Creighton University’s Center for Health Promotion and Well-Being partnered with FITgirl, Inc., on Feb. 28 to provide 60 Omaha girls with direct, hands-on learning experiences designed to encourage physical fitness and emotional wellbeing.
A 90-minute beach-themed Zoom seminar titled “Catch the Wellness Wave” addressed self love, sun safety and self care during breakout sessions led by students enrolled in an academic service-learning course through Creighton Graduate School master’s program in Integrative Health and Wellness. The children, aged between 8 and 11 years old, had been unable to pursue normal FITgirl activities due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements. The Zoom seminar were an opportunity for them to recover their sense of community while engaging in fun activities.
“The girls made ‘inspirational message boards’ where they wrote down statements or quotes that are impactful to them and then decorated the boards with things like seashells and flower petals,” says Creighton’s Vicki Bautista, EdD, assistant program director, Integrative Health and Wellness
The girls also made bracelets with UV beads that change color when conditions outside suggest that sunscreen should be applied.
Those materials were contained in boxes that were picked up by the girls’ parents.
The boxes themselves are intended to be useful keepsakes, Bautista says.
“They will be places to put things that make the girls feel happy,” Bautista says. “So when they have a day where they might of had an argument with a friend, or had a bad day at school, they can visit their box and find a positive statement, or perhaps view something like a picture of a friend or a family member, or perhaps a toy or keepsake they got somewhere or somebody once gave to them. We are hoping the box will be a tool to help the girls reframe their emotions to a healthier state.”
Stephanie Corbelli, an Integrative Health and Wellness student who participated from Everett, Washington, says the Zoom program was a highlight of her Creighton studies.
“Participating in the academic service event marked one of my favorite experiences thus far,” she says, “The wellness event let me share about something I’m passionate about ,and when it was finished, I felt so much joy because it felt like I made a difference.”
FITgirl, Inc., led by Cheri Dickmeyer, BSBA, is an Omaha-based nonprofit that offers pre-teen and teen girls mini-camps, 12-week empowerment classes, yoga and fitness classes, mother-and-daughter self-defense classes and dad-and-daughter activities in an effort to build physical, mental and emotional wholeness.
"As children may be impacted in multiple ways by the pandemic, it is critical that we are mindful of their physical and emotional well-being,” Dickmeyer says. “Creighton Center for Health Promotion and Well-Being and FITGirl, Inc., wanted to provide a fun, educational online wellness event that provided a sense of connection and motivated girls to take responsibility for their physical and mental health by incorporating lessons taught by graduate students in the Masters of Integrative Health and Wellness program about self-love, self-care, and mindfulness."