Blue Zones Project and the Power of Purpose

Blue Zones Project and the Power of Purpose 

Importance of Purpose, Employee Engagement to be Highlighted at Salinas Kickoff Event

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SALINAS, Calif., June 13, 2019 — On the surface, Jackie Cruz and Andy D’Arrigo appear to have little in common. Cruz is a young Hispanic mother employed in a leadership position at a local college, while D’Arrigo is of Italian descent and a great-grandfather who served as an executive in the produce industry for several decades.

Despite their differences, Cruz and D’Arrigo are united in their passion for Salinas and its future, and about the opportunities afforded by the launch of Blue Zones Project® in helping local young people identify their purpose, and educating local businesses to the benefits of boosting employee well-being. They look forward to joining Blue Zones Communities® across the country that have seen statistically significant improvements in purpose, community pride, and overall community well-being scores.

An inaugural Community Kickoff Event for Blue Zones Project in Monterey County has been confirmed for June 29 in Salinas. Blue Zones Project draws upon more than 200 evidence-based practices to help community leaders, restaurants, schools, faith-based organizations, grocery stores, and worksites make sustainable changes that encourage healthier choices, and is based on global research by National Geographic Fellow and best-selling author Dan Buettner. Blue Zones Project differentiates itself from other initiatives by creating a groundswell of change, uniting organizations and individuals in both public and private sectors in a shared vision: to create a happier, healthier Monterey County for all.

“Through my own difficult childhood, I understand the importance of rising above challenging circumstances,” said Cruz, who serves as Vice President of Resource Development at Hartnell College in Salinas. “Although I grew up in an environment where drug use and gangs were common, I was determined to find my purpose, and to create a better life for myself and my family. I see my life’s purpose as helping my community and other young people to find their potential and live their best possible life.”

“The importance of identifying your purpose is one of the Blue Zones Power 9® principles, or those common traits shared by the world’s longest-lived communities. We want young people to have fulfilling careers, and we want them to earn a sufficient income required to live well. To accomplish this, we must provide them with the tools they need to determine their own purpose, and education is an essential component in identifying what we are passionate about.

“There are clear parallels between Blue Zones Project and the positive impact being made locally by the Building Healthy Communities initiative, where participants partner to transform the environments where East Salinas residents live, work, and play into places that support health and economic well-being. Building Healthy Communities leverages this collaborative approach to effectively engage residents in local planning and policy decisions, and I see similar opportunities for collaboration with Blue Zones Project.

“I personally intend to adopt the ‘Right Tribe’ Power 9 principle by participating in a Moai – a small group of friends that commit to supporting each other in practicing healthy behaviors. What we see our friends doing is contagious, and we can spread those positive behaviors that helps us live longer, that helps us live better.

“The concept of finding a purpose is of great personal importance to me, and I believe Blue Zones Project offers the tools and direction needed to achieve positive change in Salinas by emphasizing purpose in the lives of our youth and all of the community.”

Blue Zones® researchers found that people who have a clear sense of purpose live up to seven good years longer than those who don’t. Living with purpose not only affects individual well-being at home, but also productivity at work. According to LinkedIn’s 2016 Purpose at Work Global Report, only 30 percent of Americans find meaning at work. But, companies invested in purpose will reap the rewards. Employees with passion for their work outperform their counterparts by 16 percent and experience 125 percent less burnout.

After serving for more than 60 years as CEO of D’Arrigo Bros. Co., of California, Andy D’Arrigo is an expert on the workplace environment and how important it is for businesses to support the health and well-being of their employees:

“Our employees have always been very important to us, and we take steps to encourage them to exercise and eat better to maximize their own health. It’s an investment in both your employees and the organization as a whole, as healthier people enjoy greater well-being and are more productive.

“Given our nearly century-long history as a leader in the produce industry, it should come as no surprise that I feel particularly strongly about the benefits of a plant-based diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables for our employees. We see clear parallels between our efforts to cultivate a healthy workplace environment and Blue Zones longevity principles, which emphasize the benefits of a plant-heavy diet.”

The D’Arrigo Bros. Co., of California organization has long promoted philanthropic initiatives in the Salinas community including Rancho Cielo, a comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved and disconnected youth in Monterey County.

“For several years, we have partnered with Rancho Cielo in support of its efforts to transform the lives of at-risk youth and empower them to become accountable, productive, self-sufficient and responsible citizens,” said D’Arrigo.

“I’m confident that Blue Zones Project has the same ability to transform lives in Salinas, and encourage everybody in the community to come out to the Kickoff event to learn more about this unique opportunity.”

The Kickoff offers an opportunity for attendees to experience how living in a Blue Zones Project community feels and through these activities engage them in being a part of the transformation. Participants will hear from Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner, who will share the Blue Zones story and encourage community members to participate in one or more of the many Blue Zones Project areas: Worksites, Schools, Policy, Moais, Walking School Bus, Purpose Workshops and Volunteering.


Event:                   Blue Zones Project Monterey County Kickoff

Date:                     Saturday, June 29, 2019

Time:                     1:00pm to 4:30pm

Where:                 Sherwood Hall

940 North Main Street

Salinas, CA 93901

Speaker:              Dan Buettner, New York Times Best-Selling Author of

The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People

For more information and to RSVP for the Kickoff Event:

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