Exploring the seven dimensions of wellness
Emotional: Cope with challenges and share feelings in a productive manner /// Lifesong for Growth and Wellness
As a children’s therapist, Erika Barrett sees firsthand how a child’s emotional health impacts every other aspect of his or her life, from school performance to relationships to physical health.
“We try to balance a lot of different aspects of our lives,” Barrett says. “That’s what we do as mental health counselors: help kids and their parents find more of a balance.”
At Lifesong for Growth and Wellness, Barrett sees kids for issues such as anxiety, depression, life transitions such as divorce, behavioral issues, eating disorders, and trauma. With her youngest clients, Barrett works to teach them about feelings and how to communicate those feelings with words. Often, parents play a large role in the process.
“Involving the parents is very eye-opening,” Barrett says. “It is very empowering for kids when parents show an interest in what their experience is by listening, asking questions, and trying to get a better understanding of where they’re coming from.”
Barrett sees many children with anxiety that has been noted at home or at school, and she encourages parents to consider how things such as television can cause anxiety in children.
“If there is an event happening in the world, and they’re watching TV, they get scared and don’t understand, which creates anxiety,” Barrett says. “They may not want to go to school because they are afraid something is going to happen. Then being scared at school leads to not eating or having trouble concentrating or becoming depressed. It is all intertwined.”
With counselors specializing in everything from marriage counseling and grief to behavioral issues and weight management, Lifesong’s team of counselors is well-trained to support the entire family’s emotional health
For more information, call 573-644-7909.
Intellectual: Educational, career, achievement, career development /// Sylvan Learning Center of Columbia, Jefferson City and Moberly
The work going on inside the doors of Sylvan Learning Center is truly life-changing. That’s because it can completely alter the course of a child’s future, says Center Director Jill Dudley.
“A lot of the students we see come into our doors and are 100 percent intelligent, fun people who start to give up on school and on themselves when school becomes difficult,” Dudley says. “When we help them see they are smart, it makes all the difference on their perspective and outlook on what they can achieve in the future.”
Sylvan and its team of state-certified teachers help students in kindergarten through college improve their reading, math and writing skills. Students will also find help with study skills, homework and ACT preparation.
Students first complete a skills assessment, allowing instructors to prepare an individualized learning plan for each student that focuses on his or her specific skills gap. Improving skills has another welcome effect: rebuilding the confidence and motivation that can be lost when students struggle.
For added convenience and flexibility, Sylvan’s Jefferson City location is open five days per week, and clients can choose from a variety of payment options.
“With our personalized approach, quality of instructors and passion for helping kids, the programs work, absolutely,” Dudley says. “It is very powerful to see what we see.”
For more information, call 573-815-0999.
Physical Health: Fitness, nutrition /// Howard’s ATA Martial Arts
At Howard’s ATA Martial Arts, children aren’t just improving their physical health; they’re also learning life skills such as self-control, confidence, respect, self-awareness and perseverance.
“In this computer and video game era, physical activity has dwindled and is a necessity, but martial arts also incorporates life skills above and beyond what you get in other activities,” says Lori Howard, who co-owns Howard’s with her husband, Rob.
As early as 2 years old, children can begin developmentally appropriate martial arts classes teaching basic taekwondo technique. But children of all ages gain much more than knowledge of martial arts. Cooperation with adults and other children, sharing and following directions are just some of the added benefits. Leadership, discipline, order and respect are other key concepts.
“We teach courtesy and respect from the get go,” Howard says. “We start every class with a bow and by saying, ‘Hello, sir’ or, ‘Hello, ma’am’ and end every class with a courtesy bow to whoever brought us to class and supports us in our martial arts training. That is a big part of the program.”
As students build their martial arts skills, they also build self-confidence. Howard says they want every student to feel good about themselves when they leave class.
The Howards are also committed to keeping kids safe from bullying, and they regularly conduct programs that help kids learn both the impact that their words can have as well as how to protect themselves from bullying.
“Our seminars will teach your child the dangers of bullying, how to avoid bullying and what to do when bullying becomes violent,” Howard says.
While students train their muscles to grow strong on a flexible schedule that meets their needs, one thing remains consistent: Howard’s ATA students are becoming more confident, disciplined and respectful every step of the way.
For more information, call 573-636-5324.
Environmental: Maximize harmony, positive earth impact /// Runge Nature Center
Enjoy the natural wonders of Missouri fish, forests and wildlife by strolling through exhibits or hiking nature center trails. Inside the center, you will find an indoor wildlife viewing area, nature library and small gift shop. Visitors can also explore more than 3,000 square feet of exhibits that lead you through a myriad of Missouri’s natural habitats. Featured in the exhibit are live amphibians and reptiles, hands-on activities and a 3,580-gallon fish aquarium.
This year, Runge Nature Center kicks off its Vitamin N campaign, meaning Vitamin Nature. The campaign showcases programs to motivate more individuals and families to reconnect with the natural side of things and, in the process, reap the many health benefits and increase their quality of life, says Becky Matney, naturalist, at the Runge Conservation Nature Center.
