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“Health is new to me”: The Drop-In Wellness Wall

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We all need encouragement to be healthy sometimes! Our youth are staying active with the new Wellness Wall in our Drop-In Center. The wall encourages youth to engage in positive, healthy activities with our staff.

So, how does it work? From A to Z, there’s dozens of activity suggestions on the wall. For each activity a youth completes, they’ll earn one wellness point. The points add up, and youth can earn gift certificates for coffee or tea, movies, music performances, or other enrichment activities.

“One of our youth really wants to take a belly-dancing class. So when they have built up 30 points, they can take a dance class,” said Drop-In Coordinator Allie Forward.

It can be a simple activity. Like eating a whole serving of vegetables at dinner with our staff. Or maybe it’s something that’s much harder when you don’t have a support network. Like working with our staff to make a dentist appointment and go to the dentist.

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The Wellness Wall encourages our youth to use healthy coping skills and do more active, wholesome things throughout the day. They can keep track of their points on personal wellness cards that they can decorate themselves. For youth who don’t have a safe space to go each night, we can store their wellness cards in the Drop-In Center so they can still earn points.

Not every wellness activity is based on physical fitness. The letter “T” for example, is “Talk it out! Work things out the cool way, with words!” This encourages our clients to use nonviolent communication to resolve a conflict and talk with a staff member about how it was helpful.

As one client put it, “Health is new to me because I’ve spent most of my life being bitter and self destructive.”

“There’s lots of room on the wall for youth to add their own ideas of wellness, and we’re open to that, too,” says Allie. “Our clients seem excited to better themselves and it’s a great way to get youth involved in activities that we offer.”

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