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New ‘Breathe!’ program to help Fort Wayne-area teachers, key school staff with learning how to manage rest, stress

The new "Breathe! Strategic Wellness for Today's Educators" program seeks to help area kindergarten-grade 12 educators learn how to manage rest and stress. (Courtesy of FreeImages.com)

When Brenda Jank was thinking about people who could benefit from training about how to manage stress and maintain wellness, she immediately thought of teachers.

“They are on such the cutting edge of what is important,” said Jank, who provides rest and wellness training through her organization Run Hard, Rest Well.

That’s why she worked with northeast Indiana’s Region 8 Education Service Center to develop the “Breathe! Strategic Wellness for Today’s Educators” program for area educators working in kindergarten through grade 12. The program will help teachers, principals, guidance counselors and school nurses learn to manage their rest and wellness.

Sign-ups begin 8:30 a.m. Saturday and continue through Jan. 31 at runhardrestwell.com/breathe.

The first 50 K-12 educators to sign up can attend free and bring two friends at no cost, Jank said. After the first 50 registrations, the cost is $40 per person.

The training includes a half-day retreat, a one-hour follow-up meeting once a month for six months and online support during the six months, Jank said.

She hopes people who go through the program will share what they have learned with other educators they know or at their school.

“The goal here is to teach educators how to find that life balance,” said Josh Wenning, executive director of Region 8. The education service center is a regional cooperative that provides professional development and other support services to 34 public school districts and private, parochial and charter schools in Allen and 14 other counties in northeast Indiana.

Teachers face a lot of stress from managing their classroom, worrying about whether students’ needs are met, and coping with frequent changes in state performance standards and expectations, Wenning said.

When Jank approached him about collaborating on a grant application to provide wellness training for educators, it made sense, he said.

The $25,000 grant from Ambassador Enterprises covers operating costs for one year of the program, Jank said.

“The hope is we will be able to continue this endeavor,” she said.

This won’t be a typical wellness program, most of which focus on eating and fitness, Jank said.

Run Hard, Rest Well takes a more holistic approach, she said, by focusing on the four types of rest people need to remain refreshed:

• Physical – Getting good sleep.

• Relational – Committing to taking time away each week to refresh yourself.

• Emotional – Taking a brief pause in the day, such as sitting outside for 5 minutes.

• Spiritual – Becoming more self-aware, which could include building on aspects of your faith. She also will offer “faith-sensitive” sessions that aren’t tied as strongly to a faith.

Program participants will begin with a half-day retreat, Jank said. The retreats will be offered on various weekdays and weekends from March through June to make it easier for educators to fit it into their schedules.

The retreat will be active and interactive, she said, with some work in small groups, lots of laughter and an hour of personal retreat time. The training will continue with a one-hour meeting held each month for the six months following the retreat, she said. “Breathe!” participants also will receive online support during the same time period.

Educators who take part in “Breathe!” will receive Personal Growth Points (PGP) to meet their continuing education requirements, she said.

Any educator who registers can participate in the program, Jank said.

“We are hoping there will be hundreds, and even thousands, of teachers we can serve,” she said.

MANAGING REST, WELLNESS

WHAT: The “Breathe! Strategic Wellness for Today’s Educators” program will instruct area kindergarten-grade 12 educators, principals, guidance counselors and school nurses on how to manage their rest and wellness. A special wellness book is included.

WHEN: Half-day retreat on a date from March through June, followed by one-hour meetings monthly for six months. Retreat dates will be determined based on a survey of people who sign up for the program.

WHERE: As of now, The Summit at 1027 W. Rudisill Blvd. and Camp Lutherhaven, 1596 S. Noble County Road 150W near Albion. Other locations may be added if needed.

COST: Free for the first 50 educators to register, $40 per person afterward. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and continues through Jan. 31 at https://runhardrestwell.com/breathe.

INFORMATION: https://runhardrestwell.com/breathe

NOTE:

• The first 25 K-12 educators to register will receive a $200 gift that can be used on any wellness gift of their choosing. The names of additional people who register will be placed in a random drawing, with 25 names selected to also receive a $200 gift for use on personal wellness.

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