Wellness Foundation

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2018 Illumination Award Honorees

Corporate Wellness Partner

Amaden Gay Agencies

For over 100 years, Amaden Gay Agencies has been providing insurance solutions for discerning clients in the Hamptons, throughout the United States, and internationally. Led by forward thinkers, Amaden Gay partnered with Wellness Foundation in 2009 to sponsor our first Corporate Wellness Challenge. James Amaden says, "The Wellness Challenge was the catalyst for numerous wellness initiatives at our agency. It allowed our employees to make healthy and lasting lifestyle changes and we are proud to support their great work." Some of these initiatives have included fitness challenges, office yoga, and getting up one minute every hour to exercise.

The team at Amaden Gay believes that businesses have a responsibility to both initiate and support wellness opportunities; they know that being healthy benefits not only individuals, but also their families and community. We are so grateful to Amaden Gay for golfing in honor of Wellness Foundation at the Chubb Charity Golf Tournament last year and donating $10,000 to our programs!

Amber Waves Farm

Amber Waves Farm founders, Katie Baldwin and Amanda Merrow, know that when it comes to wellness, we reap what we sow. Having founded Amber Waves in 2009 on an acre of empty field and their combined savings of $5,000, they are two of the most hard-working and inspiring individuals in our community. Katie and Amanda are driven by their desire to share the story of real food with their community, which they do through their various program areas—their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Program, Food Education Program, Apprenticeship Program, and the Amagansett Wheat Project.

Over the last nine years, Amber Waves has increased their vegetable production from a single acre to eight acres in order to support their CSA program, which has grown from 18 members to more than 160 families. They have increased their wheat cultivation from a single acre to 15 acres, and their Apprenticeship Program has turned out 14 aspiring farmers, all of whom are actively working in food and agriculture since completing their apprenticeship. For the past few years, Amber Waves has partnered with Wellness Foundation to bring our WKids Farm Fresh Cooking Series to kids and families on the East End. We look forward to more fun and food with them this summer!

Wellness Zone School Leaders

Beth Doyle has been the principal of John M. Marshall Elementary School in East Hampton for the past five years. During her tenure, she has partnered with Wellness Foundation to present our WKids In School programs to JMMES students. It was through Beth's conversations with students, families, and Wellness Foundation staff that she realized she needed to do more to promote wellness in her school. This year, under Beth's leadership, JMMES collaborated with Wellness Foundation and became the first School Wellness Zone on the East End!

Beth knows that nutrition education is essential—her students don't just learn it, they live it by practicing mindful moments throughout the school day, taking brain breaks for physical activity, drinking more water, and choosing healthier foods at mealtime. Beth's commitment to wellness is inspired by her own father, who passed away at age 53 due to complications from diabetes that could have been prevented if he'd had the tools and education that Beth is so passionate about bringing to her students. Her other inspiration is her beautiful four year-old daughter, who will be attending JMMES next year.

Transitioning students and families into healthier habits is not always easy, but Beth remains steadfast in her commitment to the wellness of her students. Her courage in standing up for what she believes in and her dedication to the health of her school and community are among the many reasons we salute Beth as a Wellness Champion.

Shawn Smith is the sixth-grade health teacher at Southampton Intermediate School (SIS), as well as a coach and role model to students both inside the classroom and out on the fields. Shawn's enthusiasm for finding creative ways to help his students relate to different concepts and engage them in the learning makes all the difference. He played an integral part both in launching the WKids Healthy Food for Life program at SIS and contributing ideas to make it an even greater success. This year, Shawn also took on the role of WKids Coach, teaching two of the class sections himself.

In addition to his work teaching and coaching, Shawn has also co-founded a non- profit dedicated to helping kids; it focuses on promoting academics, healthy choices, and optimal mental health and well-being. For these reasons and more, we are proud to honor Shawn as a Wellness Champion.

WKids Wellness Champions

Chris has always been active, but during the WKids Healthy Food for Life program, he realized that he was spending a lot of time watching TV when he could be getting more exercise. He hadn't been aware of just how harmful sitting for long periods of time can be. Chris began cutting back on his screen time and, instead, playing soccer or jogging with his father. He also started swapping his usual after-school snack of sugary cereal for fruits and veggies. For Chris, one of the biggest take-aways from this program is that he has much more control over his health than he had realized. We are proud of Chris and happy to honor him as a Wellness Champion.

