HEAL NH projects now in 65 towns and cities in New Hampshire (8/6/13)

For Immediate Release

For More Information:

Michelle Morel, President

Morel Communications

(207) 329-6767



Projects in over 65 towns and cities in New Hampshire
build community, promote health


CONCORD, NH (Aug. 6, 2013) – It is no surprise to HEAL NH (Healthy Eating Active Living) and its statewide coalitions that residents want more healthy choices in their communities, such as safer ways to walk and bike, community gardens, or healthier menu items.


What is remarkable is how many New Hampshire residents and different types of businesses have rallied around these efforts and the stronger sense of community that has resulted, particularly in economically challenged communities.


Since it began more than four years ago, 65 communities are now involved in the HEAL NH movement, and each has an amazing story about the positive impacts these projects have had on residents. For instance, at a recent celebration for Upper Valley HEAL in the Greater Lebanon area, attendees were moved to tears when Tricia Minard, the childcare program director at Green Mountain Children’s Center, explained the dramatic impact that HEAL-related programs, Early Sprouts and NAP SACC, continues to have on a five-year-old girl from White River Junction.


“When Jessica first came here, she was severely obese, wouldn’t look in the mirror, and always referred to herself in the third person,” said Minard. “Over the past year, Jessica has lost about eight pounds and now rides bikes and runs around the playground with the other children. She sees herself in a different way – she now calls herself by her name and can look in the mirror and smile.”


Residents in Ashland, Berlin, Laconia and Nashua – the four newest NH communities that joined the HEAL movement about a year ago – are already beginning to see their vision of a ‘healthier community’ come to life. Close to 100 residents in the Tree Streets neighborhood of Nashua are using a new community garden, including neighbors living along the Heritage Rail Trail, members of the PLUS company, women and children from Marguerite’s Place Inc. and the Front Door Agency, and children from the Police Athletic League program. The new mural painted by Manny Ramirez of Positive Street Art along the Heritage Rail Trail is attracting more people to this section of the trail that includes the PAL garden.


Nashua Police Athletic League (PAL) director, Shaun Nelson, who has worked with the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services on the community garden and Heritage Rail Trail project said, “With all the clean-up efforts and the mural from Positive Street Art, people are on the trail more and using the garden. There also seems to be more of a sense of community; residents are stopping and having a conversation with their neighbors.”


Ashland, a town of about 2,000 people, is also planning a community garden and trail improvements. In the meantime, residents are now implementing a healthy menu labeling program, and two restaurants – The Common Man and Dot’s Bread & Butter – have already stepped up to participate. According to Jason Lyon, CEO of the Common Man Family, “The Common Man family is proud to not only support, but also to partner with HEAL in efforts to bring health-conscious options and practices to the Ashland Community.”


About HEAL NH: The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH campaign began in 2008 and is led by the Foundation for Healthy Communities, a non-profit New Hampshire organization focused on improving health and health care through innovative partnerships. HEAL is supported by a collaboration of foundations and state agencies committed to promoting health and wellbeing for all New Hampshire residents. Funding is provided by HNH Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Endowment for Health, NH Charitable Foundation, and NH Department of Health and Human Services. More information about the HEAL NH Campaign can be found at www.healnh.org.


For more information or to schedule an interview with HEAL NH or its partners, including Beverly Doolan, coordinator of the Nashua HEAL project, Tricia Minard of Green Mountain Children’s Center, Jason Lyon of the Common Man Family, please contact:


Michelle Morel, President

Morel Communications

michelle@morelcommunications.com | (207) 329-6767