Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Lifetime of Wellness

The Sustainable Cycle of Self Care

An interesting book showed up on my dining table last weekend: NO SWEAT – How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness, by Michelle Segar, PhD. Not only is Dr. Segar a renowned expert in kinesiology, movement science and motivation, but she is also, coincidentally, from my hometown of Flint, Michigan. We grew up on the same street. We have one degree of separation, her childhood friend and my brother, Peter.

Dr. Segar presents an interesting and compelling position on why most Americans fail at achieving one important wellness goal – the ongoing pursuit of a lifetime of physical activity. “When you want to stick with something for life,” she says, “you must change your perspective.” She encourages us to shift from a short term view (losing 10 pounds, running a race, hiking to the summit) to a long term goal of a lifetime of fitness. 

This perspective will help individuals create a sustainable cycle of self-care by moving the bar higher, making every physical activity we do a step toward a lifetime goal.

“If the horizon is the rest of your life,” how do you stay motivated? At our monthly SkyWell Club meetings, we discuss the physical dimension of wellness. Staying motivated includes having fun and being with friends, a social component of physical activity that includes both team sports and individual pursuits. 

That’s why SkyWell is planning activities for all students, including events during the winter months like tournaments and an all-school field day. The cycle of self-care includes many things to promote wellness and well-being.

Wellness is a life skill, and remember this: It’s not the event, it’s the journey.

Thank you SkyWell for making the discussion come alive for everyone.

Life Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Monday, November 23, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from SkyWell

Thanks for Health, Happiness and Family
Resilience. Purpose. Wellness. Well-being. When your family gathers this Thanksgiving, it may be an opportunity for you to demonstrate your commitment to wellness, and also listen to and learn from others in your family about the health issues and conditions that concern them the most.
Family history is important to health. So are the everyday attitudes and behaviors we engage in – it all has an important impact on personal health risks and optimal health and wellness.
Let’s join in with some of the important campaigns going on locally and around the country.
Peer to Peer Depression Awareness – Holidays are common times for increased stress, anxiety and depression. Join our school campaign to listen and support those around you. "Depression: A Fight No One Can Handle Alone!" Join the #IWillListen campaign because those who need to talk will know you are there to listen.
#OptOutside – Join REI’s campaign to get out and enjoy the outdoors during the holidays.
#SJJoinMe – Support SkyWell’s mission and join St. Joseph Mercy Health’s campaign to promote personal wellness and its impact on our community health culture.
National Family History Day – Use the U.S. Surgeon General’s program designating Thanksgiving as a day to learn about your family health risks. It’s an opportunity to get important information you need for the future.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Give thanks for health, happiness and family!
Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thank You to SkyWell Guest Speaker Charlie Estey

SkyWell  Hears Inspiration from Interactive Health’s  EVP Charlie Estey

On November 10th, the SkyWell student board of directors was joined by Charlie Estey, an industry leader in worksite wellness and president-elect of the International Association of Worksite Health Promotion. His inspirational words helped us to better understand how “engagement” is one key to program success and will help us to build a culture of wellness at Skyline.

“Making wellness fun” was one of his key messages as he shared examples of how to develop and package our wellness messages in ways that students will accept – and want to participate in. He suggested that SkyWell join forces with Student Action Senate, DECA and other student clubs to work together on promotional programs and activities to get more students on board and broaden the reach of our awareness building strategies. Mr. Estey also emphasized the need for both top-down and bottom-up support, aligning SkyWell with the needs and goals of Skyline as an organization.

“I haven’t seen a program of this scale at the high school level and it’s great to be a part of it,” said Charlie. “Supporting SkyWell as they determine what a culture of wellness can mean is an inspiration to us all. We are building future wellness leaders and advocates for decades to come.”

Thank You from SkyWell !

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Sunday, September 27, 2015

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

What you can you do to raise awareness about breast cancer in our community?

Since its inception in 1985, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been a leader in supporting national and local discussions on issues related to prevention and treatment of breast cancer in the U.S.  SkyWell has joined that discussion, by planning a fundraiser/Flag Football Tournament to promote wellness and physical activity, with proceeds to be donated to our local cancer care organizations. In addition, Skyline High School will join Ann Arbor Pioneer with a PinkOut at our October football game.

