We had a fantastic week during our 3rd annual Wellness Week with Herren. It was our most successful yet! Herren Project, Herren Wellness, and Herren Talks all came together with community partners nationwide to work together to bring the message of Be You, Live Well to our local communities and schools. We had participants from coast to coast, from the Rio Grande to Great Lakes, and everywhere in between. We are in awe of everyone who took part, especially our youth.
“Wellness, I came to realize, will not happen by accident. It must be a daily practice, especially for those of us who are more susceptible to the oppressiveness of the world.” – Jenna Wortham
We love this quote from Jenna Wortham. We believe we can all use some defense from the oppressiveness of the world, especially our youth. Practicing wellness is something all our children should learn, and we as adults should model. The younger we can instill a practice of wellness, the better our kids will be at it as adults. Self-care and wellness truly is a continual practice. It is something you may not master, but you can incorporate it into everyday life to practice and get better at. The more you work at it, the more it becomes second nature. It will become part of you, like swinging a bat, dribbling a ball, or playing an instrument. It grows in you and becomes an internal compass, helping you make healthy choices throughout your life.
Being mindful of wellness is essential in preventing substance use disorder and substance misuse. There is less room for turning to a substance for self-soothing when you live well. That’s why this week is vital for all of us to participate in. The more we can learn and engage in the eight elements of wellness and begin implementing them into our daily life, the better chances of each of us living healthier, more fulfilling lives substance-free.
There is Strength in Numbers
We are grateful for our 50 community partners and our 252 Herren Project Clubs, who actively participated in this year’s Wellness Week with Herren. Students in schools across the country participated in many of our daily activities each day of the week. Every day was a new theme and focus.
Monday – Live Well
Tuesday – Real Talk
Wednesday – Educate
Thursday – Practice
Friday – Celebrate
Saturday – Community
Highlights of the Week
We started the week on Monday with Chris Herren and his teams from Herren Wellness, Herren Project, and Herren Talks with an official kickoff at Herren Wellness.
The day was beautiful, and our team was able to take a few laps around the walking trail there to start our Herren Fitness Challenge on the right foot. The fitness challenge is a weekly challenge where participants set daily goals and track their progress over the week. Goals were set in steps every day, ounces of water drank, and minutes of exercise daily. Congratulations to Terry O’Neill-Kearton, our grand prize winner of a Fitbit.
Tuesday, as we focused on “real talk,” we had the pleasure of Dr. Anne Fishal, the Co-Founder of The Family Dinner Project, joining our Director of Clinical Services, Kristin Young, for a webinar on the importance of family dinners and their impact on wellness. It was a great conversation filled with so many valuable ideas to incorporate with our families, no matter what age. If you missed it, you can catch it here.
On Wednesday, as we focus on “Educate,” the Action Changes Things conference, hosted by Substance Free Athletics for student-athletes began with ESPN journalist Lauren Sisler as the keynote speaker. This 2-part conference was brought to use by our community partner, Substance-Free Athletics. Later in the evening, we offered a free screening of Chris Herren’s The First Day film, followed by a Q&A with Executive Director Bonnie Sawyer and Director of Clinical Services Kristin Young.
Thursday was all about putting into practice all the tools that each of us was learning about. Eric Daddario, a public speaker for Decisions, hosted a free webinar for students on making healthy choices. It gave not just students but people of all ages important things to think about regarding the choices we make every day. Many schools focused on wellness-focused activities like Wellness Bingo, Take Notes Challenge, and the “I AM” poster contest. Students in Oregon at Tigard High School wore their “Be You” tee-shirts while playing wellness bingo. There were students, like Rachel at Charlton Middle School, who took part in the “I AM” poster contest. (Rachel was one of the winners, by the way.) Plus, packed auditoriums at Byram and Bronxville High Schools had the opportunity to listen to Chris Herren tell his story.
Rachel from Charlton Middle School. I AM poster contest winner.
On Friday, we celebrated wellness and healthy choices with music and showing our purple pride! We launched our Celebrate Wellness Spotify playlist, including some of our favorite tracks for working out and celebrating. Communities and schools nationwide wore their purple and showed their “Be You, Live Well” spirit! Several schools held purple pep rallies. Our Herren Project Clubs had purple events, while local coalitions joined in by decorating their town in purple ribbons and lights. South High in Worcester had 120 students show up and show off their purple pride!
It was also SEL Day, which is a vital component of our Herren Project Club activities. There are many benefits to social-emotional learning, a key element of wellness. We encouraged everyone to make their own SELf-care plan. If you missed it, it’s not too late to make one of your own.
Saturday was all about “community and how important coming together is to living well. Especially with recovery from drugs and alcohol, the people we surround ourselves with matter! We had a local Wellness Workout and Walk with Wakefield Running Company and JG Fitness and Performance in Wakefield, RI, to bring our week to an end. Our Executive Director, Bonnie Sawyer, and Director of Programs and Partnerships, Tricia Mansfield, were there to join in. If you missed the workout you can try it out here. And most importantly, we also encouraged everyone to give back to the community with our “Be You. Do Good.” Event.
Tigard High School Students
Again, we thank our community partners for supporting this national wellness and prevention movement. It is not a success without each of you. In the world we live in, the practice of wellness is more critical than ever.
We are already planning for next year and hope you will join us. Be sure to mark your calendars for the first full week in March, March 6-11th, 2023.
If you participated, we would love your feedback. Please take our survey and let us know what you liked and how we can make it better. We hope you all take the tools you learned this week and make them a daily practice.