BESSEMER CITY, N.C. - It’s all about getting healthy.
It’s “Healthy Gaston,” an initiative of the Gaston Together Health Care Commission, and it’s a process to help businesses, schools and churches create a culture of wellness for their employees. According to Gaston Together Executive Director Donna Lockett, since its launch in 2015, 36 organizations have joined in this process that touches more than 13,000 lives in Gaston County. The “Healthy Gaston” process walks organizations through guidelines to help them organize, plan action strategy, analyze that strategy and celebrate wellness success. Based on levels of the “Healthy Gaston” criteria, organizations earn a bronze, silver or gold level of recognition.
And Bessemer City, the “city with a heart,” has qualified for the “Healthy Gaston” silver level through hard work and a citywide focus on health and wellness. Bessemer City municipal government employees have embraced this idea and shown folks how successful even a smaller organization can be. With 53 employees, the City of Bessemer City promotes a healthy quality of life in the office and around town.
They began their “Healthy Gaston” journey in 2017, with the endorsement of both City Manager James Inman and Mayor Becky Smith. Hydeia Hayes was named the “wellness champion.” And with Hayes’s enthusiasm, Bessemer City surveyed its employees and began its wellness programming. They quickly achieved their bronze level of recognition in just six short months.
Through careful strategic planning, Bessemer City has implemented four main focus areas to help employees. This is comprised of eating more healthily; not using tobacco; taking part in physical activity; and taking part in preventive care. City employees held a health and wellness fair in October of last year that included dental, vision and chiropractic care as well as flu shots, healthy eating, tobacco education and skin care. They are currently making plans for another health fair this fall.
With regard to their tobacco policy, it should be noted that Bessemer City has the most comprehensive tobacco-free policy in the state of North Carolina. The community has proven to be a leader in this effort, as other municipalities have now jumped on board to follow their lead as smoke-free communities.
Bessemer City’s biggest employee wellness program to date is its “Bee Well Health and Wellness” process. The “Bee Well” program is designed to motivate employees to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. It is also meant to encourage good decision-making when it comes to overall wellness. This wellness program has helped many members of the city staff to kick-start their wellness journey. Staff members have reported weight losses of 12 to 51 pounds since the beginning of the “Bee Well” program, which is quite impressive.
The “city with a heart” is now the city with a heart of silver. Congratulations go out to Bessemer City on earning this “Healthy Gaston” silver level of recognition.
For more information on “Healthy Gaston” or to become a “Healthy Gaston” organization, contact Amy Boyd at Gaston Together by e-mail or telephone respectively at email@example.com or (704) 867-9869, ext. 110.
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