tampabay.com

She's making her healthy dreams reality

By ERNEST HOOPER
Published December 12, 2007


A multicolored sunrise drenches a white egret as he fans out his mating plumage.

A pair of peaceful brothers float among stars and clouds.

A blissful girl, eyes closed and hands clasped, faces skyward while birds and butterflies flutter around her.

Images of hope, happiness and serenity fill Sigrid Tidmore's "Dreams of Flight" calendar. Inspirational words about flying and dreaming accompany the 12 water-colored works of Tidmore, who may be better known as the executive director of the Patel Foundation for Global Understanding.

The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination. There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it will be a butterfly.

Buckminster Fuller's words perfectly articulate Tidmore's makeup. Her imagination and drive know no bounds. Tell her about a dream or aspiration and she quickly crafts a plan of attack. She challenges you to ask, "Why not?" instead of "Why?" And she applies the same standard to her pursuits.

In less than a year, she has helped steer Healthy Together, the foundation's ambitious community health initiative, from concept to reality.

Beginning Jan. 1, Healthy Together spreads its wings and leaves the Patel Foundation to become its own entity: Healthy Together Tampa Bay Inc. Tidmore will be president, and the mission will be clear: "Make the healthy choice the easy choice."

"The idea is empowerment," Tidmore said. "We want to empower people so they make these choices."

Creating a coalition of public and private organizations to improve health and wellness in Tampa Bay seems daunting. For years, people have preached the value of exercise and living right, only to be ignored by a significant segment of the community.

Healthy Together takes a different approach. First, it gathers those individual voices promoting prevention and turns them into a community chorus. It partners agencies and experts to find wellness solutions, drawing $500,000 of wellness funding to the area. The coalition also spawned workplace wellness and community wellness task forces.

With a fourth of the local population addicted to tobacco, it promoted smoking cessation.

The key to the coalition is sharing success. Tidmore elaborates by borrowing a statement from former USF athletic director and Healthy Together partner Dick Bowers, who died Nov. 29.

"Dick always said, 'There is no limit to how much good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit,'" Tidmore explained.

Tidmore's first step begins this week.

Although she typically uses her colorful desk calendars to enhance her own artistic efforts, this season the calendar will be part of a fundraiser.

For $100, donors will receive the calendar, the inspirational words and the satisfaction of knowing they've helped Tampa Bay take flight in a new direction.

That's all I'm saying.

FAST FACTS

If you go

What: "Dreams of Flight" calendar release party.

When: Today, 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m.

Where: Sangria's Restaurant, 315 S Howard Ave.