Old Orchard Beach
Health promotion coordinator,
Partners for Healthier Communities
Reegan Brown is keen on physical fitness and healthy eating, whether she’s at her day job or her 24-hour-a-day job as mother to Aaden, her 5-year-old son.
Brown, 26, works for Partners for Healthier Communities through Southern Maine Health Care in Sanford as a health promotion coordinator for the local Healthy Maine Partnership and the Let’s Go! 5210 program aimed at getting kids active and making healthier food choices.
Brown, who lives in Old Orchard Beach with her son and works all over York County, is also certified in group exercise and is an indoor cycling instructor at XL Sports World in Saco.
“I really like what I do and am passionate about physical activity and eating healthy not just in my work, but also at home with my son,” said Brown. “The work we do at Partners for Healthier Communities is rewarding but tough sometimes because change doesn’t happen overnight. I may not see obesity rates decline as much as I’d like [in the short term].”
Brown spent her childhood in Lubec. Her family relocated to Ellsworth when she was in high school. Always an athlete, she was recruited to play soccer at the University of Maine in Fort Kent after graduating from Ellsworth High School. Brown studied behavioral science at the university for three years before taking her first job as a Youth Advocacy Coordinator for a Healthy Maine Partnership program in Fort Kent in 2011.
Last year, Brown decided to move south to take on her present role with Partners for Healthier Communities, an organization focused on improving public health through healthy eating and active living programs for children and adults.
Brown has coordinated a number of activities to help people take an active role in their own fitness. One of those partnered the organization with Walmart in Sanford, encouraging local residents to get exercise by regularly walking the interior perimeter of the store. Brown is working to engage other businesses to offer similar opportunities.
After the birth of her son, Brown took up running. She completed her first marathon in 2013 and this fall coordinated the Southern Maine Healthcare Works on Wellness Council “Couch to 5K” program which gave support to individuals making a transition to a more active lifestyle.
“Being involved in the Couch to 5K program was so rewarding,” said Brown. “Just to see people go from not being active at all to completing in their first 5K was really great.”
Brown has also taken an active role in community alliances.
Brown said she engages “municipal folks” to work with Partners for a Hunger Free York County, a coalition dedicated to ending hunger and malnutrition, and improving access to fresh, healthy food for those who need it in York County.
“I have a wonderful opportunity to have a great relationship in the community and am clearly passionate about people being more healthy and active,” said Brown. “The more healthy and active people are the more vibrant the community is, which will help promote development and business growth.”
Promoting community development has also spurred Brown to take an active role in Synergize Sanford, a business forum that was established in early 2014 to “nurture entrepreneurs and offer a roadmap to advance business ideas from concept to reality.”
“I was interested in becoming part of a [community] group,” said Brown. “I went to a meeting at which Sanford Mayor Tom Cote presented the idea of Synergize Sanford. I asked, ‘How can I help?’ I see my role as trying to engage the young population, bringing the perspective and the needs of the young professional to the group. I feel that I’m bringing new ideas in but also learning a lot from Synergize Sanford. We just hosted our fourth event since launching and have 400 active members on our Facebook page.”
For Brown, motivating young people to get involved is an important part of the growth and success of any area.
“Being proactive in the community you work or live in is important to me. Buying local, promoting local businesses helps everyone,” said Brown. “And I think we’re capable of making a huge impact in the community. It’s really amazing what people are capable of.”
Brown also believes strongly that healthy people, employees, community members and community leaders are necessary for community and economic development.
“I want to see people walking down streets in a walkable Sanford utilizing the businesses there,” she said. “I will continue to promote health and wellness wherever my path takes me. My passion lies there and I am most motivated and creative in those areas. I really enjoy helping people become heathier versions of themselves.”