Welcome to WellCommons 2.0!

Since this community health website launched last April, we’ve watched how you use the site and listened to your requests to make a few nips, tucks and tweaks. But, today it received a complete makeover.

I am excited about it, and I hope you like it as much as I do.

The biggest change is that you can see what’s happening in the health community at a glance from the front page. If you see something of interest, just click on it.

We’ve also added a supergroup called Kiddos that focuses on children’s health. It joins:

Wellness.

NoTrauma — This is unintentional (auto crash) and intentional injury (physical abuse).

Nosurance — Uninsured and underinsured.

Locavores — Local food.

Wise — Older adults.

There are more than 100 groups that fall under these supergroups and more groups keep coming.

Like Facebook for local health

You can view any of the content on the website and comment if you have an account on LJWorld or WellCommons, but the fun starts once you start participating. That’s where what I call the “Facebook-like part” of the site comes in to play. You can follow groups or people. This is the activity that shows up in your own personal “activity timeline.”

I follow every group and lots of people because I don’t want to miss out on anything. But, if you want to know what’s going on just with local foods, join Locavores and Wellness and some groups under them like LiveWell Lawrence, The Merc, and Farmers Markets.

You also can start your own group!

You can view the groups by clicking on “all groups” in the upper left-hand corner. Among them is Lawrence Memorial Hospital, which has signed on for another year as a major sponsor of the site.

There also are buttons to view health-related events, resources, photos, videos and chats.

The best part of this website is that it is yours, too! You can post photos and information at anytime. For example:

• Photos of you and/or your friends completing a 5K, planting a garden, or traveling down a neat bicycle trail.

• Information about an upcoming fundraiser or event.

• Information about neat projects happening here or some that you find elsewhere and would like to see in Douglas County.

• Share your personal story, whether it’s dealing with cancer, being uninsured or struggling with weight. You are not alone, and this is where the real value of the website comes in to play.

I really liked how Marilyn Hull, of LiveWell Lawrence, explained the importance of community support during a recent interview:

“We can have all of the facilities and resources in the world, but if people don’t feel encouraged and supported and if they aren’t having fun with whatever it is, it is not going to become a permanent part of their life.

“A lot of it is building relationships and social support so it becomes more of an identity — this is who we are, a community that really believes in wellness. It’s easy for us to connect with others who feel the same way.”

Healthy fun — share your goals

And with that, we would like you to share your personal or community health goal for 2011 on WellCommons by posting it in the comment section of this story.

The contest lasts a week.

Next week, we’ll choose five people to win $10 Give Back gift cards. More importantly, we can rally around each other to become healthier, happier people.

That’s what WellCommons is all about!

A few examples of how it’s working:

• In September, I became certified in Mental Health First Aid. After writing about my experiences on WellCommons, the classes started to fill up. I know Bert Nash Community Health Center’s goal is for every Douglas County resident to become certified. I hope those who become certified share their experiences, too.

• The West Junior High School gardeners started a group on WellCommons to chronicle their adventures and inform the community about markets and other events. The project was such a success — thanks to community support — that it is expanding to two elementary schools.

• Just Food, the Douglas County food program, is in financial crisis. It needs to raise $100,000 in about 60 days or it faces closure. During the past week, after Carolyn Ward posted information in the group Just Food, and I began alerting the community about the problem, people in the community donated $15,000! That’s a great start.

How cool would it be if residents had fundraisers for the pantry and posted the information under the Just Food group page on WellCommons? Or, maybe we could get 500 people to donate $20 or 1,000 people to donate $10 through an online drive? It always helps to post what the pantry means to you and the community. Some already have by commenting on the story.

When it comes to commenting, we like people to use their real names. It keeps the conversations, as we like to say, healthy.

Tagged: About WellCommons

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Jessica Schilling 6 years, 5 months ago

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