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Nurturing Health & Wellness in Women – Our Story
The Neighbourhood Small Grants have been a vibrant part of the community for many years. We have watched a variety of activities light up neighbourhoods and bring people together. This year we wanted to be a part of the excitement and create opportunities for women in our neighbourhood to connect, share and grow their personal goals.
After a couple of ‘dreaming and brainstorming’ sessions we came up with Nurturing Health & Wellness in Women. Our project consisted of two parts: goal-setting for self-care with collages and taking small steps towards the goal. Both sessions included mindful breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga practice. We also gave participants a self-care resource list as they began to explore and work on their goals. Our intention was to create a network for women who may want support and suggestions in moving forward in their lives. Participants were free to choose goals that felt right for them.
Nuts & Bolts:
Killarney Community Centre generously donated a space free of charge for our project and we were able to host the activities in an accessible and comfortable space. We developed a poster that we posted within our neighbourhood and also shared through various social media. Over the course of a month we gathered supplies (journals, construction paper, magazines, markers), and managed to get 6 women interested in the first session and an additional 4 women expressing interest in the second session. Participants were required to have completed the collage and goal-setting session in order to do the second session thus we were in the uncomfortable position of having to limit enrollment and turn women away. Sessions were scheduled on two consecutive Saturdays from 10am – 1pm and women were welcomed into the circle with music and healthy snacks at the ready.
Day 1 – We co-facilitated sessions, each taking a piece of the work that we felt comfortable and skilled in. Following an opening round with introductions, we did some housekeeping and setting of guidelines to keep participants safe in the 2-day workshop. We used a mix of both couple-work and all-group work to support women in ‘thinking/dreaming’ about what inspired them to sign up for the workshop and what types of goals they may consider setting. We stressed that all ideas were welcome and no goal was ‘too small’ (i.e. doing one’s laundry was equally valid as losing 10lbs). Women then created a collage/vision board for themselves and shared within the group. To close the day we offered chair yoga and encouraged women to participate to their comfort level.
Day 2 – The day began with women sharing how they were feeling and naming one step they’d taken (small or big) towards their goal of self-care. The rest of the session was a mix of a guided meditation, journaling in notebooks, and a review of the take-away ‘Resource Sheet’ that we had developed. The session was capped off with a short yoga session followed by a closing round. Participants were asked to complete a feedback form so that we could evaluate the project.
Participants unanimously rated the project as ‘excellent’ and felt the vision board, self-care discussion, yoga & meditation, and resource list were all useful. The time of day (Saturdays from 10am – 1pm) worked for them. All but one participant wanted more workshops with a focus on ‘self-care’ and ‘improving how I feel’ (one wanted Cognitive Behaviour Therapy).
Overall, we are very pleased with the outcomes of this project and grateful for the opportunity to develop workshops that benefit community members. The ‘take-away’ resource list allows women to feel supported beyond the scope of this two-day workshop. We would love to build on our work and plan to submit an application to NSG in 2019.