When my co-worker, Melissa Baker, and I decided we would take on the challenge of putting together a health fair, we had no idea what the turnout would be. I have to admit, most days we pictured a room full of nothing. No vendors, no customers, only Melissa and I with a dream that became a nightmare. But the more we planned and networked and promoted, the more our dream of a successful event became a reality.
After months of planning and to us, blood, sweat and yes, maybe a few tears along the way, we held Globe University’s 1st Annual Central Wisconsin Family Health & Wellness Expo on June 9 at Greenheck Field House in Weston, Wis. Our goal was to bring together local businesses that are focused on family, health and wellness while raising money for a local food pantry, The Neighbors’ Place.
We ended up with more than 50 local businesses, from chiropractors to YWCA instructors to dentists. The Blood Center of Wisconsin held a blood drive at the event, there was a book fair, and we also held a raffle with more than 30 items.
While some expo-goers were enjoying a chair massage from our Globe University-Wausau massage therapy program students (as well as Globe graduates who are now licensed massage therapists, and multiple other LMTs from our community), others were enjoying the speeches or demos held by local businesses throughout the day. Attendees learned about the benefits of a healthy diet, practiced their belly-dancing skills, and even participated in a “boot camp” workout.
We asked for a $2 donation or two non-perishable food items to be donated at the door, and as a result, we were able to present The Neighbors’ Place with a $2,700 check and hundreds of non-perishable food items for their food pantry.
The expo was a labor of love and a great learning experience for both of us. We were able to network with so many wonderful businesses in our community while raising money and food for a great cause. Getting an email from Aidyn Laurynz, Director of Community Support at The Neighbor’s Place made it all worth it when she said, “Thank you so much for taking this on and for contributing to The Neighbors’ Place. It was wonderful to be part of this event and is a HUGE help to our clients. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
We couldn’t have done it without our students, staff and faculty from the Wausau campus, as well as our families, local businesses and our community. It’s wonderful what we can accomplish when we all work together for a worthy cause.
by Kristen Nickel, Massage Therapy Program Chair, Globe University-Wausau