Brunswick Wellness Coalition (BWC) hasstarted its first community program, a four-week walking challenge for congregantsof Ocean View United Methodist Church on Oak Island. The Bethlehem WalkingChallenge gives church members the opportunity to walk a collective 6,160miles.

“It’s the distance from Oak Island toBethlehem, commemorating the journey Joseph and Mary made more than 2,000 yearsago,” Dr. Scott Starks, Brunswick Wellness Coalition chairman, says.

“One hundred congregants are participatingand will track their miles on a weekly log for four weeks during the Adventseason,” B.J. Ellender, wellness chair, Ocean View Oak Island United MethodistChurch, says. “Those who submit their log sheets for all four weeks have achance to win a gift card from Omega Sports in Wilmington.”

BWC also announced the hiring of LindsayMaher as executive director. She joined the Coalition from Coastal CarolinasHealth Alliance where she worked the past four years. Maher has worked in thehealth industry for 10 years and earned a Master of Public Administrationdegree with a concentration in health policy and nonprofit management from Universityof North Carolina Wilmington.

Maher wrote the application for BWC to TheDuke Endowment’s Healthy People Healthy Carolinas initiative for a $450,000grant which was announced earlier this year.

Since the founding of the Coalition by four members—Dosher Memorial Hospital, Brunswick County Health Department, New Hope Clinic, and YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina—BWC has doubled in size. New members are New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Brunswick County Cooperative Extension, CommWell Health, and Brunswick Senior Resources, Inc.

“These partners will help us streamline andexpand health education and screening services across Brunswick County,” Mahersays. “We’re looking for more community groups to host a wellness program whichcan be anything from healthy eating to aerobic classes.”

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