Cambridge neighborhood celebrates healthy living

When Vanessa Hanzel received an Allina Neighborhood Health Connection grant for $500 from Cambridge Medical Center, her family, as well as other families in her neighborhood, began making healthier choices. in_Grant2

The purpose of the grant was to use the information and resources provided by Allina to make sustainable changes. The changes had to be convenient, easy and quick. The families who participated ate more fruits and vegetables. Adults played with their children instead of sitting nearby and watching. They also met daily to walk or ride their bicycles.

“Every family participating has kids and we all are benefiting from making healthy lifestyle changes together,” Hanzel said. “As our families become more active and make healthy food choices it benefits our whole neighborhood.  We are able to support one another in these efforts and it is our goal to make changes that last. We are very focused on making these changes now so our children have good health and develop health habits for a lifetime.”

At the end of six weeks, the families rewarded themselves for their efforts by having a healthy potluck, followed by fun backyard games at Hanzel’s home in Cambridge. in_Grant1

“Research shows that neighbors who do things together are healthier and happier,” said Nicki Klanderud, Manager of Community Engagement with Cambridge Medical Center, Allina Health. “That’s what Neighborhood Health Connection is all about — giving people the tools to create informal neighborhood groups and offering those groups fun and creative ways to make themselves and their communities healthier.”

Klanderud encourages other neighborhoods to get involved with the Neighborhood Health Connection.

“This neighborhood program is one of nine activities that were chosen through a competitive application process that was open to groups of neighbors who want to start or strengthen a neighborhood program, and community organizations, such as non-profits and businesses,” Klanderud said. “The grants totally over $22,000 support group activities that promote social connections and increase healthy behaviors.”

If other neighborhoods are interested in learning more about the Neighborhood Health Connection, contact Nicki Klanderud at 763-688-7913 or [email protected], or visit