NEW RICHMOND -- In its first year, the Living Well Together initiative worked to be a proactive, collaborative platform to educate, discuss and combat difficult topics in today’s society through the use of symposiums, events and gatherings on an annual, or more frequent, basis.

“My hope is that we’re able to continue to demonstrate our commitment to the New Richmond community in aspects that include schools, businesses, public safety, and health/wellness, by collaboration and connection,” said LWT committee member and St. Croix County Sgt. Brandie Hart. “The New Richmond Area Living Well Together initiative came together because of our pride in and commitment to the area which we live, work and serve, and as a small step in helping connect our friends and neighbors with information, education, resources, and more importantly, with each other.

“I hope our community is proud that they live in an area where entities care about each other and work harder together to be better together.”

In its second year, Living Well Together is starting to garner national attention in the form of an article published in the winter edition of the Journal Of School Safety, the National Association of School Resource Officers magazine. The Living Well Together committee — made up of Hart, New Richmond Police Chief Craig Yehlik, business leader Marie Gremore, New Richmond Community Foundation representative Mary Hailey, Westfield Hospital & Clinic Foundation Director JoAnn Wrich and School District of New Richmond Superintendent Patrick Olson — crafted an article and submit photos for the publication, which is distributed quarterly to more than 8,500 NASRO members worldwide.

“Our focus was to explain how LWT came to be and to articulate what we’ve helped bring to the community as a result of our motto, ‘An educated community is a well community.’ I don’t think the LWT group completely realized the impact we’ve had in the short period of time since our inception,” Hart said. “When we sat down to collaborate on this article and hammered out a list of things we’d helped facilitate, it was like, ‘Wow. We are making a difference.'”

The “Journal Of School Safety” is an educational publication that shares innovations and best practices for making the world’s students and schools safer. The publication is distributed quarterly to more than 8,500 NASRO members worldwide. Submitted photo
The “Journal Of School Safety” is an educational publication that shares innovations and best practices for making the world’s students and schools safer. The publication is distributed quarterly to more than 8,500 NASRO members worldwide. Submitted photo

The opportunity to submit an article came about after Olson was introduced to NASRO Director of Operations Mac Hardy and the two got to talking about the Living Well Together initiative. In July, Olson was contacted by Wayne Smith from NASRO as they were interested in featuring LWT in the winter edition of the journal. As an educational publication, the journal’s staff share innovations and best practices for making the world’s students and schools safer.

“As someone who’s spent the last 21 years in public safety, I’ve seen some awful aspects of our community,” Hart said. “I’m honored to be a part of an initiative that focuses on the strengths, rather than the weaknesses of our community, to reinforce the bonds we have with one another. I’m proud of and thankful for our state and local officials who, regardless of their political views, have rolled up their sleeves, joined our efforts, and continue to support the work that LWT is doing.”

The Living Well Together committee is currently working with the Family Safety Night committee to organize the next Family Safety Night event, which have included several different speakers as well as the “Make It OK” campaign.

“LWT is also really excited to support community projects being cultivated through the New Richmond Area Community Foundation’s Leadership Trust Initiative (LTI), Growing Through Grief (Westfields Hospital Foundation and School District of New Richmond), and a community walk hosted by the NRHS Student Leadership Team,” Hart said.

To read the article in full, visit mydigitalpublication.com/publication?i=631055 and go to page page 37.