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Efforts by the Vicksburg Live Healthy Action Team have already made a big difference

It is not very often Vicksburg finds itself a finalist for a national award.

That’s what makes the selection of the city as one of 11 finalists in the nation for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize a milestone for the city and its efforts to improve the quality of life of its citizens.

The nation’s largest philanthropic organization dedicated to health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s goal is to help raise the health of everyone in the United States to the level the nation deserves, by placing well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

Its award honors communities that are able to combine programs that not only encourage health and wellness but the community’s overall quality of life, including education and opportunities for low income residents and youth.

And the package prepared and sent by the Vicksburg Live Healthy Action Team of Linda Fondren, Michele Connelly, Marcia Weaver and Jane Flowers does a very good job presenting the city’s programs for recreation, improving public education and providing employment and quality of life programs for disadvantaged youth.

The team’s members deserve a lot of credit for their efforts in researching, compiling and preparing the presentation that went to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. But as Linda Fondren said, “The cultural health prize is not just about one person. It’s not about one program going on, it’s about what the entire city and county are doing to address health issues in our community.”

“It’s not something we did, other than just advocate for all the wonderful things that are happening here in Vicksburg,” Connelly added. “We were the vehicle of sharing the accomplishments of our entire community.”

The second part of the process to determine a winner will come in April or May, when a team from the foundation visits Vicksburg to see for themselves what we’ve done. And winning the award brings our city national recognition and will attract people from other cities to Vicksburg to see what we’ve done,

But whether we win the award, the actions of the Vicksburg Live Healthy Action Team have already brought the city much deserved recognition, and will serve as a base for the members to continue working and pushing to improve our quality of life, and that’s something we all need to get behind.

It is, as the members have pointed out, a team effort.