By Lilia Bowman-Bekemeyer
Rise Cowley is a coalition put together in Cowley County that started in 2001 but evolved mostly in 2017 to Rise Cowley, which focuses on the community’s health. They take in applications for grants, where they focus on helping people eat healthier, become more active, and avoid tobacco use.
Candace Bradford-Stephens, the secretary/treasurer, said they have the Smoking Sensation, and they help women who are breastfeeding. They also got a grant and rebuilt the Lion Park in Winfield, and they are working on building a park at the Rec Center. They have blessings boxes around the county with food, clothing and diapers. Rise Cowley is currently working towards getting a grant of $400-$500 thousand to better the community. Bradford-Stephens said she works with the coalition to bring fresh farm foods, like meat, vegetables and dairy, to Cowley’s communities.
Kerri Falletti, the vice-chairperson, said they received a grant in 2017, and they worked on businesses and restaurants to help them have healthier options for people of the community. They had a dietician work with the community’s restaurants that would help them update their menu to something healthier. Falletti said they are working on hiking trails so people can be more active.
Falletti said Rise Cowley is currently working on Resist Chapters, where they talk with kids in school on never starting smoking cigarettes because they are trying to show children it is unhealthy from an early age.
Southwestern College has the Hoodoo Loop Trail, which is between the city and the college, and a group in the community got a trailer where they keep the trail clean. Rise Cowley helped put together the maintenance for that trail.
Becky Reid, Pathways grant coordinator, has been a coalition member since 2010. She loves working with all of the projects that Rise Cowley works on. Rise Cowley has received a large grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield, where they help the community with physical activity and healthy eating and of course, they focus on no tobacco use. Rise Cowley is currently in between two grants, where they started phase one of the Blue Cross Blue Shield grant, and now they are in phase two but are currently having meetings where they discuss what exactly they want to do with the grant money.