Inspiring students through staff wellness will now be a primary focus for the Lake County School District No. 7.
After receiving approval from the school board last October, the counseling program led by Brandi Harris and Lonnie Chavez sought an Oregon Education Association Choice Trust grant in order to develop a staff-wide wellness program. They found out at the beginning of January that their application was successful and they will be kicking off the start of their new initiative at a school event on Wednesday, March 6.
“We want to promote that whole wellness idea of mind, body and soul,” Harris said.
Their first step towards securing the grant and creating the program was founding the Physical Health Awareness Team or PHAT. An anagram with many connotations to their goal, she spoke with zeal about the members in the group: Katie McNeley, Ashley Lundberg, Susan Albertson, Heidi Albertson and Jackie Robinson. Through their efforts, they created the SWEAT program. Another clever anagram, it stands for Support Wellness Exercise And Transformation.
With the grant, the SWEAT program will feature monthly challenges, regular workshops and fitness equipment for the staff.
“We’re trying to find things that will encourage people to think about their well being and getting the whole idea of what wellness means,” Harris said.
Their first challenge will be the Move It Move It Challenge, tasking the staff from all of the district’s schools to exercise 30 minutes a day for 3 days a week. The winning school will be the highest percentage with staff participation who will then receive a “most amazing incentive,” Harris said.
Every month there will be a new challenge, continuing to advance the attention to wellness driven by the district.
A large portion of their dedication to wellness is seen in the effect it will have on the students. Harris pointed to many studies that showed the inspiration and guidance that can come from educators leading by example.