Fostering Good Health and Literacy in Colorado

vending machineAWE machine Apr 2016

One can rarely find anything healthy to consume in a vending machine, unless you happen to visit  Sunrise Community Health in northern Colorado. The Community Health Center, which has been in the business of delivering excellent care since 1973,  offers patients a vending machine in its clinic library that dispenses healthy portions of literature. The idea of offering an enriched diet of words and ideas came about in collaboration with one strong partner: The High Plains Library District, which serves a vast area where Sunrise has a location.

Initially, patients at the health center could access books only through a bookmobile that delivered materials and services twice a month. But the health center and library staff began to realize the need for a more convenient way for patients to borrow books on a regular basis. That led to library staff  transporting carts of materials into the clinic lobby so patients could have access to materials at their point of need: in the clinic on a twice monthly basis. Finally, Sunrise and the library hit on the idea of permanently establishing a place to bring literacy, education and good health under one roof. Now families have access to the vending unit and book return, as well as an AWE machine for children. The vending unit dispenses materials such as books, books on tape, DVD’s and children’s materials for patients and their families on loan for a two week period.  The AWE unit provides kids and families access to educational games that emphasize reading, math, music, art, and geography.

“Sunrise strives for collaborative relationships while serving our communities,” said Fatima Groom, Development Coordinator for Sunrise. “These partnerships make sense because we all share a similar goal: build a better and healthier place to live. It is also the secret of our success in delivering care.”

Sunrise has grown over the course its forty plus years, with ten clinics serving 35,000 patients, powered by a workforce of 369 employees.

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