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West Jordan Journal

Educators try something new for Health and Wellness Day

Mar 04, 2024 12:43PM ● By Jet Burnham

Local artist Al Rounds helps educators learn watercolor techniques as part of Health and Wellness Day 2024. (Jet Burnham/City Journals)

Jordan District employees spent Health and Wellness Day, held Feb. 9, playing cornhole, bowling, meditating, painting, playing pickleball and learning to make pasta and sourdough bread.

“We wanted Wellness Day to be a unique opportunity to get experiences with trying new things that promote long-term wellness,” Jordan District Health and Wellness Program Administrator Dr. McKinley Withers said. “Because having that little extra time and space in your life to do something maybe a little bit different can set you up for regular ritual or routine over time that will really benefit your wellness. Wellness is not a one-day event.”

This year’s offerings encouraged employees to try new things, like making homemade pasta and sourdough bread or learning self-defense techniques.

Elk Ridge Middle School Registrar Corinna Magleby tried out the meditative sound bath experience.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was delightful and incredibly relaxing,” she said. “It contributed to my wellness that day and also opened my eyes to an experience that I will choose to participate in again.”

Magleby also attended a watercolor painting class, as did 249 other JSD employees, to be instructed by world-renowned artist Al Rounds.

Rounds normally doesn’t do big events but he made an exception.

“I agreed to do it because they’re teachers and because I love teachers,” Rounds said, who credits his high school English teacher for believing in him and pushing him to pursue art as a career.

Alishia Huefner, a middle school counselor, attended the painting class to explore it as a possible new hobby. As a beginner, initially she was caught up in trying to get her painting to look right, but then she began to relax and just enjoy being with her colleagues.

“This was more of art therapy and just enjoying the process,” she said. “It was so fun and just great to be able to get out of our building and experience things and have the opportunities to feed our souls.”

She said the experience of trying something new gives her empathy for students.

“We challenge students to do new things all the time and as an adult I don’t feel like I do that,” Huefner said.

Jordan District Superintendent Dr. Anthony Godfrey said Health and Wellness Day is a reminder to take time to focus on personal wellness.

“It’s a demanding profession, and there really isn’t as much time as we need to do the job,” he said. “So when you’re short on time, sometimes the shortcut you take is in taking care of yourself. This is a chance to stop and focus on ourselves, and for families to focus on themselves, and be able to be at our best for each other.”

This was the third annual Health and Wellness Day which was organized in response to mental health concerns exacerbated by the pandemic and to promote suicide prevention awareness. This year’s Wellness Day also included a health fair and health screenings. JSD employees participated in a wellness challenge to win prizes for integrating wellness practices into their daily routines. Students were provided with wellness activity ideas for themselves and for their families.

“Our goal is to promote health and wellness with families and employees in a way that will be sustainable throughout the year,” Godfrey said. “We’ve sent out ideas for increasing and maintaining health and wellness throughout the year. So this is a day to raise awareness. It’s a day to recharge. It’s a day to connect with each other. But it’s also a day to remind us of how important it is to continually work on our health and wellness.”

Godfrey, who participated in the cornhole tournament sponsored by Scheels, said there were more activities and discounts provided for this year’s event, thanks to the hard work of the health and wellness team and support from local businesses, including Swig, Holiday Oil, Ahhhsome Relaxation Spa, A Great Escape, Orangetheory Fitness, Delton Lanes, Club Pickleball USA, The Pickler, Jazzercise, HITFIT Gym, Get Away Today, Burn Boot Camp, F45 South Valley, Sköl Crossfit, Kayfabe Cards, Pure Spirit Healing, Beehive Meals, Khorasan Mills, Blomquist Hale and Scheels.