By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – For the past several years, the focus on wellness in Marlborough has grown and broadened for residents of all ages, due largely to the dedicated effort of Martin Levins, Julie Dalbec and Darren McLaughlin who have a common interest – to be healthy and enjoy life.
They are all members of the Marlborough Wellness Committee, organized by Levins, and they work individually and together.
“We know we can count on each other to come through and network to find the necessary resources available to bring about the success of a project,” said Dalbec, a licensed acupuncturist-herbalist and owner of The Marlborough Wellness Center for the past 10 years.
They are all actively involved in the Walking School Bus Program at the Richer Elementary School, a part of the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program conducted by the Department of Transportation and MASSRides federally funded projects.
Dalbec, a busy mother of two, assisted with expanding the Healthy Dining Program within the restaurant community in Marlborough, while a member of MetroWest Moves, a joint area effort to improve the wellness of Marlborough, Hudson, Framingham and Northborough. She is also wellness coordinator for the Parent-Teacher Organization and a School Council member at Richer School, a member of the School Wellness Advisory Committee which advises public and private schools in the city on to how to improve wellness programs and increase opportunities for students, and a member of the Greater Marlborough Chamber of Commerce School-to-Business Council, chaired by McLaughlin..
“I have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work in the health and recreation industry in our city for the last 30 years at Wayside Racquet & Swim Club,” said McLaughlin, general manager since 1994. “Wayside has offered me a wonderful opportunity to work with the community in so many ways. We have always offered a wide variety of programs for kids in swimming, tennis, racquetball and fitness. Youth fitness is so important in today’s society.”
McLaughlin met Levins and Dalbec through the Marlborough Moves program and the Safe Routes to Schools and Walking School Bus programs.
“There is just so much to become involved with in the city with regard to health and wellness,” he said. “It would be great to see more people put down their cell phones, iPads and laptops and get out and get active.”
He was recently named grand marshal for the city’s annual Labor Day parade, recognized by Mayor Arthur Vigeant “for his lengthy track record as one of the most active and passionate members of our community.”
Levins recalled: “My first Walking School Bus started at Memorial Beach in 2008.” From the Charles Jaworek School the program expanded to the Francis J. Kane and Richer schools and eventually to the 1st Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School.
“It was very successful and everyone is continuing to enjoy it and benefit from the healthy activity,” he said.
Other wellness programs introduced to the schools include Walking Lunch Bunch, Bicycle Safety Training, Mission Nutrition, and Good Food Bad Food plan.
Levins recently chaired a donation drive fundraiser, in conjunction with Savers, to raise funds for schools in Marlborough and Hudson.
“We collected 8,373 pounds of clothing and Savers donated $1,676.60 to our schools and $400 to the Marlborough Regional Community Foundation,” he said.
“Health and wellness are lifelong endeavors,” said McLaughlin. “It’s that notion of adding life to your years as opposed to simply years to your life and we will keep moving in that direction.”