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Dec

12

2019

From The Blog

Helping Community Wellness Take Root

Each year in November, Kiawah Cares raises funds for important causes on our neighboring islands and this year is no different. On Nov. 19, Kiawah Cares kicked off its Take Root Community Wellness Campaign to raise $200,000 for addressing pivotal community wellness issues on Johns and Wadmalaw islands. Before we get into specifics, you might be wondering what we mean by wellness.

Wellness is “complete physical, mental and social well-being,” according to the World Health Organization. And that’s what Kiawah Cares’ Take Root Community Wellness campaign is all about. We’re focusing on programs that positively enhance our neighbors’ experience — physically, mentally and socially. We’re not just looking at individuals here; we’re looking at
that contribute to wellness for the whole community. Let’s break it down.

The physical aspect of wellness is the most understood; it covers everything from how you eat to how much exercise you get. But on Johns and Wadmalaw islands, we saw something else: insecurity. Generational poverty and island income disparities have made food, housing and even water insecurity a focus. Kiawah Cares has partnered with programs like Meals on Wheels, CHIP(Community Home Improvement Project) and Water Wellness Mission to support the efforts to eradicate these issues but we’d like to do even more. Other partner programs provide physical wellness opportunities, such as Barrier Island Little League and Going Places, which provides bikes to Lowcountry school children. Without physical wellness, the other two aspects suffer as well.

The physical manifests itself in the mental. Experts see the results of hunger, for example, in emotional and social roadblocks. Nearly 4,000 people on Johns and Wadmalaw islands live below the poverty line, a key indicator for food insecurity. Partners such as Sea Island Hunger Awareness and Backpack Buddies tackle the root cause of hunger but others offer help to those in the community who are already suffering. LEAP (Lowcountry Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy)works with people meeting behavioral, emotional or psychological challenges, and Made With Love regularly reminds our neighbors that someone cares for them with handmade crafts and thoughtful messages.

Social wellness is often a low priority, especially in under-resourced communities. It’s understandable that clean water and quality educational experiences would be considered higher on the list but, again and again, we’ve seen that enrichment contributes so much. Barrier Island Little League teaches children to play baseball but it also teaches them teamwork, sportsmanship and the value of hard work – important skills for any endeavor. Similarly, field trips like Kiawah Cares annual A Shore Thing: Youth Beach Day provide fun learning experiences and expose students to new things, fostering curiosity and wonder. Imagine if we lay this kind of groundwork for tomorrow’s healthy community.

A healthy community is like a healthy garden – there’s a space for everyone to grow, thrive and flourish. Kiawah Cares waters the seeds that others have planted in our community by connecting resources with our partner organizations and helping change to take root. Join us as we tend the garden of our community. Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” We believe in a tomorrow that’s brighter and healthier. We believe in community wellness.

We often don’t realize how big an impact we can have until we see the results of working together. As a community, let’s nourish the seeds our partners have planted. Make your donation, now through Dec. 31,and watch change take root on our neighboring islands! Visit KiawahCares.org for more information.