Kyla was raised with a strong understanding of healthy food and habits. But after taking WKids Healthy Food for Life, she became even more aware of the harmful effects of sugar and unhealthy fats, and she took action to eliminate them from her diet. After looking at the label on her ice cream, Kyla started to instead make smoothies for dessert! Her favorite includes kale, mango, strawberries, and raspberries, but she likes to switch her smoothies frequently, having fun experimenting with different fruits and veggies. Kyla is happy to have made this change; in addition to feeling better herself, she is pleased that it also lets her family know just how much she cares about them. It is with great pride that we honor Kyla as a Wellness Champion.

Wellness Challenge Champions

Emergency room doctors diagnosed Rob Covalito with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and a high heart rate. And as Rob puts it, "they scared the daylights out of me." Around the same time, another group of doctors told him he had pre-stage 1 esophageal cancer. Overwhelmed by all the gloomy news, Rob realizedthat some lifestyle habits needed to change.

Fast-forward one year, and Rob's health is improving every day. A recent endoscopy showed he is now cancer-free—his esophagus is as good as new. Off one prescription medication, Rob's on a mission to eliminate the other meds, too. For Rob and his wife, Lori, it was immersing themselves in the Wellness Challenge lifestyle that started Rob on the road to wellness.

Rob tells us, "I have completely turned my health around, and I'm on my way to a much healthier and happier life."

Postscript: It's interesting how Rob was introduced to Wellness Foundation—he plays in the MTK band that entertains our guests at the Summer Benefit!

Wellness Challenge Champion, Noelle Marcantonio, is a living wonder. After being diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain abnormality four years ago, Noelle was told to get her affairs in order. She did as she was advised, but she didn't give up. Instead, she grabbed onto the Wellness Challenge 360 lifestyle. Now that Noelle has dropped three dress sizes, cut her need for medication dramatically, eased the disabling consequences of thirty years of rheumatoid arthritis, and her brain abnormality hash stabilized.

For good reason, Noelle has been 100% compliant with the program's recommendations. She believes it's "the most sustainable, practical, effective and integrated program available." Noelle is living proof that this way of living can reverse disease!

Community Medical Partner

Erin is a registered nurse and a nurse practitioner at East Hampton Family Medicine. She is also a Wellness Challenge graduate. Having improved her own health through this life-changing program, Erin has gone on to refer many of her patients to the program as well. Knowing that the optimal cure for chronic diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes is prevention, Erin recommends Wellness Challenge 360 to her patients because it provides the education and support they need to embrace and make lasting lifestyle changes. After completing the Challenge herself, Erin said that "because I was eating cleaner and healthier, I improved my health and had so much more energy." Erin is not only improving her own health by embracing a plant-based lifestyle, she is also improving the health of our community by lighting the way to wellness for her patients.

W Restaurant Partner

Sabrosa Mexican Grill

Sabrosa Mexican Grill has been part of the W Restaurant program since the day they opened; it is truly an oasis of delicious, nourishing, and affordable meal options. Founder J. Andreossi is a Wellness Challenge graduate, and he recognized the importance of being able to find healthy choices when you are out and about. Hannah Andreossi says, "We know that our ability to stay healthy and well is directly related to the food we eat, and everything we do is done with the wellness of our valued customers in mind."

Sabrosa's commitment to their customers and to promoting health goes beyond the plate. In addition to offering delicious and healthy meal options as a W Restaurant Partner, Sabrosa also has a deep desire to give back to local charities in the community. Each month they feature a different local charity, and, to date, they have given over $50,000 to support local causes.

Wellness Zone Business Partner

Linda Silich is the owner and founder of Silich Core + Strength. Her company was one of the very first Wellness Zone Businesses in our community, because Linda is passionate about making fitness fun and accessible to everyone. We met Linda when she attended our very first Healthy Food for Life classes with her kids at East Hampton Middle School. She is a powerhouse of energy and passion for wellness. Linda's clients describe her in three words: "energetic, motivating, and personable." She lives up to that by empowering her clients with her knowledge of the body and educating them on the importance of moving.

Linda's fitness passion began at her alma mater, Wittenberg University in Ohio, but the real-life changer was her introduction to TRX Suspension Training in 2011. Linda is currently ranked one of the 50 Black Ranked TRX Coaches in the country.