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May wellness events for educators

Much has been said about promoting student wellness in light of all the challenges of the past few years. Now, Kent ISD has come up with a way to promote wellness among school staff as well.

Those who work in any K-12 school, anywhere, are invited to register and/or volunteer for free wellness activities in May.

“Research is showing that one in four educators is navigating some kind of mental health issue,” said Kirsten Myers, Kent ISD Special Education director. “They truly are front-line workers on so many fronts. They work tirelessly on behalf of our students every day, and we want them to be the best they can be.”

The month-long program, called THRIVE, kicks off the week of May 2-6 (which happens to be Educator Appreciation Week). It includes a series of four in-person, one-hour professional development sessions on Mondays; yoga on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and mindfulness practice on Mondays. There also will be weekly drawings for those who attend any activity to win more than 50 half-hour therapeutic massages. All are held on the Kent ISD main campus.

To wrap up, there’s a 5k run/walk on Memorial Day that begins and ends at the Kent ISD main campus. There is a cost to participate in that event, which is open to all.

The district with the most participants in any of the activities will receive a cash prize to continue THRIVE wellness efforts throughout the year.

“When we think about navigating the ongoing implications of COVID and then consider the local, state and national events that have impacted our educators as well as their students … it’s incredibly challenging,” Myers said. “THRIVE was created to provide and amplify the need for self-care so we can promote healthy, growth-oriented educators who can continue to do the amazing work they do, day in and day out.”

Those interested in volunteering or participating in THRIVE events may register here.

The THRIVE effort addresses stresses faced by those who work in education
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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Kent ISD, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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