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Advocate Spotlight: Molly Soeby

Community Health is why

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What brought you to be an advocate for the American Heart Association?

As a health care provider, I know that tobacco is still the number one killer in our country.  Most tobacco users start before the age of 18.  As a Grand Forks City Park Commissioner, I know that restricting tobacco use in our parks is an important step to changing our culture.  The more difficult it becomes for minors to use tobacco in public places the better the odds of them not starting to use in the first place.  As an NDSU Extension Agent, I am committed to working toward a healthier community through prevention efforts and community collaboration.

What issues or policies are you most passionate about and why?

Besides tobacco... 

I am passionate about food insecurity in our community, buying local foods, gardening, our beautiful Town Square Farmer’s Market and our Mobile Food and Education Trolley.  Providing fresh local produce to areas of the city that have New Americans, seniors and those that may have transportation issues and can’t get to the markets is important to me.  We have hungry children and families in this community and we have more than enough food.  Distribution is an issue.

The lack of transitional opportunities in our community for recovering addicts to find jobs, and local and community support, which sometimes just means being friendly to your neighbors and letting them know you care.  All of us can help in some way.  This is everyone’s problem.    

What is your favorite advocacy memory or experience so far and what made it great?

Recently one of the Park Commissioners, vehemently opposed to tobacco restrictions in our Grand Forks City Parks, returned from a vacation and brought back a picture of a sign near a playground that said, “Healthy lungs playing here!”  It took 6 ½ years and $21,000 in surveys, but now he is on board and the change is in place.  My thanks to the Grand Forks Public Health Department, the true heroes that work tirelessly to decrease the use of tobacco.  This would never have happened without their expertise and help.

What is your favorite way to be active?

I love to ride bike.  We have such a beautiful greenway in Grand Forks and paved bike trails throughout the city. 

What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

Watermelon!  I like that instead of cake for my birthday celebration at the Extension office in August.   

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