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The Immokalee Foundation has demonstrated its staff’s commitment to health and wellness by becoming Blue Zones certified.

Executive Director Noemi Perez introduced the Blue Zones idea to her team as a way to ensure the staff had ready access to information and guidance about leading a healthy lifestyle.

Student Advocate Lorena Ibarra was initially surprised to find out she should be walking 10,000 steps a day. “I only do that when I go to Disney!” Ibarra said. She has changed her ways and now takes two walks during the workday and another in the evening when she gets home. Ibarra learned about a step-counting app from Maria Plata, the foundation’s community engagement coordinator, who has been assisting with Blue Zones training. “I’m definitely being more mindful about how much I’m getting up and stepping away from my desk,” Ibarra said.

So is Linda Halligan, The Immokalee Foundation’s data specialist. “I used to sit all day without taking breaks, and by the end of the day, I felt numb,” Halligan said. Now she takes at least one walk during the day and uses stretching techniques learned through Blue Zones. “It’s all making a difference,” Halligan said. “On workdays, I usually go outside and walk about a mile, getting some fresh air and vitamin D. When I get back, I feel more energetic.” Halligan also has participated in yoga classes and has learned additional tips for better well-being through Blue Zones.

“Blue Zones has helped us not only become more focused on health and wellness, it’s also been a lot of fun for the team,” said Perez.

The Blue Zones Project is helping transform communities, making healthy choices easy. Blue Zones Project examined areas of the world where people live long and enjoy the best quality of life in order to share their secrets with others.

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit

The Immokalee Foundation was recently approved as a Blue Zones Project

Linda Halligan, Lorena Ibarra

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