On Sunday, July 9th, 2017, six Wellness Warriors took part in the 11th annual Cyclelogik Hintonburg Centennial 5K. The Wellness Warriors are Causeway clients who seek to improve their physical and mental health to join or return to the competitive job field. Known as one of Ottawa’s fastest and funkiest road races, the race is a great chance for the Wellness Warriors to showcase the efforts of their training as participants of Causeway’s Wellness Program.
The Wellness Program was established in 2007 and is designed to assist individuals having difficulty securing or maintaining jobs due to physical health limitations. The goal of the program is to provide clients with the tools and support necessary to improve their physical and mental well-being through daily routine and exercise, and help re-integrate them into the workforce.
As most individuals in the program experience significant mental health or addiction issues or other barriers to employment, the program provides an inclusive and customized approach to support clients who might otherwise not have access to a gym. “The Wellness Program is a safe and comfortable environment for people who are looking for fitness because a lot of them would not go into a regular gym. They may go into YMCA, but it is still intimidating for them so this gym is a little more comfortable and small since there is not a ton of people in there,” Causeway’s personal trainer, Christopher Kelly says. Mike McLennan, a Wellness Warrior who joined the Wellness Program in February and participated in the Hintonburg 5K run on Sunday shares this sentiment stating, “It’s [The Wellness Program] comfortable and it’s a nice atmosphere. Chris is really helpful and there’s a lot of other good programs to access here.”
For many Wellness Warriors, participating in the Hintonburg 5K is an opportunity to challenge themselves and step out of their comfort zone. “They probably never walked, run or even thought about a 5K in a race with a whole bunch of other people so to actually complete it gives them a sense of accomplishment and in turn more confidence in themselves,” says Kelly.
For McLennan, who had wanted to take part in a marathon, running the 5K was about giving back and supporting Causeway. “I thought it would be best just to take it here and I could raise some money for Causeway and do my part. They give me lots for free. I come here and use the gym for free. I thought I’d give back,” says McLennan. When asked what he most enjoyed about the race, McLennan replied, “I enjoyed the fellowship and the time spent with the other people. They encourage me and I encourage them. It was kind of nice to be sort of family oriented. It made me feel good.”
You can donate in support of the Wellness Program and the Hintonburg 5K here. Your donations ensure that Causeway can continue to cover client registrations for the Hintonburg 5K and provide new equipment for the Wellness Centre. With your help and support, the Wellness Warriors can reach their employment goals!