Jackie’s smile makes it clear how she’s feeling: Great!
Over the past six months, Jackie and her housemates have been learning and developing healthy lifestyle habits. Jackie discovered her love of dancing and started choosing fresh fruit like apples for a snack. She also learned a brand new skill – how to set up Zoom for virtual workout and nutrition sessions. Aspire is streaming live to Jackie’s home in Westchester, Illinois to share wellness tips with her, her friends, and her Aspire support team. “I like to keep myself busy and my mind focused,” said Jackie.
These positive changes are the result of HealthMatters™, an evidence-based, interactive health and wellness program being piloted across Aspire’s 24 Community Homes. Jackie first got excited about HealthMatters last year when aspects of the program were built into her workout group at the Aspire’s Weinberg Career Academy. When asked if she’d like to participate in the new program at the Westchester home, Jackie didn’t hesitate. “I’m in!” she said.
Positive results over the past five years show that the HealthMatters program works. Thanks to a generous gift from the new Beal Family Health and Wellbeing Fund, founded by longtime Aspire donors Maureen and Truitt Beal, HealthMatters will be gradually introduced to participants across each of Aspire’s 24 community homes. For more information about HealthMatters, contact Kristin Krok at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Ever since we started the virtual sessions, Jackie has taken on the role of a helper, making sure everything works and everyone is ready to go,” said Aspire Facilitator Support Coordinator Cindy McCarty, who’s worked with her for the past four years. “She really found her groove.”
That groove is especially evident in sessions where there’s dancing, Jackie’s favorite activity. “Once I hear the beat, I just start dancing,” she said.
Jackie also found her groove with Zoom, a skill she could potentially use on the job, especially in today’s virtual work environment. “I’ve been helping Jackie see how there are ways to be employed in the community without working in the community,” said Cindy.
Jackie credits her new love of exercise and new expertise to “all of the staff at Aspire,” she said. “They’re nice, friendly and here to help if I need it,” she said. “And I like that they give us our time, too.”