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Central Service Employees Survive "Wellness Island"

The top 4 place winners in the UCPS Central Services "Survivor Wellness Island"
Standing (left to right): (4th)Karen Smith, Administrative Assistant for the UCPS Afterschool Program, (3rd) Don Mace, UCPS Web Communications Coordinator Sitting (left to right): (2nd) Donna Mullarkey, Administrative Assistant for Dr. Mary Ellis and (1st) Wendy Nielsen, School Nurse Supervisor

Union County Public Schools is working hard to ensure that its employees learn about and become more involved in a lifestyle of wellness. Over the years, several programs have been implemented to help UCPS employees understand that a healthy lifestyle impacts every part of their day-to-day work environment.

A good Corporate Wellness Program will also help reduce stress, which the United Nations has called "the 20th Century Disease." A large majority of office workers complain that their jobs are stressful - a problem that affects all levels within an organization. Stress from the workday also affects our personal relationships and activities. Human beings are just not designed to magically morph into someone else as we leave our work environment.

Taking advantage of programs offered not only will help you succeed more during work hours, it will give you more energy and patience for your home and personal life as well.

Recently, 46 UCPS employees competed in “Survivor Wellness Island.” This program was developed by Teresa Carnevale, RN MSN, a clinical instructor with Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory and was administered by Jane Thompson, UCPS School Nurse Supervisor. The program takes the “tribal” members of the island through an eight-week journey in wellness habits with the goal of developing a healthy lifestyle (including diet and exercise). The concepts are introduced slowly and build upon each other during the eight weeks. Tribal members that are unable to meet the week’s challenge are “removed” from the island and their torches are extinguished. However, they are still encouraged to participate, but are just not eligible to win.

“This was a wonderful way to build camaraderie between co-workers, accountability, and have fun in the process of developing health life style changes,” said Thompson. “Everyone had positive comments and results.”

Of the 46 original tribe members from the UCPS Central Services, sixteen held on and survived the entire eight-week challenge. During that time, there were also some mystery challenges along the way, which served to challenge and push the tribe members a little more. The 16 winners lost a total of 184.8 pounds, which is about 11.6 pounds per person. Nine more former islanders also weighed in and added approximately 50 more pounds for a total of 234.6 pounds lost.

The top four winners each received a cash prize as well as a one-day family pass to the Monroe Aquatics and Fitness Center. MAFC also donated a protein drink and a protein bar for each of the 16 survivors.

“The challenge now is to maintain these habits, especially since we are not counting grams of fat and protein, which makes it a little harder,” Don Mace, UCPS Web Communications Coordinator and 3rd place winner said. “I am looking forward to what we are going to do next year.”

During the year, 10 of the 53 schools also participated in “Survivor Wellness Island” for their staff.

Congratulations to all of the winners and those who participated!

Survivor Island Survivors

Eleven of the sixteen survivors from the UCPS Central Services Survivor Wellness Island Competition
Standing (left to right): Susan Canup, Kay Whitley, Anna Austin, Debbie Taylor, Annette Kilby, Nancy Massey, Gwen Shealy
Seated (left to right): Donna Mullarkey, Wendy Nielsen, Don Mace, Karen Smith

Written by: Don Mace, UCPS Web Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jun 15, 2010 by Don Mace

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