five healthy towns

Photo credit: jeltovski from

When Chelsea Community Hospital merged with Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, part of the merge deal included funding for a new, independent non-profit foundation focused on developing and supporting healthy communities.

That’s how the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation was started. The goal of the Foundation is to encourage a ‘culture of wellness’ in Manchester, Dexter, Grass Lake, Stockbridge and Chelsea. The Foundation offers support, tools and funding for existing programs (like the Healthy Communities Walking Program, which is already popular with Manchester residents) as well as brand new programs related to one of the Foundation’s 4 goals: Eat Better, Move More, Connect with Others in Healthy Ways, and Avoid Unhealthy Substances.

In order to take advantage of this opportunity, a group of volunteers have created the Manchester Wellness Coalition. The Coalition meets once a month, and four smaller sub-committees also meet regularly to develop more specific wellness initiatives. The library is represented on the Healthy Connections with Others committee and is working on a Community Read project for this summer that ties in with the Wellness Coalition’s goals.

You can read more about the Coalition and current master plan in the MWC Booklet – available here in PDF format. If you’d like to help evaluate the programs that have been suggested, or recommend new areas for development, please fill out and return the survey on the last page of the booklet. The Coalition would like to receive feedback from the community so that its plan targets the areas of most interest.

If you’d like to help with the Community Read program, please email me at This year’s Community Read book and events will be chosen to support the “Eat Better” goal of the Coalition, so all sorts of food-related classes, presentations, and events would be considered. The library will need volunteers to help plan, prepare for, and carry out those events in the fall. Your input would be welcome to help make the Read and its programs a successful, community-wide event.


About Heather Sturm

Director at Manchester District Library
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