“During the pandemic, people were struggling, and many were coping with that on their own. I wanted to find a way to connect them to resources and make wellness visible and fun.” said Director of Wellness and Support Christina Kim.
That’s how she started thinking about the idea for the Wellness Fair at the beginning of the school year. Kim partnered with both the parent wellness committee and the faculty and staff wellness committee to plan the event, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 3 and 4. The groups were very enthusiastic. “Parents were an integral part of organizing and executing the two days,” she said./p>
The fair brought a wide variety of vendors promoting different aspects of wellness to campus. “Having vendors talk about different kinds of wellness expanded people’s understanding of what types of resources are out there. All students, as well as faculty and staff, were invited to participate in health and wellness activities and learn strategies for healthier lifestyle choices,” Kim said.
Dozens of representatives from local businesses sat at vendor tables educating students, faculty, and staff about mental health, physical fitness, financial wellness, healthy sleep, dental hygiene, and more. A food truck offered healthy smoothies to attendees. “Vendors were really excited to be there because they hadn’t been able to attend a fair in a long time.” In addition to vendors, Upper School student leaders from Peer Ed, the Mindfulness Club, and One Love, as well as Gilman faculty also represented booths on wellness.
Everyone who visited was given a wellness card to take to different stations to get stamped. Fully stamped cards could be submitted for raffle prizes. Vendors commented that the students who stopped by their stations didn’t just get their cards stamped; they were engaged in the educational components, too. Faculty and staff had an opportunity to visit booths to learn more about their HR benefits and get biometric screenings.
Now that the event is over, Kim is looking ahead to what the future may hold for the Wellness Fair. “Maybe it can expand beyond Gilman. It could include families and more community members. This was just a start,” she said.
Kim hopes the message people took away from the event is that wellness is fun and important, and there are people available to help. “We’re in it together.”