Auxiliary spreads wellness message

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Margaretville — The Wellness Committee of the Auxiliary of Margaretville Hospital and Mountainside Residential Care Center continues to promote healthy lifestyles for residents of local communities.
The committee traces its origins back nearly two decades when Margaretville residents Terry Cohen and Donna Sanford were among a group of auxiliary members who realized that spreading the word about wellness should be an organizational goal. To begin this effort, the group participated in a number of hospital-sponsored events and was very successful in getting the wellness message out to the public.
During the ensuing years the Wellness Committee sponsored and participated in numerous events aimed at highlighting healthy lifestyles. The committee helped to spread its message by hosting several Wellness Fairs, a Labyrinth Walk, sponsorship of the community ice skating rink in Margaretville and by providing information at each of the hospital’s twice yearly Health Fairs.

Riedl nameed chair
John Riedl joined the Wellness Committee five years ago and soon become the group’s chairman. He helped usher in a number of new programs to help achieve the committee’s goals.
“It (wellness) was always an interest of mine, so I became involved to see what we could do to advocate for programs in the auxiliary and hospital that would focus on wellness,” Mr. Riedl explained.
Among the first items undertaken by the group was establishing a Wellness Week in 2009. The varied events hosted throughout the week were all designed to shine a spotlight on healthy living choices.
The committee meets once a month and its members are always enthusiastic about promoting the wellness message. The organization’s Mission Statement is as follows: “Our Community Wellness Project develops and supports programs that enhance the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual well-being of the residents and community.”
Mr. Riedl explained, “One of the best parts of this group is that we have a core of about 10-15 people who consistently come to the meetings and help us get things done.”
The revitalized committee began a series of community outreach projects, among them: carrying out the wellness message via programs at area schools, in conjunction with the Delaware County Cooperative Extension and via organizations involving senior citizens.
At Margaretville Central School, an annual Wellness Day has been established each spring and includes a 5K Walk/Run named in honor of Mr. Riedl (a retired MCS superintendent). Programs have also included a Food Play and Jump For Jill, programs designed to focus on healthy eating and exercise, respectively.
In an effort to better reach senior citizens with the wellness message, the committee has worked with a number of agencies, including the Delaware County Office of Aging and has participated in a Summer Camp for Seniors in Delhi.
In November 2009, the group held the first program in the Marian Connell Wellness Education Series. The public presentation featured Dr. Eugene Heslin speaking about all aspects of diabetes. The committee has since sponsored more than a dozen programs in the wellness series, focusing on a range of topics. Each presentation provides information about various wellness-related subjects and promotes healthy lifestyles.

Committee support
HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley® helps support the series by funding videotaping of each session so that the programs can be shown on cable TV on the Margaretville and Delhi systems. CDs of the programs are produced and can be purchased by the public.
The committee also broadcasts its message during an hour-long program titled “Wellness Wednesday” on WIOX Community Radio in Roxbury. The program is co-hosted by Mr. Riedl and Fred Margulies.
A website, Margaretvillewellness.com, lists past and future activities and archives the work done by the group. This website is the main location to find the videos for the Marian Connell Wellness Education Series. The committee is in the process of creating a monthly news article on wellness activities.
The Wellness Committee is continually looking for new ways to promote the wellness message.
“We always look at how we can better serve our community. We are trying to keep the community aware of the benefits of keeping healthy,” he pointed out.
“The hospital and HealthAlliance have been very supportive of our efforts – providing financial support, meeting space and opportunities for us to participate in various activities. We have a friendly and open relationship that we hope benefits them as well as us,” Mr. Riedl commented.
The Wellness Committee is continuing to explore new avenues to keep the community informed about its programs.
Looking back upon the organization’s work over the past two decades, Mr. Riedl said that a tremendous amount of credit must be given to Margaretville resident Terry Cohen.
“She’s an amazing woman and there would be no Wellness Committee without her efforts. She continues to be always involved and her contributions are invaluable,” he stated.
Margaretville Hospital is located at 42084 State Highway 28, Margaretville. For additional information about the Wellness Committee, please contact Mr. Riedl at 607 588-7711.