Building Health with Local Wellness Programs

By Karen Schlick 

The Old School in Musquodoboit Harbour is moving forward with its Wellness Programs. The training program for the facilitators, who will take this program into community groups and facilitate workshops at the Old School, was led by Self Help Connections and completed this past month. 

Self Help Connections specializes in training facilitators for peer-led self-help groups. These groups can then become a key community asset for those who are facing life-changing challenges and transitions.  In a rural area where there is limited access to health services, this model can be a cost- effective approach to building capacity and health among those in our community.  

Through this training, the facilitators used a process to identify their individual communication style and listening techniques.  Dee Dwyer, one of the facilitators who took the training, commented, “Now that I recognize my individual style, I feel I am better equipped to communicate with others who have different communication styles. The training also included how to practice compassionate listening with my peers, the power of empathizing with others, and the importance of setting protective boundaries for myself.”  

Following on the training sessions, the Old School has planned sessions on Wellness topics over the coming months. These Wellness sessions include an information presentation in the morning followed by lunch and an activity session in the afternoon. All sessions are free and registration is required.    

To begin the seriesthe first workshop, held this past month was given by a lawyer who spoke about Wills and Directives and patiently answered the many questions that came from the audienceIn the afternoon, there was an hour’s demonstration of basic Tai Chi steps. This slow movement exercise is ideal for those with arthritis-type mobility challenges. Classes in Tai Chi have been on going on a weekly basis at the Old School for the past few months with comments from participants such as “it takes the stiffness out of my joints” and “it relaxes my muscles and improves my co-ordination” and “it is my place of peace and quiet in a busy day, my stress relief”. Tai Chi will be continuing during the summer and is open to newcomers who wish to try it.  

In June, there will be a session on Financial Scams in the morning followed by lunch and, in the afternoon, a Wellness Fair with a variety of demonstrations and the chance to try a mini treatment. The morning session will cover ways to identify scams and best ways to manage your money.  Contact the Old School for more information and to register.  

Carole Jones, Old School Board Chair said the programs were part of the Old School’s focus on improving the quality of life for everyone in the community: The occurrence of illness and/or chronic disease can happen at any age and can be an inherited condition or caused by life events In many cases, other factors such as stress, the environment, and living conditions can increase the challenges of daily living.  We hope that working with local groups and through our workshops, we can help to reduce the impact of illness-related challenges”.   

The Old School has a library and database of information and resources that any group or individual can access. Presentations for community groups on a variety of topics can be arranged and coordinated through the Old School by calling 902-889-2735 or by email at oldschoolmh@outlook.com. 

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11 E Petpeswick Rd, Musquodoboit Harbour, NS B0J 2L0


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