Nearly 450 people gathered for the Stapleton Foundation’s Sixth Annual be well Healthy Living Awards and Community Celebration. The annual awards recognize individuals, businesses and organizations helping to make their neighborhoods healthier.
The be well Health and Wellness Initiative is a nonprofit that focuses on getting people the resources they need to be healthy, happy and active. Eleven be well volunteers received awards at the banquet.
“I’m really big into health and wellness. People who live healthier are happier,” says Gabrielle Day, 13, an eighth-grader at McAuliffe International School who received the Youth Community Advocate of the Year Award. The gym teacher at McAuliffe nominated her for the award.
Day joined be well two years ago to help organize community events that promote healthy living. This year she participated in a majority of the be well events, including the annual Walkfest, hosted by the Northeast Transportation Connections, where people walk the neighborhoods to get to know resources nearby. Day hosted a booth and had scavenger hunts for kids. At McAuliffe, she’s researched what healthy foods students enjoy in the cafeteria and started to work with the kitchen manager to eliminate unhealthy foods.
Within her family, Day is promoting a healthy lifestyle. She’s taught her family about reading food labels and eating organic. She and her family now run a 5K every year together. “I was surprised when I reviewed my participation for the year. I didn’t even realize I had done that many things. I just really love it,” she says.
Charles Doss, 59, an Aurora resident, received the award for Physical Activity Leadership. He has volunteered with be well for eight years and teaches weekly line dancing classes. “This is something that’s really fun; it makes you get up and move. You can make it what you want. Come out and move, have fun, laugh, and laugh at each other,” he says.
He started line dancing about eight years ago and performed for birthdays, mostly for the free chicken at the parties, he admits. It has become a huge passion for him and helped him get outside of his comfort zone. “It keeps me young,” he says. “I never thought I would be doing this at my age. I used to be shy. Talk to women? No, I would run. Now I can’t shut up. I want everyone around me to be happy and loving life.”
Doss knows more than 400 line dances off the top his head. He teaches line dancing 6:30–7:30pm on Thursdays at Hiawatha Davis and 9:15–10:15am at Martin Luther King Rec Center. Doss’s classes are free and welcome to anyone—he has dancers ages 8–80. “I get you motivated. When I see someone get it and the joy on their face, that’s a wonderful feeling.”
To learn more about be well and the variety of events they offer, visit http://bewellconnect.net/.