LCF Community Grants Announced: Spotlight on 9Health Fair
By Kristen Bruckner
The Lyons Community Foundation celebrated the recipients of the 2014 Community Grant Awards during its annual gala last week. The event showcased the 24 separate projects totaling almost $50,000 funded through the LCF’s annual Community Grants cycle. The focused grants support specific endeavors that enhance the quality of life in and around Lyons. These include a variety of groups such as the Lyons Food pantry and assistance to seniors, public art and music, enrichment and academic support in Lyons schools, and support for volunteer groups working to make a difference. For a complete description of these and other projects, visit www.lyonscf.org/community-support.
A major success story for LCF funded programs over the last five years is the 9Health Fair. Supported in part by an LCF Community Support grant, this event serves to provide free and low cost medical screenings and for an average of 450 residents each year. The 9Health Fair is part of a state-wide program that has been held around Colorado for the past 25 years and whose sole mission is promoting health awareness and encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own healthcare. The one-day fair offers important tests and medical evaluations for area residents who otherwise might not have access to these potentially life-saving services. Free and low cost evaluations include basic blood chemistry screenings, nutrition screenings, skin-cancer checks, vision and eye health, cervical and prostate screenings, hearing and oral health. There is also a huge educational component, with attendees learning about nutrition, disease prevention and mental health services.
The 9Health fair has been held in Lyons since 2009 and operates on a surprisingly low overhead, thanks largely to the work of over 100 medical and non-medical volunteers. The LCF grant of $1900 goes towards administrative and overhead expenses, as a vast majority of the costs are donated by members of the local community. Kim Mitchell has recently taken the reigns as the site coordinator for the 2015 fair. She oversees the entire event from grant writing, facility scheduling and layout, set up and conducting organizational meetings. Sue Wratten is the medical coordinator, and Pam Browning will coordinate non-medical volunteers for this year’s event. Other residents such as Dawn Weller, Lora Gilson, Amy Munson, and Edward Kean also play big roles in the production and coordination of this huge community effort. All told, an estimated 600 hours go into the planning and execution of the Lyons fair.
There have been many stories of residents who have had potentially life-changing results due to the screenings provided. Former site coordinator Jonelle Tucker has a personal story of the value of the Health Fair. “During a routine skin check, they discovered a cancerous growth that I had operated on and removed. The outcome was a success due to the availability of this simple exam. I know there are countless more of these stories for residents who have been able to address health concerns that might otherwise have gone unchecked”. The yearly blood screenings are able to provide a consistent record on results such as blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. For people going without routine medical care, this is an invaluable service that can augment what someone might be able to seek with a regular medical provider.
The 2015 9Health Fair will be held on April 18th at Lyons High School. For more information on the health fair go to www.9healthfair.org, or to become involved locally, contact Kim Mitchell, Site Coordinator for Lyons at PO box 1104 Lyons, CO 80540 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to celebrating the Community Grant recipients, the LCF Gala is a major fundraiser for the Lyons Community Foundation. The annual event provides a jump start for funding projects in 2015. This year’s event raised an estimated $32,000; however, there is still a huge need to raise funds. Emily Dusel, Executive Director for the LCF acknowledges, “while we are proud to support so many worthwhile projects, we have lots of unmet need. We receive roughly double the amount of funding requests than we are able to award every year. The population of Lyons since the flood is still struggling, with an estimated 15% living in poverty. LCF will continue to support flood relief and rebuilding efforts, but is also focused on the ability of Lyons to thrive in the long term. Donations to the foundation allow for planning and sustainability of our efforts in the months and years to come”.
The Lyons Community Foundation exists to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving, and encourage positive change in the greater Lyons area. The LCF is gratefully accepting year-end tax deductible contributions that may be applied to Community Support Grants, Flood Relief/Rebuild Lyons, or scholarships. For more information or to make a donation please visit www.lyonscf.org or call 720.29LYONS.
Kristen Bruckner is the communications specialist for the Lyons Community Foundation. She lives in Lyons with her husband and three children.