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“Belonging is at the heart of our work, and we are humbled by the success stories already taking root at Astoria.”                                                  -Paige Byron Curry, Executive Director

Nearly half of Americans report feeling excluded and lacking meaningful daily social interactions. Studies from throughout the country, particularly in Teton County, highlight the astounding statistics connecting this isolation with a direct decline in health. In fact, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy emphasized this loneliness epidemic in an advisory report this March, calling attention to the negative impact it has on individuals and society at large.  

This report shares that the “mortality impact of being socially disconnected is similar to that caused by smoking up to 15 cigarettes daily.” It goes far beyond the individual impact, rippling throughout the civic structures of communities from schools to workplaces and often impacting marginalized demographics the most. Astoria Park Conservancy is actively working to enhance the interconnectedness of residents from diverse backgrounds through various structured and informal activities within Astoria. We do this through designing environments that facilitate interaction, executing policies that promote inclusion and belonging, supporting our healthcare providers in their mission to improve our collective health, and ultimately creating a culture of connection. 

Programs like our Community Conversations are intentionally designed to unite people by facilitating conversations around life’s biggest questions. Our wellness activities for human service council members provide a platform for those who serve on the front lines of mental health services to destress together, learn from one another, share experiences, and strengthen individual and organizational bonds. Our facilities naturally foster connections as well, and we are heartened by the stories of friends hosting monthly soaks with friends, regulars, and visitors who found meaningful interactions during their time at Astoria. Belonging is at the heart of our work, and we are humbled by the success stories already taking root at Astoria.

We recently celebrated our third anniversary of serving our community through inspiring outdoor experiences that provide restoration and relaxation. I was reminded of our first few months of serving residents during COVID, when we were one of the very few opportunities to find connection. One person shared that their visit to Astoria during those hard times provided relief like an extended vacation, only moments after walking through our doors, as we offered a social outing for her family.

We invite you to discover connections at Astoria – come soak, bring friends, or branch out and try one of our community conversation programs. Together, we can build a more resilient community.

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