Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award Nominee - All For One
Meet Them Here!
Long-time friends bring health education to schools and communities across the country.
Two years ago, on a porch overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, Tom Miller and Bruce Campelia took a well-deserved rest after a biathlon training session. The men, self-proclaimed fitness nuts, started talking about the declining condition of American health – including child obesity, chronic illnesses and increases in costs for good care. They knew something had to be done. Why couldn't it start with them?
The task might have seemed daunting to others, but these two longtime friends had taken on big challenges before. After all, Miller founded TR Miller Co., Inc. (asi/272250) 40 years ago in his first house. Today, with Miller at the helm, the distributorship is headquartered in a 25,000-square-foot distribution and fulfillment center.
As Miller was building his company, Campelia had established a career as an electric engineer, on the strength of an MBA from Cornell. After attending a high school reunion, though, he decided on a new direction. He signed up for competitive sprinting programs and changed his eating habits. Eventually, he founded a holistic natural health center in Pennsylvania and earned his doctoral degree in natural health.
Campelia stayed in touch with Miller over the years and, in 2011, convinced him to participate in New Hampshire's Wildman Biathlon. "We started talking about health and wellness," says Miller, "and Bruce had all kinds of alarming statistics. He even said current trends show that our grandkids' generation won't live as long as us. There's something wrong with that. So we made a plan for an educational nonprofit."
From that Lake Winnipesaukee conversation the One for Health Foundation was born, now officially a 501(c)(3) organization. The nonprofit, co-founded by Miller and Campelia, is dedicated to bringing health education programs to schools and community centers in order to enable people to make smart decisions. "Health is not just genetics – it's also balance, and it involves exercise, nutrition and spirituality," says Miller. "We figure if we can reach people, it will make a huge difference."
From the beginning, Miller and Campelia decided to put a special emphasis on educating kids. "We want to empower them and give them intrinsic knowledge about wellness," says Campelia, One for Health's executive director. "We have to teach people to do things for themselves, and we believe kids can do this. We want to get them excited about it and then train them to train their peers. Chronic illnesses account for 75% of health-care costs, but they often take decades to manifest themselves. So we have to start early and educate."
A common wellness myth, says Campelia, is that good health is determined solely by nutrition and exercise. In fact, a person's state of mind contributes significantly to overall wellbeing. "Stress is the number-one toxin," he says.
Now that the One for Health Foundation has achieved nonprofit status, Campelia and Miller have developed an official website, logo and tagline, and companies have lent support to its efforts. Students from Boston University's PR Lab and co-op students at UMass-Lowell have expressed interest in helping One for Health through community outreach, like social media.
"We want it to become a national foundation for kids that ties businesses, communities, schools and families together," says Campelia. "We're creating pilot programs this year to try to take it national."
For more info, visit oneforhealthfoundation.org.