On Sunday, September 13th, Northeast Opportunities for Wellness, Inc. (NOW), in partnership with the HealthQuest Northeast CT Coalition, kicked-off a new community initiative, challenging people of all ages to engage in walking, running, or hiking over a 31-day period. Titled the “NOW Month of Miles Community Challenge” this initiative asks for individuals and teams to challenge themselves to see how many miles can be achieved in a month. Throughout the month, participants are encouraged to share photos and stories as they log their miles, NOW will also share information on local trails, walks and runs available in the community and through partner agencies. At the end of the month, NOW will announce the top names of those who logged the most miles, in individual age group categories, as well as top teams and top businesses. NOW will also share the total cumulative number of miles logged by all participants. The challenge is generously sponsored by Putnam Bank, A Division of Centreville Bank, with the first 500 registrants to sign up to receive a free pedometer. Registration to participate in the challenge is open through October 13th and people are encouraged to sign up anytime to participate.

2020 has been an unpredictable year and like many other organizations, NOW has had to make difficult decisions when planning programs and events. With spring recreational sports canceled and schools closed, all of NOW’s planned youth sports and wellness clinics and outreach programs were put on hold. The Month of Miles Challenge will serve as a community outreach event to promote NOW’s mission of wellness in NECT and as platform to help launch NOW programs for the fall and winter months of 2020. NOW Executive Director Sarah Wolfburg shared the connection between NOW’s mission and the Month of Miles Community Challenge, “Traditionally, NOW focuses on youth wellness with our programs, education and outreach, but this challenge is a way for our entire community to become motivated to move and is inclusive of all ages. The main intention is to make this a fun experience, because getting outside and walking, running and hiking should be enjoyable. Our hope is to see families, friends, and businesses participating and encouraging each other to be active, not just for one month, but beyond the end of the challenge.”

As a non-profit that supports youth wellness in Northeast CT, NOW exists solely through funds raised at events and through donations from individuals and businesses. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NOW had to make the decision to cancel all planned fundraising events, including the 9th Annual A Taste for NOW ~ In Memory of Nick Haines, the 3rd Annual NOW Bartender Night, and the 9th Annual NOW Road Race & Walk ~ Lap the Lake. The NOW Road Race event was originally scheduled for Sunday, September 13th and had been sponsored by Putnam Bank – a division of Centreville Bank. When the decision was made to cancel the race, NOW reached out to Putnam Bank and the management with Centreville Bank to propose a shift in sponsorship to the Month of Miles Community Challenge, which was planned to honor the spirit of the race. The bank responded quickly, lending their support to the new event. NOW used the sponsorship to provide pedometers to participants of the Month of Miles Community Challenge. Sarah Wolfburg noted the longtime support of Putnam Bank for NOW programs and events, “Throughout the history of the NOW Road Race, we have been fortunate to have Putnam Bank as our main sponsor and we are very grateful for their continued support, including this new initiative to promote healthy activity in the community.” In addition to Putnam Bank’s sponsorship, NOW is also supported by the HealthQuest Northeast CT Coalition and their Step It Up Northeast CT initiative, which promotes walking as an activity to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue and chronic illness.

NOW is a non-profit human services organization focused on youth wellness. NOW provides children with the opportunity to participate in area wellness activities and athletics programs, offering scholarships to the youth of the community with up to 95% of the cost being subsidized by NOW. The mission of the organization is to provide ALL children, regardless of financial resources, equal opportunities to achieve & maintain youth wellness, beginning at an early age.

To learn more about NOW, to make a donation, or to sign up for the Month of Miles Community Challenge, visit www.NOWinMotion.org.