Back in Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission (UERPC) March 2019 Newsletter, we shared with you an article about Jes Wegner, Gundersen Lutheran Community Health Coordinator.
Jes was named the 2019 Healthiest State Individual Award Winner for her tireless work to improve walkability and the overall health of West Union and its residents. As an award winner, she received a $1,000 cash prize to further her efforts to make the healthy choice the easy choice for youth in West Union.
Back in March, Jes was still deciding how to spend her cash prize of $1,000. Since her project would directly benefit youth in town, she decided to go straight to the source for ideas and visit with students in West Union’s afterschool program, Tigerhawk Connections Learning Center.
Based on the input she received from students and discussions with community stakeholders, Jes decided her funding should support a S.M.A.R.T. Room at West Union Elementary. Equipment including a balance rope, activity walk floor decals and hurdles were purchased for the new classroom space.
The S.M.A.R.T. Room creates a multi-sensory approach to learning through fun physical activities for students aimed at developing and enhancing large and fine motor skills, balance and coordination, visual efficiency, eye-hand coordination, attention and much more all with the goal to help kids be ready for school and prepare to become life-long learners.
Jes partners with UERPC on many health-related initiatives, including the West Union Walking School Bus and 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count campaign. We are energized by her passion and drive to make West Union the best community it can be, and we thought that nominating Jes for this influential award would be the best ‘thank you’ card we could give her. And we are not one bit surprised that the Healthiest State Initiative felt the same way. Your inspiration is contagious, Jes!