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Wellness Committee President Labell Washington stands inside the spotless Wellness Center. The committee members, not the Department of General Services, is responsible for keeping the facility clean.

All's well at the Wellness Center
by  Judy Gish
Issue Date: 09/2009

Many new programs, same old price.

In the three years since this publication last reported on the District 7 Wellness Center, the facility has more than fulfilled its early potential.

The yoga classes that were promised have been delivered. Weightwatchers at Work, just an idea initially, has been established at Caltrans for more than a year. More offerings, including lunchtime aerobics, are planned. And the most amazing part: wellness center fees are still at their original price of $100 per year (although yoga and Weight Watchers cost extra).

Two one-hour yoga sessions are offered on Tuesdays, 11:30 and 12:30. Each session lasts for six weeks, costs $50 and is taught by very skilled instructors. “Primary instructor Julie Granita is (academy award-winning actor) Russell Crowe’s yoga teacher,” said Wellness Center Committee President Labell Washington. Granita is assisted by Caltrans employee Charlotte Kay. Wellness Committee member Tami Podesta coordinates the classes.

“The employees really, really love the class,” Washington said. “When they heard we were considering discontinuing it, we were flooded with emails.” The classes take place on the Wellness Center patio and each session has about 12-to-14 participants. Admission is on a first come, first served basis.

The Wellness Committee also has organized programs that are available to all employees, not just Wellness Center members, at no cost. One of those is a walking group which meets daily at 1st and Main Streets at 2 p.m. Led by committee Vice-President Jalil Kahn (a fast walker, we are told) the group walks for about 20 minutes, Washington said. “We’re trying to promote heart and health awareness,” she added. “It’s a safe and free way to get great exercise.”

A new session of Weight Watchers at Work begins September 14. Weekly meetings are on Mondays at 11:30 in conference room 01.041. This session will offer some promotions, including free use of the organization’s ETools, provided enough employees sign up.

“It’s a great benefit to have the Wellness Center here,” Washington said, adding that members are really committed to using it because of the dramatic improvements to their health and well-being. “And you’ll never find another gym that’s $8 a month.”

Employees may join at any time but the fees, which cover the period from January 1 to December 31, are not pro-rated for those who join later.


 

Eliptical machines stand ready to serve Wellness Center members. Yoga classes are taught on the Wellness Center patio, which can accommodate several fitness activities. A workout with a view.