New Wellness Activities
Posted on: October 5, 2021
Libby Pfonner is Caz Recovery’s Wellness Coordinator, and she’s been busy introducing our residents to healthy new activities. She joined our team in March, and she has a certification in sports nutrition and is a certified post-partum doula. Prior to coming to Caz, she worked as a nutritionist at Core Capacity Transformations, is a Functional Nutrition Lab graduate in Full Body Systems, and has extensive experience in art and graphic design.
Libby began her own wellness and fitness journey in 2015 when she started working out regularly. “I pretty much started out from nothing,” she explained. She kept at it, though, and now really values her progress. Libby has done Olympic weightlifting for years, which consists of two specific technical moves. She hopes that her experience of starting from square one with fitness and building up to where she is now can help her relate to our residents. “Going through that has given me the perspective that weight loss doesn’t equal health,” she explained. “I try to talk to the residents in a way that focuses more on health and less on their weight.”
Wellness Goals and Activities
When Libby travels to our programs, one of her goals is to introduce residents to new wellness-related activities. Many of the people we support may not have experience with healthy hobbies. “Sometimes the only recreation they’ve known has been substances,” said Libby. To help with this, lots of her activities and groups focus on keeping one’s attention occupied. She’s introduced residents to art therapy, mindful eating, gardening, aromatherapy, games, crocheting, and much more. “I thought crocheting was going to be a flop,” she said, “but they really liked it and crocheted for weeks after.”
Her groups quickly expanded to trips and outdoor activities all across Western New York, and she and Danyel Brewer, our Nutritionist, kept residents busy all summer long. Together, they planned outings like hiking the Eternal Flame Trail at Chestnut Ridge; kayaking; a nature survival class at Tifft Nature Preserve; the Challenger Learning Center of Lockport; beach days at Beaver Island, Sunset Beach, and Wilson-Tuscarora State Park; Darien Lake; Sky High Adventure Park in Ellicottville, and more. Our wellness activities are funded by a grant provided by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.
Encouraging Confidence and Fun
Libby’s also excited to be able to use her expertise as a post-partum doula with the women in our programs. This is especially helpful at Madonna House where many of the residents are often new moms. “I try to support them as the mothers they want to be,” Libby said. She provides encouragement and evidence-based information on childcare, both of which are important to the new mothers. “I think it gives them confidence to know that they’re doing a good job,” she said. “They’re raising this tiny human but also going through recovery. Being a mom in general is hard enough. What they’re doing is remarkable.”
Unsurprisingly, residents love what Libby’s brought to Caz Recovery. “I’ve actually gotten a lot of comments that residents find my group very helpful,” said Libby. “They look forward to it.” The recovery and treatment processes can certainly be challenging, but Libby hopes that her groups and activities bring a bit of lightheartedness to the treatment process. “It’s a nice way to break up their day,” said Libby of her wellness activities. “They’re working on their recovery, but they’re having fun, too.”
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