Well Connected Communities

Well Connected Communities
4-H emblem
4-H emblem

Master Health Voluteer virtual training
is starting June 5th!
Register Now!

Nebraska Extension is implementing Well Connected Communities — which is aimed at cultivating wellness across the country — to Lancaster and Thurston counties in Nebraska. Well Connected Communities is in partnership with the National 4-H Council and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Lancaster County contacts: Extension Educators Emily Gratopp at emily.gratopp@unl.edu or Tracy Anderson at tracy.anderson@unl.edu or 402-441-7180.

Thurston County contacts: Extension Educators Carol Larvick at clarvick1@unl.edu or Jennifer Hansen at jhansen6@unl.edu or 402-385-6041.

Pure Nebraska Video

About the Program in Nebraska

Reducing Health Disparities

A main tenant of the project is the belief that everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being. This project empowers communities to come together to reduce health disparities that exist and give every community member a chance to live a healthy life. There are two main components of Well Connected Communities:

  • Building health coalitions with youth and adults members.
  • Training youth and adult volunteers to bring wellness into the community.

Health Coalitions

An effort of Well Connected Communities is to create time and space for youth ages 13–18 and adults to work together on health coalitions aimed at taking action to create a culture of health and wellness in the community. Current health coalitions that are interested in having youth involvement in their coalition or youth ages 13–18 that have an interest in health are being sought to move this effort forward to create healthier communities.

Master Health Volunteers

The second component of Well Connected Communities is training volunteers in the areas of health and wellness. After the training, volunteers become certified “Master Health Volunteers” and “Junior Master Health Volunteers” for youth. Volunteers receive 40 hours of training and then are asked to give-back 40 hours to their community. The training consists of education in areas of basic nutrition, physical activity and chronic diseases, as well as health behavior change theories, social determinants of health, trauma-informed care and many more topics to inform community health.

The 40 hours of give-back will vary based on volunteer preference, community opportunities and alignment with Nebraska Extension’s values. The give-back can align with current volunteer duties and even duties relevant to a person’s work or career. Volunteers help create small shifts toward health by infusing wellness into their collective action and, therefore, into our communities.

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Upcoming Trainings in Lancaster County
  • Master Health Volunteer virtual training is beginning June 5th. Classes will be held via ZOOM on Fridays from 8:00-10:00 AM from June 5th to August 28th. Please register Here. Adults or youth ages 13–18 may participate in the training series even though it was already started. Part of the training will focus on healthy and safe food pantry policies and practices.
  • Additional Volunteer trainings will occur in the future and can be arranged for specific groups.
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Upcoming Trainings in Thurston County
  • Volunteer trainings will occur in the future and can be arranged for specific groups.