Posted on: February 28, 2020
The Importance of Wellness
Over the years, we’ve sought to incorporate wellness into the work that we do. From volunteer-led yoga classes at Turning Point House to gardens at a few of our programs, we’ve recognized the need to promote wellness. This year, we’re excited to announce that we’re taking this focus to the next level. Thanks to the support of a generous foundation, we’re implementing a wide range of plans that bring additional wellness supports into our programs.
As we’ve discussed in the past, people in active use may have neglected their health for some time. Once someone starts the recovery process, they may have years of health issues to work through. Cazenovia Recovery provides residential services, and this means that individuals stay with us for extended periods of time. Thus, we have the perfect opportunity to not only help individuals focus on their unaddressed health issues, but to also learn new skills and habits that incorporate wellness. This grant will do just that.
Our New Wellness Coordinator
We’ll get to all of our exciting, innovative, and important ideas in a moment. As you’ll see, they add up to quite a lot of work! Thankfully, our partner foundation also provided funding for a Wellness Coordinator who will implement the activities within the grant.
We’ve brought Jess Bennett onboard to serve in this role. She has an impressive background, and that’s one of the reasons we were so excited to hire her. Jess is a registered dietitian, and she has an additional credential in integrative and functional nutrition. She has a bachelor’s degree in health science from Brockport, and an additional bachelor’s and master’s degree in dietetics from D’Youville. Her master’s thesis was on corporate wellness programs, and she owns her own business that focuses on nutritional counseling. If you see her, you can ask her about her work as a trapeze artist and vocalist in a band, too.
As you can see, Jess is extremely passionate about health and wellness. In particular, she’s very interested in positive nutrition. “I believe that food is our first medicine,” Jess said. She’s also encouraged by the welcoming atmosphere she’s encountered so far. “I’m surprised by how appreciated I feel here,” she explained. “The culture is very supportive and encouraging. You don’t get that everywhere.”
A New Wellness Initiative
Some of the first steps we outlined in the grant involve encouraging exercise. We allocated funds for programs to purchase a large piece of exercise equipment like an elliptical or a treadmill.
We’re going to fund yoga classes at our programs, too. “There’s been a lot of excitement about the yoga classes,” Jess said. This is particularly true for our more remote programs. Each resident will also receive a yoga mat that they can use in the classes. They’ll be able to take the mat with them after they discharge in order to keep up with doing yoga on their own.
Later in the spring and summer, we’re going to expand our partnership with Urban Fruits & Veggies and Garden Fresh Foodie. Last year, they built garden beds and provided plant-based cooking classes at Casa Di Vita. This spring, they’ll be doing the same for each of our programs.
The last major aspect of the grant involves providing wellness packages to individuals who successfully complete our programs. They’ll involve a reusable shopping bag, a water bottle, a collection of kitchen utensils to encourage cooking, and a starter gardening kit with seeds.
In addition to helping our programs promote wellness for our residents, Jess is also going to be a major partner on our Wellness Committee. The committee’s focus is on improving the health and wellness of our staff members. “Healthier people do better work,” Jess said.
What’s perhaps most is exciting is just how forward-looking this whole initiative is. “People think of wellness programs as something only the Googles of the world can do,” said Jess. “For us to be able to say that we have one, I think that’s really cool.”
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