SkyWell Flag Football Event Details:
  • Sign Up Starts on Friday, October 16th 
  • Date of Event: Sunday, October 25th 
  • $20 team fee
  • Teams of 7-10 people
  • 2 girls must always be on the field 
  • 11AM start

Major advancements have been made in breast cancer awareness and treatment in the past ten years. But with your involvement and support, much more can be accomplished.

This month, take a moment to think about what you can do to raise awareness at our school and in our community. Although October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many committed individuals and organizations sponsor events throughout the year.
Join us for our planning meeting at the SkyWell Club on Monday, October 12th, right after school, in suite #408.

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Back to School Means Sleepy Skyline Students

Welcome Back Skyline Students!

Your SkyWell Wellness Champions have been working hard over the summer to plan some new and creative opportunities to explore wellness at Skyline this year. These include:

v  The new SKYWELL SWAT – Student Wellness Awareness Team – to train students to be speakers and advocates on specific wellness topics.
v  Monthly SkyWell Club meetings that are more interactive and fun
v  School-wide events including a Flag Football tournament, Wellness Expo, WinterFest Field Day and the SkyWell Spring Sprint
v  Achieving Heart Safe Certification by offering CPR training to all interested students and staff

v  Sponsoring activities focused on stress, SLEEP and emotional wellness

We hope you will join us at a monthly SkyWell Club meeting to learn more! 

Welcome Back and don't forget to get your rest!

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Congratulations to our 2015 SkyWell Interns

Skyline Students Selected as Wellness in the Workplace Conference Interns

In a new partnership between SkyWell and the University of Michigan Health Management Research Center, 6 Skyline students were selected by the Health & Medicine Bio-Medical Science Magnet to represent SkyWell at the 34th Annual Wellness in the Workplace Conference. The conference was held on May 13, 2015 at the Michigan League in Ann Arbor. SkyWell interns were introduced by Dr. Michael O'Donnell, Director of HMRC and Clinical Professor in the School of Kinesiology.

Congratulations to Class of 2015 Wellness Champions Sarika Tyagi and Bridget Kennedy and
Class of 2016 Wellness Champions Collin Cannaert, Allison Schulcz, Janay Ramirez and Jonathan Gurkan. Photo courtesy of HMRC.

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Get Moving in May!

SkyWell Focus on Physical Wellness

May is National Physical Fitness Month, sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.  Now that Spring is finally here, what better time to celebrate physical activity and bring awareness to how a physically active lifestyle can promote personal wellness. At Skyline High School, our SkyWell Wellness Champions have many creative ideas about the physical dimensions of wellness and how we can encourage our student body to get active.

While only 25% of our students report 60 minutes or more of activity 5 days per week, what would happen if we sponsored some new events to promote wellness –
  • How about a Field Day with teams based on our SLCs?
  • Why don’t we sponsor a walking/bike event between Skyline and Community High School? It’s only 3.7 miles and could be fun sharing our wellness message with another Ann Arbor school.
  • Or perhaps a jump rope marathon, just like we did in elementary school, to raise funds for a wellness organization?

This year marks the five year anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Lets Move Initiative. Let’s join her by bringing together students, parents and teachers at our school to promote moving more during the school day.

Join us at SkyWell and share your ideas

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

SkyWell Meeting 5/18/15

Due to severe weather the SkyWell meeting has been rescheduled to Monday, May 18th.

Come to the next SkyWell meeting on Monday, May 11th  after school in Mr. Bradley's room. We will be discussing Psycho-Social wellness. The meeting will run from 2:30 to 3:15. Bring yourself and your friends! SkyWell water bottles will also be on sale.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Water Fuels your Health

Drinking water is imperative to your overall wellness and to everyday body function. By drinking 8 glasses of water daily (or more if you exercise regularly), you will feel more energized and reduce your risks of headache and muscle cramping. Water is also important for normal muscle function, and overall homeostasis in your body.

Buy a refillable SkyWell water bottle - not only can you increase your awareness about wellness, but you are also doing yourself a big favor by helping your body become healthier. SkyWell water bottles are available in the Health & Medicine magnet for $10, and soon available in the SkyStore. To purchase one either talk to Mr. Bradley or contact Jonathan Gurkan or Alli Schulcz. $2 from each sale will be applied to a new wellness project that will benefit the entire school.

Jonathan Gurkan:
Alli Schulcz:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SkyWell Annual Meeting April 30, 2015 at 10:00am

All SkyWell Stakeholders

If you are unable to attend the SkyWell annual meeting on April 30 at 10am, 
please print out the proxy form to cast your vote.

