August 19, 2019

By Kay Knox

Well-Being is Vital at WithinReach

Life in the non-profit sector is hard, but that’s not exactly news. We strive every day to build up our communities through responsive and dynamic programs, services and policies, while also balancing the need to always do more with less, convincing funders that building operations infrastructure is critical to providing quality programs, and hiring and retaining a high-performing staff.

Don’t get me wrong, the non-profit sector is an amazing place to work as it is filled with inspiration, compassion, innovation, quality and people who are committed to helping our neighbors, our community and our world thrive.

As the needs of families increase, however, we are faced with the challenge of sustaining business infrastructure that keeps pace with the increasing demand for our programs and services. In addition,   we are faced with doing this as much of our sector is under attack – women’s healthcare rights are being threatened; basic needs programs are being underfunded; supports for immigrant, minority and LGTBQ communities are being dismantled; voter rights protections are being diminished; and environmental protections are being lost. The things we work hard to build every day for the betterment of all have become a greater focus of political division.

In a 2018 blog post focused on research from the report: The New Normal: Capacity Building During a Time of Disruption, the authors identify another critical capacity that non-profits must build to sustain and grow their impact in this time of disruption – the capacity of well-being.

With August being National Wellness Month, I could not agree more that well-being is a vital capacity for our organization. Fortunately, the importance of well-being is not lost at WithinReach. In fact, it is one of our core values. We believe all people thrive when they experience balance in body, mind and spirit and feel connected to purpose, people and community. We strive to build pathways to health and well-being for ourselves and the people we serve.

A staff workgroup called the “G Crew” plans events and activities year-round geared toward increasing our physical, mental and community well-being. One week each year they plan “Healthy You Week” – a week of activities to help us all prioritize our health and well-being, including a wellness walk, stair climb challenge, all-staff salad bar lunch, desk-to-desk tea service and guided meditation.

On a daily basis, staff are encouraged to take breaks and rejuvenate in one of our Wellness Rooms, which are outfitted with low lighting, comfortable chairs, blankets and yoga mats and balls. Our “Who Wore It Best?” picture board, highlighting those who are dressed nearly alike, gives staff the chance to share a good laugh.

Working in the non-profit sector has its own unique challenges – most often we are addressing issues that carry weighty consequences when unaddressed, we walk toward human hardship and our work is often seen as nice but not essential. Absolutely, ensuring the well-being of our team must be the #1 capacity we build!

How is your organization building the capacity for well-being during National Wellness Month?