March 23, 2009
Graniterock is a Winner of the Annual Workwell Fit Business Award
Winners Recognized for their Commitment to the Health of their Employees and Monterey County Residents
Salinas—The Workwell Fit Business Awards were presented during an event honoring the awardees on Wednesday, March 11, 2009, and Graniterock was proud to be one of the recipients. The awards are intended to recognize businesses, agencies and non-profits, for their hard work resulting in policy and organizational change that will reduce the burden of obesity, asthma and diabetes in Monterey County. The event was co-sponsored by the Council for a Healthier Monterey County and Salinas Valley, North Monterey, Monterey Peninsula & Pacific Grove Chambers of Commerce.
“These amazing people have helped make our communities a better place through their commitment in addressing health issues at their worksites.” says Ken Feske, Co-Chair of the Council to a Healthier Monterey County. “No matter how big or small each of our awardees commitment to health is we must not lose sight of the impact they have made on Monterey County.”
Seventeen organizations were recognized for their efforts to make their work environments a healthy, active place.
“When worksites make a commitment to health, they help build stronger and healthier communities.” says Cheryl Ellemberg, Monterey County Health Department.
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes, are largely preventable through attention to healthy lifestyles and preventive services, cause 70 percent of all deaths each year and account for 75 percent of our $1.4 trillion annual healthcare costs.
Workwell Fit Business Award Winners
Graniterock has always held as part of its core values the importance of health and wellbeing of its employees. Programs include an ongoing health fitness program, asking staff to be physically active, have an annual physical, quit smoking, and participate in a 5K/10K race in the A.R. Wilson Quarry annually benefitting local schools. New in 2008 was the Individual Healthy Lifestyle Program called Healthy to the Power of Me program. Roughly 200 of its 852 employees participated in this first year. Results included: a total weight loss of 1,313.56 pounds; 10% decrease in HDL, 5% decrease in triglycerides; 5% decrease in Cholesterol/HDL level, diabetic glucose reduced by 4%; and body fat among obese males reduced by 10%.
Salinas Mobile Vendors Association is an association of 21 member businesses that provide food in a mobile format. They offer low-cost, quick and healthy food options at times and locations when alternatives are limited. SMVA members represent locally-owned, culturally appropriate and more nutritious alternatives to fast food chains. By working together, they have smokefree entryways, bilingual health materials, low-fat options, low or no calorie drinks and controlled portion sizes.
Taqueria Las Fuentes is located in Greenfield. Taqueria Las Fuentes brings healthful, low cost authentic Mexican food to southern Monterey County. The roasted marinated al pastor pork is shaved off the outside of the rotating cone called an Autodoner. With lean protein, fresh vegetables and a complex carbohydrate, these tacos are prepared in a delicious, healthful and authentic way.
El Molcajete Restaurant in Greenfield. They are proud to serve healthy dishes because they know it’s best for their customers. They promote healthy options with photo signage and table tents. They offer both whole wheat and corn tortillas, whole beans instead of fried and low or no calorie drinks.
Eva’s Café has been an institution in the Alisal district for more than 20 years, operated by Efrain Barrera. Chef Angelica Acosta does not cook with lard. She offers fresh squeezed juices, water and low calorie drinks. She uses whole beans, uses lean meats and offers fresh vegetable substitutions for rice. By offering “comidas hoy”, she offers fresh ingredients for a menu that changes everyday. Eva’s Café provides Salinas with delicious, healthful and authentic eats at affordable prices in a wholesome atmosphere.
Celebration by the Sea and Trio’s Café and Catering is in Salinas and has provided work environments that support healthy eating and physical activity. They provide free employee meals for every shift worked. They incorporate vegetables and salads into each meal and suggest walking during breaks. At staff meetings, stretching movements are incorporated. Employees are encouraged to ride a bike to work instead of driving. As a young company, Trios Café is showing promise to grow and evolve and they are serving as a model for how small steps make big difference.
Alisal Union School District won and award last year and continues to make progress. They also offer a catering service for parents with healthy lunch and dinner options for families-on-the-go. All district vending machines are 100% healthy. Wellness and fitness classes are provided to staff, many of whom in turn teach parents. Food services provide healthy classroom celebration parties for parents and staff. Beginning March 6, 2009, all students will be given a nutritional meal to take home and eat over the weekend. Teachers and staff are out on the playground with the children. This school continues to be a leader in offering a healthy school environment.
