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Improving Well-Being for All to Thrive: Wello 2023 Recap

All People. Thriving. No Exceptions. This mantra has acted as our north star in 2023 as we have expanded and deepened our commitment to collective well-being here at Wello. With the New Year on the horizon, we wanted to dedicate this column to celebrate, express gratitude, and set a bold vision for our future.  

Cultivating Community

Cultivating Community is Wello’s well-being based food system portfolio of work. This work is guided by two major tenants. One, we connect food to the community in ways that support physical, mental, social, and environmental well-being while addressing barriers and inequities. Two, our goal is to model how communities can prioritize local food at multiple, coordinated levels of the local and regional food system. 

This past year, Cultivating Community worked to create a food system that works for everyone. Wello provided 1,440 bags of local fruit, vegetables, eggs (and even some honey and syrup) to over 5,760 people to our neighbors served at Casa ALBA Melanie, We All Rise: African American Resource Center, COMSA, and Vivent Health made possible through an Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin (AHW) Endowment grant. We were also able to address hunger for our neighbors to our north in Peshtigo, Wisconsin by connecting local farmers' products with New Life Church food distribution efforts. 

It’s not only about addressing food insecurity, it’s also about strengthening a local, resilient supply chain by supporting our local farms. Seasonal Harvest, a farming hub, has worked with Wello to fulfill order, forecast, plan-plant-process for institutional markets like schools, and imagine ways in which we can address food needs locally. Through an AHW SEED grant, Wello worked with local Hmong farmers to build their capacity to grow for our food distribution efforts and sell into wholesale markets. 

There is a lot of momentum going into 2024 as we look to continue building a local and regional food system that takes care of our people and places in Northeast, Wisconsin.

Building Safe Community Conditions

Wello’s Yield to Your Neighbor Campaign is an initiative that uses storytelling, community engagement, and events to raise awareness around yielding: one simple action we can all take to make it easier and safer to move throughout our community. Yielding to our neighbors improves safety and reduces crashes so people of all ages and abilities are able to safely move throughout on bike, foot, or on wheels.

In 2023, there were three countywide crosswalk enforcement, aka “Frogger,” operations held in June, August, and October. Wello partnered with Ashwaubenon Public Safety, Brown County Sheriff’s Office, De Pere Police, Green Bay Police, Pulaski Police, and the Hobart/Lawrence Police. We added officer training on bike and pedestrian enforcement with We Bike, etc., an Ashwaubenon based bicycle and pedestrian safety consulting firm. As a result, three operations resulted in 254 warnings issued to drivers for failing to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk and 1,930 vehicles properly yielding. This was an 88% compliance rate which was up from 79% in 2022.  

New to the campaign in 2023 was a Bike Rodeo, a bicycle safety instruction event for children. Wello partnered with the Green Bay Bicycle Collective, BayCare Clinic Bikes, Green Bay Area Public Schools, Center for Childhood Safety, Green Bay Police, and Green Bay Metro Fire. The event offered bike safety instruction, bike helmets, and a meal all for free. The event drew approximately 200 people. 

Measuring What Matters

Wello conducted our third Community Health and Well-Being Survey in late summer of 2023. This anonymous survey asks residents how they feel about their physical health, mental health, social connections, and the other conditions that create well-being (neighborhood, education, employment, safety, etc.). And thank you for sharing YOUR voices! This year, we saw a 46% increase in the number of survey responses. Full results will be shared at the 5th annual Wello Well-Being Summit on Feb. 14, 2024.

We continue to build our measurement efforts to ensure the community is centered at each stage of the process. This led to the creation of the Community Measurement Team, a cross-sector team that will meet quarterly, with the goal of centering community voice in how we measure what matters, intentionally engage the community, and provide analysis that helps move data to action.

 

Co-Creating a Collective Well-Being Framework 

Let’s build something that lasts for generations! At Wello, this means rolling up our sleeves and showing up to strategically and intentionally work with all people to collectively build well-being in the places and spaces we all call home in Northeast, Wisconsin. And when things work, we think they should be shared. In 2023, we shared. You could find Wello advocating for well-being across the State of Wisconsin; in Montana as one of a handful of global leaders invited to participate in a cohort to support collective well-being across the United States by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; presenting at the American Public Health Association Conference in Atlanta; sharing what works for well-being with federal and national stakeholders, and serving as a speaker (multiple times) for the National League of Cities, most recently at their annual City Summit also in Atlanta.  

As we wrap-up 2023, we celebrate the things that went well and are grateful for the lessons learned when they didn’t. We thank our community partners for continuing to explore the possible and set forth a bold vision where all people can flourish, today and well into the future. Cheers to 2024! 

This story ran as our December Green Bay Press-Gazette column.

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