for more information regarding Grab-N-Go's 2020 details. https://www.facebook.com/nrheartandsole/
Mary spoke about her experience with the KEY Community Collaborative's Indoor Walking program at our 2019 Celebration of Community Impact. She was joined onstage by Andrea Ferguson, a health educator at Lorain County Public Health. Thank you, Mary, for sharing your story!
On Wednesday, September 23, 2015, Mary rushed her husband Mike to the hospital because he was having difficulty breathing during the night and into the early morning.
Mary was shocked to hear the doctor say that Mike was given medication for atrial fibrillation and that he had congestive heart failure from pneumonia. They moved Mike to a critical care floor for further observation and tests. At that time, Mike’s heart was pumping at 10% and his oxygen level was low.
Mike ended up staying in the hospital for a week. The heart catheterization and echocardiogram indicated that Mike had a heart attack, at some point, in the left anterior descending (LAD) artery, and that his collateral arteries had, fortunately, made their own natural bypass.
When Mike was sent home, he had to wear an Automated External Defibrillator Life Vest for 4 months so his doctors could continuously monitor his heart rhythm and, at the same time, allow him a safety cushion in case of sudden cardiac arrest.
As Mike had recovered from the pneumonia and adjusted to his array of heart medications and treatments, the doctors recommended walking as a good form of cardiac rehabilitation.
Finding a safe and inexpensive place close to home to walk on a regular basis was difficult for Mike who lives in the township where there are no sidewalks, only country roads. Small towns are limited in their resources in comparison to cities.
Mike also works in a local factory where there is no suitable place to walk, and lunch breaks at his shop are only 30 minutes long. Mary’s brother gave them his old treadmill, which Mike used down the basement. Unfortunately, the body is limited to only mundane walking in place.
In the winter of 2017, Mike and Mary spotted an advertisement for indoor walking in their Rural Urban Record newspaper. To their delight, the location for walking took place at the Keystone Elementary School, a mile from their home. At that time, the school was open to the public for indoor walking from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. every Thursday during the colder months. The indoor walking was sponsored by the Keystone Empowers You (KEY) collaborative and funded by the United Way of Greater Lorain County.
Mike and Mary took advantage of this wonderful opportunity and made the indoor walking part of their weekly exercise routine.
"It was a day out of the week where Mike could focus on exercising his heart in making it stronger and in keeping it in rhythm. Mike is also able to use the school stairs for further heart therapy. I also enjoy the exercise of walking and spending quality time with my husband."
In January of 2019, the KEY collaborative was able to add an extra day to the week and an extra hour to each day of the indoor walking. Mike and Mary have noticed an abundant number of community members joining the indoor walking this winter since the additional day and hour, and community members returning from the previous year.