Mount Toro High School also won a Workwell award last year and has continued to create a healthy school environment. They encourage yearly participation in the Salinas Valley Memorial Exercise challenge to all of their employees. They participated in the Heart and Sole Race, encourage staff to walk during breaks to be more physically active during the workday. The school only provides low fat foods and water at all meetings. The vending machines offer healthy choices and the soda machines do not dispense soda! They worked with the Salinas Jaycees on March 7th for a run at Toro Park. This run funds programs to help prevent gang violence. The district also participates in a Wellcall program that encourages and subsidizes health club membership. Fridays are designated as ‘salad days’ where staff meet for lunch and each staff person brings a different item to add to the salad. There is even a school garden which has spinach, onions, strawberries, jalapeños, cilantro, tomatoes, as well as other seasonal offerings.
California State University, Monterey Bay enthusiastically promotes employee health and wellness. They contract with health conscious vendors such as Sodexo and Earthbound Farms, which are committed to provide healthy and nutritious food options in the three student and staff dining facilities. They have an Ergonomic lab on campus which provides individual work station evaluations. As an ongoing benefit, CSUMB offers discounts to use the Aquatic Center and the newly renovated Otter Sports Center. Weight loss, lower blood pressure, self confidence and team building have been the results of their participation in a Workplace Walk-Off Challenge.
Cypress Community Church has taken steps to improve the physical health of its members through a variety of activities. The church has an integrated faith community nursing program that provides on site counseling and blood pressure screenings, as well as home and hospital visits. Cypress has implemented an organizational wellness policy to encourage and support healthy behaviors, including designating the church property smoke free. In addition, Cypress allows the joint use of its full gymnasium by the Calvary Chapel High School Basketball team.
USDA Agricultural Research Station participated in the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System Exercise Challenge in 2008. As part of this event, they had healthy themed potlucks including a salad fest. Employees are leading healthy active lifestyles and teaching each other with one employee who is a certified fitness instructor. They have a wellness coordinator who is the safety officer and one employee dedicated to fitness promotion and volunteers.
Salinas Jaycees had a mission to get fit. The 2008 Jaycee Board implemented a series of activities that would appeal to its young members like hiking and kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough. By introducing fun physical activities, the Jaycees are encouraging not just a one time but a lifetime of daily physical activity. Jaycees then collaborated with two local gyms. Jaycees also actively participate in the Heart and Sole Race, the Big Sur Marathon and the “Talk a Walk Salinas” program. In 2009, the new Jaycee Board has vowed to keep its fitness pledge and is kicking off an Eating Well campaign by partnering with Rancho Cielo and the Culinary School to teach young Jaycees how to eat healthy.
The Boys and Girls Club has over 4,800 youth participants in Salinas and Seaside. Their philosophy is to instill a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and the power of influence. Each day, a nutritious breakfast and lunch are prepared by the Nutrition Team. They take great pride in preparing mouth-watering, healthy meals with that homemade taste. Fun, physical activities are part each day. The Boys and Girls club has been recognized with Awards of Excellence by Boys and Girls Club of America.
The SPCA for Monterey County offers incentives for exercising, provides regular health messages to employees, provide healthy food options at meetings, offers flu shots, allows flexible schedules, has walking trails and encourages employees to take one of the dogs out with them for a walk on their break or even during work time. They give new meaning to “Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound.” They encourage their employees to join the “Wag ’n’ Walk” walkathon team every May.
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is a second time winner and continues to be very interested in their employees’ health. The cafeteria provides Heart Healthy menus, fresh fruits and vegetables and a salad bar. The vending machines offer fruit, nuts and water. Wellness classes are offered for weight management, smoking cessation, stress management, and yoga. They have spearheaded the Salinas Valley 10 week program “Exercise Challenge” in which over 167 businesses participate. This includes over 850 hospital employees and over 3,000 participants from local businesses. The hospital also sponsors the Heart and Sole 5K and 10K race, now including a Children’s race and a Toddler Trot.
Dole Food Company’s worldwide team of growers, packers, processors, shippers and employees is committed to consistently providing high quality fresh fruit, vegetables, and food products, along with fresh cut flowers, while protecting the environment in which its products are grown and processed. Dole is dedicated to nutrition education to communicate to the public the health benefits of eating diet rich in fruits and vegetables. The Commodities Group in conjunction with the Network for a Healthy California Worksite Program initiated a 10-week program aimed at providing education, networking, monitoring, and evaluation of healthy nutrition meals and snacks. Dole provided free gym memberships to all employees. Vending machines have healthy snacks and beverages. They participated in Relay for Life at Hartnell in June 2008 and the SVMH exercise challenge.
The Salinas Californian values employees’ hard work and recognizes that an enjoyable, healthy life contributes to their well being on and off the job. They offer a Wellness Works program to cover topics such as weight management, stress management, smoking cessation and health coaching. By completing a health assessment to evaluate their current health and any health risks, employees are rewarded with a $25 gift certificate. They participate in the SVMH exercise challenge.