Popular resilience workshop “What’s Your Word?” scheduled to return to Waukon Monday at Veterans Memorial Hospital

Area residents invited to learn how to clarify values and set meaningful goals in an interactive workshop

Over the past year, Allamakee County residents have had the opportunity to attend a series of six free resilience education workshops delivering practical ways to cultivate trust, manage stress, build hope, cope with adversity, find meaning in hardship, and grow personal resilience skills.

With a recent grant from the R.J. McElroy Trust, more residents will now have the opportunity to attend a final “What’s Your Word?” workshop that guides people to clarify their values and set meaningful goals. The workshop will be held Monday, February 13 from 12 -1 p.m. in the large community room at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon. Participants will receive a personalized bracelet or bookmark with a compass word they choose to remind them of their intentions.

This year-long resilience series resulted from a partnership between Rachelle Howe, founder of Mental Health Today, and Dr. Mollie Marti, director of the nonprofit Worldmaker and developer of the THRIVE Resilience Model. Howe said, “When we joined forces in early 2022, we were unsure what to expect. We just knew there was a large unmet need and we wanted to help fill it. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how the programming has been received and expanded to new audiences.”

Each of the workshops has been hosted at the Waukon Wellness Center. The First Presbyterian Church also hosted one. During the course of the year, the sessions attracted some classes of students, which led to additional resilience education being provided at the Waukon High School. Veterans Memorial Hospital began partnering in October, hosting sessions of the last three workshops as Lunch & Learn opportunities for their staff and other community members.

Marti adds, “We are grateful for the generosity of funders and sponsors who have made this programming possible. From community foundations to local businesses that have provided venues and refreshments, the community has really stepped up.”

Funders have included the Allamakee County Community Foundation, Alice Hermeier Foundation, R.J. McElroy Trust, Waterville Community Foundation, Lakeside Ballroom, and individual donors. Sponsors have included the Waukon Wellness Center, Waukon Senior Center, First Presbyterian Church, Veterans Memorial Hospital, Kwik Star, Casey’s, Dollar Fresh, Fareway and W.W. Homestead Dairy.

Howe, who created Mental Health Today as a tribute to her husband, Matt, after he died by suicide, said that this series has helped participants improve brain health and well-being.

“These workshops have taught us how to become more resilient and better help our kids ride the ups and downs of life,” she shared. “They’ve also helped our youth understand how important it is to seek help when needed. I think it really drives this message home when our kids are surrounded by caring adults in their community who have the desire and skills to help.”

Barb Smed, a local realtor with Keller-Williams who holds a Masters degree in social work, has been one of the trainers. She is excited about offering a final “What’s Your Word?” workshop.

The workshop providers emphasize that everyone is welcome to attend the February 13 event. “This series has been about creating a fun environment where we can give people tools to become more resilient,” says Howe. “We have seen them benefit both professionals and families with people of all ages. We really appreciate community members attending and inviting others because this is something we all need in life!”

More information about the THRIVE model and the workshop series can be found at https://worldmakerinternational.org.