VIVA Connects - Action Communities

VIVA logo

Thanks to generous support from the New Mexico Health Department’s Comprehensive Cancer Program and Department of Health, we are able to offer small grants to community coalitions from any of our VIVA Connects communities. Once communities have been granted funding awards for their projects, they are now Action Communities in recognition for their hard work and determination to improve physical activity and health for their community members. Sustainability and maintained engagement of these projects is very important for communities to produce long term benefits for members of their community.

Only 56% of New Mexico residents achieve the recommended 150 minutes a week of physical activity. Physical inactivity is connected with heart disease, stroke, hypertension, dementia, depression, diabetes, obesity, and certain types of cancers. All over the state, change-makers are using Community Guide strategies to increase physical activity and improve the overall health of their communities. These strategies include:

Community-Wide Campaigns

  • Working together across sectors to implement campaigns to increase physical activity using highly visible, broad-based, multi-component strategies
  • Examples include walking guides, maps, signage, walking events, social media campaigns, and stories on local radio stations and in local newspapers

Creating or Improving Places for Physical Activity

  • Worksites, coalitions, agencies, and communities working together to change local environments to create opportunities for physical activity
  • Examples include increasing access to places to walk, land acquisition, MOU preparation, and trails or trailhead improvements

Built Environment Approaches

  • Creating or modifying environmental characteristics in a community to make physical activity easier or more accessible by combining transportation systems with land use and environmental design features
  • Examples include installation or improvement of crosswalks, sidewalks, lighting, benches, and park improvements

Social Support Features

  • Focus on building, strengthening, and maintaining social networks that provide supportive relationships for behavior change
  • Examples include walking groups, worksite wellness programs, and walking events

Action Community Bios: Here are bios of each of our action communities showcasing their projects and goals to make their communities healthier: https://www.viva-connects.org/viva-connects-action-communities

Resources for Communities: Here are examples of VIVA Connects Mini Grant application forms, monthly newsletters, photo release forms, and other common resources to help communities achieve their physical activity and cancer prevention goals: 

Mini Grant Application

Photo Release

December 2020 Newsletter

November 2020 Newsletter

October 2020 Newsletter 

September 2020 Newsletter

August 2020 Newsletter

Walking Guides and Reports: We provide technical assistance to communities implementing evidence-based strategies to increase physical activity. This can include designing maps or signs, conducting a walkability assessment, or connecting you with outside expertise such as land managers, landscape architects, transportation planners, and other useful resources.

Boston Hill


Grant County


Memorial of Perpetual Tears

Otero County

Raton- Downtown

Raton & Surrounding Areas




Community News & Updates: In order for communities to stay connected, here is a space to show off the magnificent work that community members and staff are doing to promote physical activity and cancer prevention in our communities.

Española Painted Sidewalks

Silver City Boston Hill Trail Signage


Action Community Zoom: The goal of the VIVA Connects team is to assist communities with physical activity and cancer prevention. Additionally, we believe that connecting communities with one another is a great way for information and ideas to be shared. Monthly Action Community Zoom meetings allow communities to support one another and learn how to best achieve their mini grant goals.

Action Community Zoom Information

December 2020 Zoom Minutes 

Modules: The VIVA Connects Toolkit is a collection of modules promoting physical activity that are specific to the unique nature of rural New Mexico communities. The PRC developed these modules in response to frequent requests for technical assistance. There are examples on topics such as building sustainable trails, writing press releases, or developing a passport program to encourage trail use. The toolkit is constantly growing as more communities share what they are learning about what it takes to encourage rural residents to promote physical activity in rural communities.

Community Mapping


Sustainable Walking Trails

Financial & Technical Assistance Sources

Hosting a Walkability Workshop

Passport Program

Removing Graffiti from Trail Signs

Writing Press Releases

Using Zoom Videoconferencing


Webinars: Webinars are a fantastic way for the VIVA Connects team to help educate and promote the benefits of physical activity, and cancer prevention materials as well. We will send out email invitations to the listserv when we have a scheduled webinar, as well as provide the slides and/or videos of the webinar for you to view on your own. Enjoy!

[Coming Soon!]


Prevention Research Center (PRC) staff can meet with leaders in your community to discuss ways to increase physical activity. We are here to provide Technical Assistance (TA), support, and funding. Please contact us by sending an email to preventionresearchcenterunm@gmail.com if you are interested in working with us to promote physical activity and cancer prevention in your community.

Listserv: If you'd like to stay on top of news, events, research, conferences, and funding opportunities, join our ListServ by sending an email to preventionresearchcenterunm@gmail.com with the subject like "I want to join the ListServ." We send notices on the ListServ about once a week, and we only send things that are relevant to rural New Mexican communities.