By Alicia Wilson

The Michigan Wellness Council not only provides gold standard training and education, but we also provide you with a support network of businesses and champions to collaborate with. Here is a small sample of the types of organizations you can connect to and learn from here in the state of Michigan. What can you take from each of these companies that can help you evolve your own wellness strategies? It is not as simple as “cut and paste” rather, the how and why certain initiatives were successful within their current business. Begin with the idea that your goal is to cultivate an environment where all of your employees can function optimally. Here is a taste of some of the best and brightest in Michigan:

The Rhonda Walker Foundation

The Rhonda Walker Foundation was founded to empower inner-city teen girls in Detroit. Girls are nominated for admission into our award-winning five-year comprehensive Girls into Women Program by one of our five Detroit partner schools the spring before they enter the 8th grade by one of our partner schools. Our Girls into Women Program is built on six program pillars: College Prep; Personal Development; Career Development; Health and Wellness; Community Outreach and Cultural Awareness and mentoring. We proudly partner with Burton International Academy; Spain Elementary and Middle School; Brewer Academy; Plymouth Educational Center; and MacDowell Preparatory Academy. In addition, this organization has truly embraced wellness not only for its staff but for the community as well. They have a weekly physical fitness program with certified trainers, staff, teens, parents, volunteers, and board members for a fun-filled workout, as well as lessons on nutrition and healthy living. They constantly strive to serve healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks at all meetings, events, and functions. Their policy dictates that salads and fresh fruit be included in every meal served. They have a strict no soda pop policy and primarily serve water.

Keith Elementary

The purpose of Keith Elementary is to advance the learning of all students. Their mission is to collaboratively inspire and empower all—academically, socially, and emotionally. They consider wellness to be comprised of physical, mental, and social/emotional/spiritual well-being. They have been awarded 1st place multiple times in the Michigan Surgeon General’s Healthy School Environment Recognition Program. This award recognizes schools for excellence regarding healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free lifestyles. In addition, they have been designated an official Michigan Green School. Some of those programs that earned them that award are their Green Club, St. Alexander’s Food Pantry Stuffed Animal Drive, Walk to School Day, Think! Energy, and their new Waste Free Wednesday program.

Marsh & McLennan Agency – Michigan

Marsh & McLennan Agency – Michigan’s goal is to advance health and well-being, as an investment in people for other organizations, as well as their own. This year their Human Resource team tweaked & revamped many of the programs they offer to their employees and clients. Some of these programs are:

  • unconscious bias training conducted by their Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and HR teams;
  • community service programs
  • a web-based wellness portal as a central resource through which their employees and clients can participate in wellness challenges and learn about educational programming, as well as sync tracking devices, such as a FitBits
  • and a mobile app providing employees and clients with immediate access to their benefits information, as well as keep up-to-date with employee benefits and announcements which can be shared with family members.

This company is so heavily focused on Wellness that they maintained a consistent client retention rate of 98% for the past 15 years.