The Maine Schoolsite Health Promotion Program’s Winter Wellness Workshop Day last week drew school employees from across Maine to Waterville to expand their understanding of worksite wellness and how to implement successful wellness programs utilizing a variety of tools and resources. It was also National Wear Red Day, so participants donned a variety of red to show their support for heart health.
The full day of learning and engagement started off with Roxane Dubay from the Wellness Council of Maine speaking about the importance of Wellness Teams; the three levels of programming: awareness, education, and behavior change and strategies to implement; and how to gather and use data to improve outcomes.
Linda Welch from MEA Benefits Trust joined Roxane to highlight the many tools and resources available to schools that support the work of the Wellness Teams. A panel of community and school partners moderated by Bill Primmerman from Somerset Public Health shared numerous partnerships and programs that support staff, student and school health and wellness. Panelists included:
- Alan DuPlessis, Business owner and chair of the Jackman School Community Leadership Team sharing grant programs for staff and youth programs including school gardens
- Heather Johnson, Somerset County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director talked about the Healthy Kids Packs & School Food Cupboards to educate families about healthy food choices.
- Somerset County Sherriff Deputy Michael Pike, School Resource Officer and the community liaison providing health promoting lessons and engaging youth in prevention efforts.
- Joe Hayden, Madison Area High School Physical Education Teacher share examples of how communities support school efforts in a variety of ways, they just need to be asked and youth have many talents and skills that are learning experiences for all.
Workplace Health Director at MaineGeneral Denise Dumont-Bernier presented in the afternoon. The importance of taking care of ourselves and concerns of an aging workforce were discussed along with facts about the impact of our daily practices on our bodies and how to be proactive and keep healthy and productive by engaging in health enhancing practices like stretching, movement, and education. The data tells us we cannot afford to ignore the importance of health promotion at work.
For more information about the Maine Schoolsite Health Promotion Program, professional development events available throughout the year and resources to support school employee health, contact Maine DOE’s Health Education and Promotion Coordinator Susan Berry at firstname.lastname@example.org.