The Wellness Committee at Honeoye CSD has two new co-coordinators. Jennifer Green, district clerk for the superintendent of schools at Honeoye CSD served as wellness coordinator then took a three-year break. Last September, Green reprised her role and asked Deb Vanderbroek, a teaching assistant, to share the position as a wellness co-coordinator.

Becoming a wellness coordinator was a natural choice for both Green and Vanderbroek whose healthy food habits and lifestyle are influencing some of their choices for the district’s wellness activities. Moreover, staff are eating it up!

A Healthy Fit

Vanderbroek, who has struggled with weight loss her whole life, had tried all sorts of diets and exercises. She discovered a wholesome, healthier approach to wellness when she tried the 10-day, Whole-Foods Plant-Based (WFPB) Challenge, originally organized by Dough Schmidt, wellness coordinator at Victor CSD and enthusiastic WFBP lifestyle advocate. Vanderbroek, liked the results and decided to continue with her new eating habits.

“I did great until my son came home from college two years ago,” says Vanderbroek. “Then I started with my old habits. I made a pact with myself to get back on the WFPB diet when school started in 2019.”

Vanderbroek has stuck with her healthier eating habits about 95% of the time. Not only has she lost weight but she’s been able to get off three of her medications.

“I have more energy. My skin is clear. I just overall feel good!” says Vanderbroek.

When Green asked her to be a wellness co-coordinator, Vanderbroek initially thought it was a good way to keep up with her weight loss. Now, she wants to help others live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Like Vanderbroek, Green also began the WFPB diet intrigued by the weight loss and has embraced an improved level of whole-body health.

Delicious December

Before the holiday season, Green and Vanderbroek went to the wellness coordinator meeting in Victor, NY. At the meeting, cookies from Sweet Pea, a WFPB kitchen from Rochester NY, were served. That sparked an idea. With both Green and Vanderbroek being plant-based coaches for the Honeoye CSD, they thought a WFPB cookie exchange would be a great idea.

There were 11 participants for the event, which worked like a cookie exchange but with WFPB treats. Additionally, they ordered cookie trays from Sweet Pea for staff members across the district. Cookies were delivered to transportation and the offices for the elementary, high school and district offices. Staff members were encouraged to come down and help themselves to the guilt-free goodies.

“People couldn’t believe the cookies were plant-based. It was lots of fun!” says Vanderbroek.

After all of December’s treats, the official 10-day WFPB challenge kicks off on Jan. 13.

“Because we’re the WFPB coaches for the district, incorporating a WFPB focus comes naturally,” says Vanderbroek.

Expanding Ideas

Green and Vanderbroek are bringing other activities to the district as well. Vanderbroek walks a lot at home with her two yellow labs. She and Green have a shared vision of getting staff to move more as well. They hope to offer a variety of engaging events designed to encourage more movement and a wholesome lifestyle.

For the lineup, the co-coordinators are hoping to bring a massage therapist to provide chair massages at the school. A water challenge is on tap. April is the annual Rally Around the Valley race, an 18-mile race around Honeoye Lake, which serves as a fundraiser for the cross-country team. Ideas include incentives for staff to sign-up. They’d also like to make the BeachBody® workout program that the school purchased available to staff on a regular basis.

“We want people to participate and help them find things that interest them. It’s an exciting time,” says Vanderbroek.