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Building a Healthy Community in Naperville

This group of Naperville leaders, known as the Collaborative Youth Team, is introducing a new initiative to build a healthy community.

“Our mission is really to increase awareness and to stimulate discussion and facilitate action around issues that impact the well-being of kids and families,” said IdaLynn Wenhold, Executive Director of KidsMatter.

By combining forces with 25 different agencies around the city, the Collaborative Youth Team has put on events throughout the week to build healthy minds, healthy bodies and a healthy land, the three components to a healthy community.

“Having a healthy mind refers to your psychological well-being, it means to be able to be a holistic person, to deal with life’s situations that happen and be able to react to those in an appropriate and positive manner,” said Amit Thaker, Director of Business Development at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.

Through a mental health class, adults were able to learn the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and receive certification to be able to help others.

On the healthy body front, the YMCA and the Naperville Park District continuously offer ways to get out and get active.

“Healthy bodies is an easy one for us because as I’m standing out here on the Riverwalk you’ve got trails, people that will canoe up and down the river and we’ve got Rotary Hill people will run up and down, so it’s a natural fit to be going outside and doing things,” said Ray McGury, Executive Director of the Naperville Park District.

Besides taking care of yourself, building a better community also means protecting our planet.

“North Central College is doing a lot of initiatives to take care of our environment and our land and one of our biggest initiatives is our campus garden and our composting efforts,” said Brittany Graham, Sustainability Coordinator for North Central College.

On campus, fresh vegetables are grown in the garden and used for food in the dining hall. Any scraps are then composted and made into soil, which is then again used in the garden, a loop system which applies to life as well.

“To be able to have a healthy mind, healthy body, a lot of that comes from our land, so you have to take care of the land to be able to have us as people also healthy, it’s all connected,” said Graham.

Naperville News 17’s Alyssa Bochenek reports.


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