Wellness Day is about more than being fit. It is about every aspect of a person’s life.
“The main goal behind it was to do a day that focuses on the black community of course, that would help them in all aspects of their life, not just their finances, but their physical health and mental health,” Natalie Alexis, community outreach coordinator for Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University’s Center for Workforce Development, said about the Feb. 16 Wellness Day at the University’s ROTC building.
Wellness Day brought in screenings for sickle cell, blood pressure, glucose, diabetes screenings, as well as HIV/AIDS.
There were also presentations to give the audience tips on being mentally and financially healthy.
Presentations were on stress management, mental health awareness, tax minimization strategies, college funding strategies, home buying advice and genealogy.
Alexis, also a FAMU alumna said the timing of the event was by no means an accident.
“I thought it would be good to honor Black History Month to create a wellness day,” she said. “It took about a month (to plan). We started thinking about it the first day we got back from the break in January. We knew we had to do something for Black History Month.”
Alexis wanted participants to learn something from the speakers.
“I hope that they learned new things that they had not learned before,” Alexis said.
Christopher Wells, program director of the Sickle Cell Foundation, did sickle cell screenings and provided information on sickle cell disease.
“There is not a lot of attention on the sickle cell disease, not a lot of people know about it. It’s extremely underfunded and all of that plays out in a way patients or clients are treated in hospitals,” Wells said.
“It’s a large misunderstanding of what sickle cell disease is and how it affects individuals in our community.”
According to Wells, 1 in 12 African-American have the sickle cell trait and they tend to be aware that they have it.
Being healthy mentally and financially seems to draw attention in the black community for Black History Month.
R. Vaughn Poppell, president and financial advisor of Poppell Financial Group, LLC in Tallahassee presented on the 529 college savings plan, retirement planning and tax minimization strategies.
The 529 college savings plan is in comparison to the 401(k) plan.
According to Poppell Financial Group’s website, the 529 college savings plan are tax advantaged college vehicles and one of the most popular ways to save for college.
“If a college student can save while they’re in college, I understand you got tuition and student loans, the smartest thing to do is to have emergency funding and put it some place where your sticky fingers can’t get to it, save that first,” Poppell said.
“I’m very much in favor of college students saving.”
Poppell is an advocate on saving, especially for college students.
He gave suggestions on what should be cut out while trying to save like going to Starbucks and even washing your car by hand.
“Maybe they don’t go to go to Starbucks as much, maybe they don’t have to have the latest clothes fashion, wash your car by hand instead of driving through the car wash,” Poppell said.