Health in the City: Youngstown’s Downtown Wellness Community

The Downtown Wellness Community has been around since Sept. 8, thanks to the efforts of wellness-minded individuals seeking an outlet from which to share their healthy habits. Pam Lilak, the group’s wellness coordinator, is a member of the diverse group of health professionals involved in the project.

“In April, a community of like-minded people came together to form the initial DWC planning team. The team consists of people ranging from the medical profession and yoga teachers to local food movement leaders,” she said.

The mission of the organization is “to facilitate activities and encourage behaviors which promote an integrated approach to health and wellness.” In accordance with their mission, they have partnered with Carrie Clyde, the wellness coordinator for Youngstown State University’s Living Well employee wellness program, to advertise various events. Thus far, the partnership has primarily taken the form of cross-promotional advertising; however, DWC would like to partner together with YSU on larger events.

Currently, they are building their repertoire of events and services offered, as well as gauging interest and finding qualified teachers.

“We have found that there are many teachers in the Youngstown area who can share knowledge on the mind, body and spirit connection,” Lilak said. “The DWC coordinates events and can find the right teachers to bring in.”

Some services that are offered now include yoga, mindful eating, cooking demos, workshops on well being and weight loss, fitness classes, group walks and local restaurant events.

“Future success depends on keeping events interesting and well-attended. We want ideas to come from the community. This way the topics of the events will be applicable to a broad community,” Lilak said. “As long as topics are related to the mind, body and spirit, the DWC welcomes it.”

Aside from YSU, DWC has formed partnerships with the Humility of Mary Health Partners, YMCA, Fellows Riverside Gardens and the Ballet Western Reserve, forming a large collaboration of programs to help guide people to better health.

“All of these organizations work towards the same mission — to offer events to people in Youngstown where they can learn about ways to live a healthier and happier life,” Lilak said. “This is not about competing, but about collaborating.”

Those interested in joining the DWC should check out their Facebook page, “Downtown Wellness Community.” Events and their email address can also be found via this page.