A Workplace Wellness Success Story: Oregon Medical Group

Conquer WellnessHere’s the deal; we spend A LOT of time at work. On a standard business day, the average American working adults spends about 8.8 hours at their workplace. That’s more than half of your waking hours! While that might be a little super depressing, if you look at it with a “glass half full” point of view, there’s a big time opportunity; to get healthy at work!

Since we spend so much time at work, workplace wellness has become more important than ever. For most of us, our post-work obligations trump things like exercise, preparing healthy meals, and stress management. But if you can use those 8.8 hours and incorporate healthy activites into your routine, you can make some big strides toward healthy living.

If you’re looking for an organization that has embraced this concept, our pals at Oregon Medical Group are a perfect example. Oregon Medical Group is a medical provider that has clinics throughout Eugene and Springfield (Oregon), and their motives for workplace wellness go beyond just having healthy employees. Since they’re caring for patients and asking them to make healthier lifestyle choices, they felt a responsibility to serve as an example in our community.

take-a-walking-breakWhat is Oregon Medical Group doing to promote healthy living among employees?

Oregon Medical Group’s primary focus is about as simple as it gets; they’re encouraging employees to walk more. Using pedometers and incentives for tracking their daily steps, they created a culture of competition, teamwork, and fun within the organization. The goal for a healthy adult is to take about 10,000 steps every day. While the primary focus of Oregon Medical Group’s wellness promotion is around walking, any steps can count. So if employees wear their pedometers for things like sports, Zumba, running, hiking, etc. they’ll increase their chances at earning incentives.

Is it working?

You bet it is! Their success stories are phenomenal, and their walking program has garnered some attention in the media. Eugene based newspaper, The Register Guard did a full profile of the program. Check out the article here: Good business moves: Companies help employees stay in motion to improve health.

We’re so thankful to have partners like Oregon Medical Group, and we were thrilled to see their walking program get the positive attention it deserves. Let’s hope their positive example spreads throughout Eugene/Springfield.

Keep on stepping, Oregon Medical Group!

Getting Kids Excited About Reading

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Photo by Jay Ryness. Accessed July 31, 2013. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jbird/

As any parent knows, when kids get excited about something, it consumes them. Think about all the crazy toys, clothes, and food you’ve purchased because your kid “had to have it.” While this obsessive nature of children can lead to some uphill battles for parents, it can also be a great ally. If we can get kids hyped about healthy activities, it can lead to some phenomenal outcomes.

Getting kids excited about reading might seem like an impossible task, but thanks to about a hundred and fifty volunteers and a program called “The Gift of Literacy,” it’s an annual tradition in Springfield, OR. Here’s how it works:

About 550 kids take a field trip to Lane Community College to experience The Gift of Literacy. The army of volunteers guide first grade students through their literacy adventure, including guest appearances from literary mascots like Curious George, Clifford, and Fancy Nancy.

We had a couple of our kind-hearted employees volunteer at the event, and they recalled their story. Here’s a recap from our very own, Katie:

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Here’s Katie with Curious George!

When the kids arrived, they all sat in a large, college auditorium. They met the founder of the program, were told a story, and made a promise to read a book every day for the entire summer. Afterwards, they received a backpack full of materials and their very own hard-back book, customized with their name.  After that, they broke the kids into smaller cohorts and went into reading rooms where they could enjoy hearing their books read for the first time out loud. Their journey ended with a sac-lunch accompanied by their friends and their new stories.

We went to show our support for the program, and were fortunate enough to sit through most of the journey with the kids. The organization and flow of the day was extremely impressive! One of my favorite parts of the experience was the look of anticipation on their faces just moments before they were told they could open their backpacks. The expressions of happiness and shouts of joy that followed the unveiling were priceless.

We couldn’t be more proud to support such a phenomenal program. Thanks to all the volunteers, Team Springfield, and Lane Community College, and of course, Gift of Literacy for making it happen. Here’s a quick video that gives a sneak peak at The Gift of Literacy.

A $5 Million Idea? Vote for Springfield, OR!

Huffington Post Screen ShotThe Huffington Post wants to reward innovative cities who are trying to change our country for the better. To back it up, they’re putting their money where their mouth is and offering a grand prize of $5 million. They’ve picked 20 cities as finalists, and now, we get to vote for our favorite. Check out the promotion here: Mayors Challenge

Here’s the deal, I’m definitely biased on this one. I live in Springfield, OR, and I’m down right inspired by my city’s idea to improve healthcare. In a nutshell, Springfield has the idea to create a mobile healthcare system complete with a 24 hour nurse call center (for over the phone, self-treatment ideas), doctors on Skype, and nurse home visits. It skips the ER, provides better care, and it’s a much cheaper option than ambulances and hospital visits. It’s a big idea, but with $5 million in seed money, the City of Springfield could actually make this happen. Here’s a short video that lays it out:

You can check out all of the inspiring ideas above, and make sure to vote for Springfield by clicking here.

Awesome promotion, and kudos to the 20 cities that are among the finalists. These are some truly inspiring ideas, and I can’t wait to see who wins.

Voting ends on March 6, so get your vote in today!