We are pleased to share that Grace Place is now a certified Blue Zones Project approved worksite. Blue Zones Project is a community-wide, well-being improvement initiative to help make healthy choices easier for everyone in Southwest Florida. The global movement offers solutions for worksites to inspire and encourage employees to lead more active lives and live longer with lower rates of chronic disease. “The Blue Zones Project worksite initiative was a natural fit for the organization. We are a close team here at Grace Place and we have always valued the holistic wellbeing of each member. We all worked together for this recognition and remain committed to a healthy workplace and community,” said Dr. Tim Ferguson, CEO. To earn the Blue Zones Project worksite designation, Grace Place needed to formalize policies for practices that have been in existence for quite some time.

It’s not just healthier choices during lunch meetings. Tom Powers, our Director of School Age Programs, takes it a step further and leads by example. “If weather permits, I ride my bicycle to and from work,” said Tom.  “We also encourage walking meetings and once a week we walk together a few blocks for about 15 to 30 minutes and get some fresh air.” Aside from the cardiovascular benefits of walking a few times a week, walking meetings also ignite team interactions and helps generate solutions.

The “health bug” has even spread to our students. Twice a week, you can see students in our Bright Beginnings program running around our campus and doing jumping jacks at our basketball court. Tara Barrett, our Adult Education Program Manager, started integrating exercise sessions into the Bright Beginnings curriculum. The moms have now taken the reins and conduct workout classes themselves!

A healthier employee costs less, too. When employees feel better and more connected to their colleagues, they miss less work, make greater contributions, and have lower healthcare costs. All around this recognition is a win-win.