Health, Ed Town Hall Set for Oct. 14 in Umatilla

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A broad spectrum of community leaders from Umatilla and Morrow counties are coming together for the Umatilla Learning Connection Town Hall to talk about improving local health, wellness and education.

This event is supported by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and is only the second town hall of its kind in Oregon. The Town Hall is on Friday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Umatilla High School.

Based on the premise that healthy kids are better learners, this meeting will focus on strengthening local networks, stimulating action and engaging the community in supporting the link between health and education. Participants will include elected officials, superintendents, teachers, city staff, health system administrators, business leaders and local farmers.

“I think every one of us wants to help improve our schools and neighborhoods, our families and ourselves – but we aren’t quite sure where to start,” said Heidi Sipe, superintendent of the Umatilla School District. “This is an opportunity to actually step up and make a positive difference collectively, for our community and by our community.”

The Learning Connection Town Hall presentations and discussion will cover relevant research, success stories, identified needs, and best practices for school wellness, nutrition and physical activity. Participants will be asked to join the effort by committing to school wellness with time and resources in the next school year and beyond.

This event was originally prompted by the involvement of registered dietitian nutritionists from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. Just over a year ago, the Council organized the first such town hall gathering in Tillamook. It led to the Tillamook County Commission declaring 2016 the “Year of Wellness,” yielding positive changes in individuals, businesses, schools and organizations. Following that success, Umatilla was selected as a community with promise for significant results.

In addition to the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, the Umatilla Learning Connection Town Hall is supported by the Umatilla School District, Umatilla County, OSU Extension SNAP-Ed, InterMountain ESD, Good Shepherd Health Care System, Umatilla-Morrow Head Start, Oregon Department of Education (ODE) Child Nutrition Program and ODE Office of Teaching and Learning.

There is no cost to attend the Umatilla Learning Connection Town Hall, but space is limited and you must RSVP to Angie Treadwell by Oct. 7 at angie.treadwell@oregonstate.edu or 541-567-8321. Lunch will be provided at the event. For more information, contact Rikkilynn Larsen at larsenr@umatillasd.