Healthy Community Initiative

Thriving Youth. Thriving Community.


Healthy Community Initiative – a network of people caring about other people

May 3, 2019

Article by Elsa Hoff, published in the Northfield News, May 1, 2019
Elsa is a member of the Healthy Community Initiative Board of Directors.

When I hear someone talk about Healthy Community Initiative, I think of several different things. Sometimes I think about the Board of Directors and my experience serving with this wonderful group. Sometimes I think about TORCH (Tackling Obstacles Raising College Hopes) and my peers who receive guidance and support for high school and beyond. Sometimes I think about Greenvale Park Community School, my alma mater, and the many upgrades that have been implemented to benefit the youth of our community. HCI spearheads and coordinates so many programs and projects in Northfield and beyond that it’s impossible to think of the same thing every time HCI is brought up in conversation.

For me personally, one of the best things about my experience on the HCI board has been getting to know all the wonderful, knowledgeable adults I serve alongside. Betsy Spethmann collaborated with me when I was a “Lace for the Cure” co-captain for the Northfield High School girls’ soccer team, as did Tanner Schieck; both also serve on the HCI Board. Bridget Conway checks in with me by email before every HCI meeting to see how I’m doing because she cares about me both as a board member and as a person. Connie Nelson, aunt of two of my good friends, is so kind to me, always greeting me with a smile before meetings. I could provide an example of warmth and kindness for every adult on the board, but I’m afraid that would take up my 500 words. These adults are thoughtful about their deliberation and decisions on the board AND about the people (especially youth) of the community, and they make fantastic role models for me and my fellow youth board members.

Speaking of my fellow youth Board members, it has been amazing to meet and spend time with Anna, Athena, Olive, and Willy. We all have such different backgrounds and contribute something unique to the board because of those individual experiences. It’s hard to put into words how much they have added to my experience on the board, but I want to thank them as I leave Northfield this year. I’ve purposely focused on the people on the HCI Board because HCI is more than an organization and its programs. It is truly a network of people caring about other people.