Issues That Matter series receives Verdant award

The Verdant Health Commission Innovative Program Award

For years, Sno-Isle Libraries’ Issues That Matter series has taken on the tough subjects.

Since November, the focus of 17 events has been on various aspects of mental health. In previous years, the series has tackled homelessness, teen suicide, bullying and gun violence among others.

Issues That Matter has always been about convening conversations on subjects that matter to our communities,” said Jonalyn Woolf-Ivory, Sno-Isle Libraries Executive Director. “The response in the communities and from participants has been heartening.”

Now, another member of the community is honoring the series and Sno-Isle Libraries.

The Verdant Health Commission has issued their Innovative Program Award to Issues that Matter and Sno-Isle Libraries. The award was accepted by Woolf-Ivory at the Verdant Healthier Community Conference on March 12 in Lynnwood.

Along with the Innovative Program Award, Verdant Superintendent Robin Fenn also presented:

  • The Outstanding Community Advocate Award to Giselle Zapata-Garcia of Latinos Promoting Good Health
  • The Service to Our Community Award to State Health Insurance Benefits Advisor (SHIBA) volunteers
  • The Community Collaboration Award to the Hero’s Café Planning Committee

“It is very important that we as a community take the time to acknowledge those who are stepping up and working together to help address the myriad challenges that we are facing together,” Fenn said. “It is truly my privilege to be able to recognize the amazing work that they all do.”

The Issues That Matter series is Woolf-Ivory’s brainchild. “Libraries are great neutral ground,” she said. “Difficult discussions are possible, but rather than having us decide on the topics, we asked our communities, ‘What do you want?’ The result has been strong community engagement with these events.”

The Verdant Healthier Community Conference drew approximately 250 people, representing healthcare, social services, and individuals interested in supporting community health. The Verdant Health Commission funds programs that empower people to make healthy decisions and get the care they need to stay well.