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Be a Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself

The portrait of health is forever changing. Remember the food pyramid? I remember the $10,000 Pyramid, so fun! Remember the “Chicken Fat,” song?  Times, they are a changin.  Where does mental health fit in when determining our total health? Will I live longer if I get along with my neighbors? What impact do community events have on our well-being?  Does our participation or lack of, in these events shape us?

I grew up in a small town. I was so lucky to grow up in a neighborhood chock full of kids my age. Oh, how annoying all of us must have been! We had a park right in our neighborhood, and enough kids to field two softball teams. There was sledding in the winter, and a public pool to swim in during the summer. My childhood was full of ice skating, softball, whiffle ball, bike riding, horseback riding and the occasional spin the bottle! My first kiss! Oh, and I must give honorable mentions to kick the can and Manhunt. My family was poor, but I never noticed it. My focus wasn’t on what I didn’t have, it was on what I did have, my friends and fun.

Even though we didn’t have much money, I was able to do pretty much anything my friends could do. My parents spent what little money they had on my enrichment.  I took baton lessons, yes this was really a thing. I took electric piano lessons, (I thought I might be the female version of Elton John). I took horseback riding lessons without ever being able to afford those cool boots. I played softball. I had a pool pass. I played clarinet. I went to Awana Club (a religious organization that focuses on kids,) where I ran and played volleyball. Major shock action here because my parents were not religious, at all. These activities exposed me to my community and all that it offered.

There is remarkable evidence that our communities do in deed affect our health. A curious Dr. Wolf asked the town members of Roseto if they would participate in a study. You see, he was amazed by how heart healthy this town was. The residents smoked unfiltered stogies, drank wine with gusto, skipped the Mediterranean diet and instead savored meatballs and sausages fried in lard with hard and soft cheeses. The men worked in the slate quarries where they contracted illnesses from gases and dust. Roseto also had no crime, and very few applications for public assistance.

The Roseto effect is the phenomenon by which a close-knit community experiences a reduced rate of heart disease. By now you can surely see why this peaked my interest. Yes, my good people! They drank wine!! Dr. Wolf attributed Rosetans’ lower heart disease rate to lower stress. He observed that the community was very cohesive. There was no keeping up with the Joneses. Elders were revered and incorporated into community life. Housewives were respected, and fathers ran the families.

In my own life, I find my community to be a refuge. As a young insecure parent, I was asked to volunteer at my daughter’s school’s first computer lab. I would insert a floppy disk, hit the power button and then wait 15 minutes for the computer to come on, craazzaayy! I’ve met some of my oldest and dearest friends through volunteering in my community. When life deals me shenanigans, I know I have the love and support of my community to get me by.

This feeling of community that I experienced at the Super Hero Shuffle 5k is what inspired me to produce the 5k wine label. These community running events are so special and so vital to the charities that they support. Sponsoring events allows me to connect with the participants, share in their achievement, support a great cause, and I get to pour wine!! It’s a beautiful thing 😊

Be a Part of Something Bigger Than Yourself.

Check out the story of Roseto using the link below.

https://youtu.be/Q7M3vFmysU8

 

Being Grapeful,

Dawn P.