Resilience Center Community Health and Wellness Fair: Building a healthy community
by A. David Dahmer
The second annual Resilience Center Community Health and Wellness Fair will be held this Saturday, May 10, and is a chance for the community to not only learn about how to live healthy lives, but to learn about all of the programs and facilities that the Resilience Center has to offer.
“The first annual event last year went really well. We were very pleased,” says Cora White, director of the Resilience Neighborhood Center.
“We had a room full of vendors and exhibitors and we had about 200 people come through.”
At this year’s fair, there will be healthy food demonstrations and information from local health and wellness providers on how to lead healthier lives. There will also be Zumba and fitness demonstrations, healthy food demonstrations, and free health screenings. “There will be different types of exercise activities for people to participate in and to observe and to make a decision on what's best for them and how they can make it a regular part of their lives,” White says. “The fair will be a nice chance for people to talk to a medical professional about their health regarding anything and everything.”
The Resilience Neighborhood Center is led by White, a longtime neighborhood resident, and her daughter Martha White who manages the commercial grade kitchen. The center is a hub of events, classes, and groups, run for and by neighbors. Also housed in the building is Badger Rock Middle School, a charter school focusing on experiential education and sustainability; and the Madison operations of Growing Power, an innovative urban agriculture program.
“Things are going well here,” White tells The Madison Times. “The [Badger Rock] school is at capacity. We have great senior programs. Coach [Haywood] Simmons is doing a fitness program for seniors and every day he is getting more and more people. We're running three summer camps this year — each of them will go for seven weeks. At any given time, the place is just running over with people and children using the building. There is a lot of positive energy going on around here.”
Simmons, owner and president at Phitness Plus, will be playing a major part in the Health and Wellness Fair talking to people about exercise and the importance of healthy eating. He will host some question-and-answer sessions, too. “We will be providing people with little facts and tips about health, wellness, and nutrition that may not normally stand out to them,” Simmons says. “It's all about building a new community and how we can start again. It's been a lifelong dream of mine to help people reset that thought process, reset the way we think about food, reset the way we think about ourselves, and create a new world now that we know a little more.”
Simmon's Phitness Plus, located at the Resilience Research Center, has a mission to build a healthy and happy lifestyle through proper exercise and informed nutritional counseling.
“We are working on a program called 'The Fittest City' and the idea is that we create a challenge and raise the awareness in our local community,” says Simmons, a former University of Wisconsin and NFL football player. “We want to raise the 'nutritional thermostat' of our local community and get local government and local businesses on board with providing people with basic information about nutrition.”
At the Health and Wellness Fair, Simmons will also be talking to people about one of his passions — juicing. His new book, “Immunity Juice,” contains information about the benefits of juicing and includes nutritious juicing methods that improve your body. Simmons believes that the more you educate yourself on what you put into your body and exercise regularly, the healthier you will become. “We look to get minerals and nutrients from our food. With the big, industrial farming we might be missing some of the nutrients we are looking for in our fruits and vegetables,” Simmons says. “With juicing the idea is that we can get more of those micro minerals that we need that we might not get enough of. When fruits and vegetables are ground and juiced, they are more bio-available. Juicing can help with the cleansing of the stomach. It's good for weight loss and detoxing the body. It just has so many benefits.”
Simmons says that one of his goals is to help reduce the tremendous gap in racial health disparities. White agrees.
“There is a gap between white people and minorities in the knowledge of many of the things that we will be talking about at our Health and Wellness Fair,” White says. “It's a great thing that we will be holding the event in this building because people can look out and see our beautiful schoolchildren's gardens that they've already started planting and the Growing Power gardens in the front. I'm hoping that this health fair will help make people aware of the many things that they can do for themselves and about the issues that affect them. It's important that everybody knows that don't have to spend a lot of money on food if you start growing your own.
“Last year, we were targeting primarily women at our event, but I think that men's health is just as important and we're hoping to get many men in and that they won't shy away from asking questions,” White continues. “Young men tend to think that they are indestructible and health may not be their main focus, but we're trying to get them on a good, healthy path earlier so it will become a habit for the rest of their lives. If you start now, you build those habits and you automatically teach those habits to your children. Children's health is also so very important to us and we want people to recognize that and to stay on top of that.”
Every mother that comes through the door for the second annual Resilience Center Health and Wellness Fair will receive a special plant for Mother's Day.
“My goals for the event are to get more people educated on how to take care of their own health and their families' health and to let them know that there is no excuse for them to not eat healthy,” White says. “There are free opportunities to live healthier lives in all aspects. We want people to know that they don't have to be embarrassed thinking that they can't afford something. Let's talk about it. If you ignore a problem, I promise you that it will never go away. It will probably get worse. Embarrassment will never solve anything, but if you open up with your questions then someone else can answer it and get you on the right track. That's the most important thing.
“In the end, we want to give people the tools and resources they need to be healthy,” she adds. “And, hopefully, we give them a little bit of inspiration."
The second annual Resilience Center Community Health and Wellness Fair will be held Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Resilience Neighborhood Center, 501 E. Badger Rd.
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