Pop Up Wellness Festival A Big Success

Pop Up Wellness Festival A Big Success
Posted on 11/15/2019
The Montclair Education Association (MEA) and Restorative Justice Montclair (RJM) hosted a Pop-Up Shop Wellness Festival, a free event open to the greater Montclair Community, featuring vendors, community programs, a DJ, and prizes, on Thursday, Nov. 14 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Montclair High School's Main Gym.

"The vision was for an afternoon of healing, health and restoration," said MEA President Petal Robertson. More than 1,000 Montclair staff, students and community members attended the event. Third Ward Councilor Sean Spiller even stopped by to take in the festivities.

wellness festival  wellness festival

Family counselors, fitness instructors, medical professionals, including Optical Academy, who provided free eye exams and free glasses to Montclair students were just some of the more than 30 participating vendors. MEA nurses, with assistance from Rite Aid, gave flu shots and provided blood pressure checks. “We had therapists on site that were working privately with families and educators as well as police officers, LGBTQ+ information and so much more,” said Robertson. “We gave away a lot of school supplies to families and teachers as well as offered lesson ideas. There was a wealth of things that people had access to.”

woman gets flu shot  woman gets blood pressure checked

"This was an opportunity for community building and self-care," said Gayl Shepard, Teacher/Coordinator of Restorative Justice for the Montclair School District.

Attendees had the chance to learn more about RJM and other community programs such as Sister to Sister, the PTA Council, Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence, to just name a few that were on hand to share information.

PTA Council  MEA group

“This was really exciting for our first time co-sponsoring an event like this,” said Robertson. “The goal was to touch on mental, emotional and physical health and it worked out so well. We also had Montclair High School students from Peer Leadership, the Black Student Union, Key Club and Restorative Justice volunteering throughout the day.”

The Wellness Festival was partially funded by the New Jersey Education Association through a PRIDE in Public Education grant. There was much positive feedback from attendees, especially Montclair district employees. “This was a huge morale boost,” said one teacher. Another added, “This was right on time. Just what I needed.” And, “Thank you for caring about mental health.” Said a staff member, “This was a wonderful opportunity for fellowship with my colleagues.”

people talk at fair  people talk at fair

The Montclair Education Association is the union representing more than 1,100 educators employed by the Montclair Public School District. Restorative Justice Montclair is a community-wide effort to institute a commitment to justice, accountability, and collective responsibility in and beyond our schools. “It is our continued pleasure, along with Restorative Justice Montclair, to service the community and its educators,” said Robertson.
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