Dané Standish didn’t intend to pursue community health. She was just advised to take a few courses in it while waiting to get into nursing classes at Central Washington University.
“My first class I absolutely fell in love with it,” she said.
Standish said she loves how health has many facets that interact with each other.
“That’s what I believe in, that it’s not just the physical health. There’s so much that goes into being healthy,” she said.
Standish is the new community obesity prevention coordinator for the Let’s Move Cheney coalition, a group launched in 2010 by the Cheney Parks and Recreation Department to promote healthy and active lifestyles in the community.
The coalition, funded mostly by grants and advanced by the work of volunteers, has gone through some changes in the past year. In 2012 it approved a five-year strategic plan that created committees focused on specific aspects like partnerships, community outreach, fundraising and events. It also facilitated free community activity groups, including a walking club, running club and senior fitness class. These groups are now mostly self-run, Parks and Recreation director Paul Simmons said.
“That’s the idea, to create these programs that are self-sustaining in the community,” he said.
The coalition has been doing well, but Simmons said he hoped to take on a smaller role as Standish takes over.
“I’m not a community health professional,” he said. “My training is in recreation, so this is more Dane’’s area.”
Standish graduated from Eastern Washington University with a community health degree in 2011. As a student, she worked as a peer adviser in the EWU Health and Wellness Department. She worked on health and nutrition programs and fundraising. She also worked as an intern coordinating events for the Spokane Regional Health District, one of Let’s Move Cheney’s major partners. After graduation, Standish worked as a trainer and later a manager at Cheney’s SNAP Fitness. For the past few months she volunteered with the coalition as a representative of SNAP, and when she heard about the open position, she applied and got the job.
While her professional experience has helped prepare her to manage the coalition’s projects, Standish said her experience at SNAP was invaluable as she enters the Let’s Move Cheney position.
“I got to know a lot of people through training,” she said. “It positioned me really well to know the community and get a sense of the needs.”
As she gets settled into the job, Standish said she’s focused on maintaining Let’s Move Cheney’s current path and launching a couple of new projects in the near future. She will also be facilitating a survey of Cheney residents to get more specific health data for the city.
Standish said she hopes to draw more new people into the coalition, either as program participants or volunteers.
Let’s Move Cheney meets monthly at the Wren Pierson Community Center. The coalition’s next meeting is Nov. 7 at 4 p.m. For more information visit www.letsmovecheney.org.
Becky Thomas can be reached at email@example.com.