Community members fill the Salt River High School band room for a 20 min Zumba class.

Wellness Expo Educates Community Families on the Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

By Tasha Silverhorn
Au-Authm Action News

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community is trying its best to ensure the health and well-being of its Community members and employees. As part of this effort, the SRPMIC Tribal Council implemented the Community Wellness Program to jump-start health awareness. The goal of the program is to help Community members and employees become more aware of their health to ensure they live long and healthy lives, spiritually and physically.

On July 23, the program’s second annual Wellness Expo was held at Salt River High School. More than 250 Community members and their immediate family members attended.

The morning began with registration and a Nike duffel bag handed out to the first 100 attendees.

Each person received a card listing the workshops at the Expo, with three blank spaces to get stamped after attending two exercise classes and one health education class. The completed cards were entered into a drawing held at the end of the Expo.

As participants made their way into the auditorium, they browsed at a number of informational booths, learning about health-related programs within the Community and talking to businesses that offered information on healthy lifestyles.

Council Member Deanna Scabby thanked the Wellness Strategy Team for their efforts.

“There is a Wellness Strategy Team whose specific purpose is to assist the employees and Community members to become more physically fit, in body, mind, and spirit. The reason is if there is wellness in the home, then it’s important to extend that to your children,” said Scabby. “This is one of the things that Council wants to continue to pursue, that each one of us is well in every capacity possible, because when we are, we are successful at school, work and whenever we go out do recreational activities; we’re trying to do our best in every way.”

Building a Better You
The keynote speaker was former Scottsdale Community College football coach and motivational speaker John Avianantos. He focused on how to motivate and develop a great attitude for wellness and “build a better you.” Avianantos began his speech this way: “‘Your task is to build a better world,’ God said. I answered, ‘How? This world is such a large, vast place and so complicated now, and I am so small and useless and there’s nothing I can do.’ And God, in all his wisdom said, ‘Just build a better you.’”

In his speech, he touched on three main points, giving examples and telling stories for emphasis. The first point: Don’t let others put limits on you.

“How many human beings don’t even attempt anymore, because they know that they can’t? It has happened to every one of us in this room, because someone already told you that you’ll never lose that much weight, you’ll never get that job, you’ll never make that much money. But don’t believe them. When someone tells you that, DON’T BELIEVE THEM!” said Avianantos.

The second point he addressed was the importance of taking care of your “big rocks.”

“First take care of your health, take care of your kids, do your important things first, then you get caught up in the business of the day.”

His third point: love your life.

“I have three children, and as they were growing up I never missed a day to tell them how much I love them,” said Avianantos. “Tell and show the people you love how much you love them, because you never know when you might not get another chance.”

Avianantos told a story about two partners who started a Chinese bamboo plant farm. One of the partners would work the farm, making sure the plants were watered and fertilized. After a year, nothing had grown; the second year, also nothing; and nothing in the third and fourth year. Finally, in the fifth year, they saw little sprouts popping out of the ground.

“In the next 60 days, those little sprouts grew up to 90 feet high. I asked what was happening all those years when nothing was growing. The bamboo farmers answered, ‘The root system was going deep and wide to support the plants; otherwise, with the first wind, the plants would blow over.’”

“The same thing happens with human beings,” Avianantos said. “Sometimes you do everything right—you’re on a diet and exercising and doing everything else, but nothing happens and you don’t see any results. Don’t quit. Don’t give up. Good actions give good results in time.”
Avianantos also spoke about the power of influence.

“I’m here to tell you that everything you do influences your children, everything you do influences your Community and impacts all the people you know. The message is very simple: Be that person that everyone looks up to. Be that person that’s a positive influence, be that person that when you walk in the room, you can change the attitude in that room; be that power of influence,” said Avianantos.

Exercise and Health Education
The exercise and health education classes ran 20 minutes each and included Zumba, Mousercise, Senior Chair Yoga, Pilates, Line Dancing, Boot Camp, Senior Steppers, Yoga, Foam Roller 101, Golf Swing, Community Gardening, a Chipotle Guacamole Demo, Understanding Food Labels, Cooking Talking Stick Style, and more. Participants were able to take part in up to four sessions.

Participants were also treated to lunch provided by Chipotle, and 10-minute massages provided by Community-member massage therapists.

Attendee Impressions
Community families were excited about participating in the Wellness Expo. Some were there to find out what they can do to be active and healthy at home, and some wanted to learn more ideas for keeping up their fitness.

Rito Lopez: “We came today to see all the different options we have to exercise with the kids. We are looking forward to the Mousercise for the kids.”

Parker and Karen Loring: This couple works out at the Salt River Fitness Center as often as they can and decided to attend the Wellness Expo to learn what else they can do to stay fit.

“We participated in the boot camp workout,” said Loring. “We are looking forward to the kickboxing this afternoon.”

Carol Silversmith and Steve Lopez: These two attended the Wellness Expo to learn new classes.

“We took the boot camp and line dancing, which I liked because it was continuous cardio; I thought I would be tired after taking both classes one after another, but I feel good,” said Lopez. “The last class we have to take is an education class, and we’re probably going to look for one that educates us on diabetes. Because we both come from a long line of family with diabetes and we want to be educated on that,” said Silversmith.

The day ended with the prize drawings. The grand prize, a HealthRider Treadmill, went to Maria Chavez. The teen grand prize went to Teya Johnson, who won an Apple iPod Touch. The children’s grand prize winner was RedCloud Webster who won a trampoline.

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