SHAREing & CAREing Program Manager Merryl Reichbach developed and presented Chair Stretching and Meditation on December 8, 2017 at the Adult Learning Center at Elmhurst Branch of the Queens Public Library. The two hour workshop was open to all Adult Learning Center students, staff and community members.
Participants were highly engaged in the workshop. Many had not participated in either type of activity before, and appreciated the holistic mind/body/spirit approach. Participants were able to directly connect how tension in their lives could manifest as muscle tension and how stretching could help release physical and emotional stress.
“I feel so energized.” “I feel so relaxed” “I’m going to do the head exercises at home!” were some of the comments we received. Participants left reporting they felt better and were eager to try some of the stretches and meditation techniques at home on their own, as well as attend future programs.
SHAREing & CAREing offers a regular monthly program at Elmhurst and we adapt the topic monthly to meet the ongoing needs of the community. Many patrons have expressed an interest in a simple, accessible exercise program. They also love anything related to stress management.
The chair stretching program was designed to be accessible to anyone—as a tool to begin or jump start an exercise program, as a tool for stress management that would offer simple techniques participants could easily do on their own, and, also as a way to engage students and then inform them about the other services both the Library and SHAREing & CAREing provides.
Elmhurst Adult Learning Center Manager Michelle Johnston reports that students will come to the center for one of our monthly programs and learn about other services they can make use of, including learning English as a Second Language classes and accessing case management services.
Likewise, we have found many community members who attend our wellness workshops are happy to learn about our cancer support services and linkages to free and low-cost screenings and health care. Our library wellness programs are one of our strongest outreach tools for reaching underserved members of the Queens community.