In the January newsletter, Dr. Mary Brown, a past member of the AAP Board of Directors, explains: “Vitamin N [the health benefits of time spent in nature] should find its place in the list of essential vitamins. If we stress a connection to the natural environment…we can lessen the lifelong effects of a stressful childhood including depression, obesity, behavior problems, drug use and risk-taking behavior.”
Runge Nature Center Discover Nature programs such as the Little Acorn program for children ages 3 to 6 and Conservation Kids’ Club for ages 6 to 12 allows children to connect with nature with an exciting array of age-appropriate opportunities designed to discover and explore the outdoors while providing expert knowledge and hands-on activities. The organization also offers assistance with some nature-related Boy Scout badges.
For more information, call 573-526-5544.
Occupational: Leadership, job-related personal fulfillment /// YMCA Enrichment Courses
Since 1949, Missouri YMCA Youth In Government has provided students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and experience democracy. Based on the motto
“Democracy Must Be Learned By Each Generation,” YIG is a statewide educational program that involves more than 800 Missouri youth each year in various programs.
Participants of the Missouri YMCA Youth In Government State Convention held each fall at the State Capitol is the culmination of months of preparation by delegations that have been meeting all fall to prepare for the three-day mock government session.
The experience is designed to familiarize students (eighth through 12th grades) with the decision-making process at the state level. Involving student delegates in a model state legislature, judiciary, press corps and lobbying program encourages life-long responsible citizenship and understanding of political processes.
The Jefferson City Area YMCA, with the YIG state office located in Jefferson City, operates the Missouri YMCA Youth In Government program. Membership in the YMCA is not required to participate in YIG.
For more information, call 573-761-9178.
Spiritual: Love, hope, charity, purpose /// Jefferson City Area Young Life
Each year, more than 100,000 kids around the world spend a week or a weekend at Young Life camp, where they have an experience that many describe as the “best of
their lives.” While at camp, they are able to get away from the pressures of everyday life and have fun with friends and Young Life leaders while hearing the message of God’s love in terms they can understand.
Young Life began with a few simple ideas about sharing the truth of God’s love with adolescents. Since 1941, this nondenominational organization has worked to build and foster strong relationships with high schoolers while introducing them to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. Seven decades later, those simple ideas have become time-tested methods for reaching out to middle school, high school and college students in friendship and hope.
This mission is accomplished by providing experiences that are fun, adventurous and life-changing while helping young people develop the skills, assets and attitudes to reach their full God-given potential by working with a team of like-minded individuals, including volunteer leaders, committee members, donors and staff. The organization also embraces kids who often are overlooked: those from economically depressed communities, kids with disabilities and teenage mothers.
Young Life leaders log many hours with kids. Part of this unique and lifelong relationship is to listen to their stories and learn what’s important to them such as their joys, triumphs, heartaches and setbacks. By placing caring adults alongside kids and believing in the power of presence, kids can begin to see that their lives have great worth, meaning and purpose.
For more information email email@example.com.
Social Health: Communities, families and friends /// Hy-Vee Kids’ Cooking Class
One Saturday each month, Hy-Vee’s registered dietitian, Lindsey Koelling, and 15 kids between the ages of 4 and 11 are busy cracking eggs, stirring, dicing and chopping in Hy-Vee’s Club Room. No matter the recipes of the day, everyone plays a role in creating the dish during the two-hour kids’ cooking class.
Homemade noodles, sweet potato casserole, smoothies, calzones and hot cocoa are just a few of the recipes the kids have made since the class began a little more than three years ago. “I love cooking with kids; they are so much fun,” Koelling says. “If they cook it, they usually want to taste what they made, which also helps them try new foods.”
Koelling’s goal is to encourage kids to become more involved in cooking by teaching them kitchen basics such as how to measure. She also wants them to learn how foods look in their original form, like how an orange looks before it is peeled. After each recipe is complete, the kids sample their hard work. Although not all recipes get a thumbs up from the class, Koelling says they still enjoy the process of preparing the dishes.
Registration opens on the 15th of each month, and the class is $10 per child. Register by calling 573-893-2505.
Dental Health /// Capital Dentistry for Children
A country western theme, complete with a comfy “cowch,” sets the tone for every visit to Capital City Dentistry for Children. The only board-certified pediatric dentists in Jefferson City know that kids need a little extra attention. They also know how to put them at ease and have been specially trained to take care of kids from their first tooth until they go off to college.
“Our mission is to provide the finest quality dental care in a safe, caring and fun environment for each child,” says Dr. Greg Stine, one of three pediatric dentists at Capital City Dentistry. “We are very devoted to making sure every child has a positive experience during their visit.”
And the “Prize Palace” often ensures that even the youngest patients leave with a smile. After earning tokens for good behavior throughout their visit, kids cash in their coins in one of six vending machines filled with everything from bouncy balls to toy animals, which gives them something to look forward to throughout the visit.
Such kid-friendly practices put kids at ease, whether they’re seeing Dr. Stine, Dr. Robert Coyle or Dr. Maice Scott for a routine cleaning or for a more complex issue. Each member of the Capital City Dentistry team is committed to taking the time to make each child feel comfortable and safe in the office.
“Because of the specialty training of our doctors, children are our livelihood,” Stine says. “The sooner we can start a positive relationship, the better.”
For more information, call 573-634-1990 or visit capitaldentistryforchildren.com.