The Notice of Annual Meeting and Proxy
can be found on the Documents Tab.

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wellness Meets Technology

All About Health: Trackers, Risk Appraisals, and Apps

Current technology lets us monitor just about anything. In the wellness industry, we can use technology to build awareness, change attitudes, and ultimately shape our health behaviors.

This year, SkyWell had the opportunity to use the Personal Responsibility Health Record (PRHR™) courtesy of myNutratek. More than 100 students registered during the SkyWell Wellness Expo, and can now access the web portal to monitor up to 17 different trackers, including activity, sleep, water, nutrition, BMI, blood pressure, glucose, and migraine headaches. According to myNutratek CEO Tim Codd, “Our portal drives education and awareness of positive behaviors by measuring and tracking observations of daily living. With the help of technology, our tool has evolved beyond the classroom.”

In the corporate setting, companies offer health risk appraisals to help employees and retirees plan and execute personal wellness plans. By analyzing a combination of health history information, biometric data, and self-reported health behaviors, health risk appraisals help companies plan wellness interventions and predict future health trends and care costs.

Today, more than 5,800 medical, health, and fitness apps are available for smartphones and mobile technology, including meal planners, diet and exercise trackers, restaurant finders, and nutrition label scanners. These apps quickly and conveniently help individuals find information and measure status and progress.

The future offers limitless opportunities for mobile health and wellness technology. Do you have a great idea for a new mobile wellness app? Come to a SkyWell Club meeting and share it.

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell 
Contact us at

Monday, March 30, 2015

Pizza - The Good, The Bad and the Healthy!

The Truth About Pizza

When we launched SkyWell in August 2014, we made a commitment to be pro-choice, meaning we don’t ban cupcakes, pizza, chips, or Big Gulps. Our goal is to make the healthy choice the easy choice by promoting students’ awareness about the consequences of their nutritional habits and increasing the availability of healthy food options in our cafeterias, vending machines, and concession stands.

Pizza seems to be one of those staples in America’s high school diet. It’s quick, easy to get, and relatively inexpensive.  In fact, one in five American youth consumes pizza daily. At Skyline, we serve pizza in our athletic concessions and cafeteria, and order it for delivery in a pinch. Skyline loves pizza.

But let’s be honest—will pizza make you smarter? Not really. And unfortunately, it can also add unneeded calories and sodium to your diet. But according to Gina Worful, registered dietitian and owner of Team Nutrifit, “Pizza can actually be a reasonably healthy choice! Instead of the usual pepperoni pizza try lean chicken, extra veggies, and thin crust to create a fresh and fit option! If you're not a fan of the healthier pizza option, have a slice of what you like and balance it with a fresh salad."

Come and join the discussion at the SkyWell Club monthly meeting—try on something healthy for size. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Dimensions of Wellness call for a Multi-disciplinary Approach

Careers in the Wellness Industry

Like the multidisciplinary team approach in health and medicine, the wellness industry comprises a multitude of specialists to address a variety of needs.

When I worked at Ford Motor Company coordinating the Total Health Program for salaried employees, our corporate team at World Headquarters in Dearborn included several physicians, MPH health educators, a psychologist, master’s-level social workers, a registered dietitian, an exercise physiologist, and many labor relations professionals. Together, we designed and launched a program for Ford’s North American operations.

What contributions did this team of experts make at Ford? Looking at the many dimensions of wellness, including physical, emotional, psycho-social, and occupational, we launched a set of services to meet the needs of any employee at any point on the wellness continuum. We presented our programs to supervisors on the factory floor and with nurses in the occupational medicine clinics. We reached out to community health providers and onsite fitness facilities. Healthy people trying to stay well, individuals needing support to manage chronic conditions, and employees referred to counseling for personal issues affecting job performance—these real needs were all considered part of the health promotion service spectrum.

Today, wellness is a multi -billion-dollar industry and growing. And many health and wellness professionals are part of the mix. Are you considering a career in the wellness industry?

Come to a SkyWell Club meeting—we plan to host many wellness speakers to tell us more.

Live Well | Think Well | SkyWell

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Skyline Culture of Wellness

A Skyline Culture of Wellness

Our school has a major impact on student wellness, as individual wellness has an impact on our school. As SkyWell works to create and foster a campus-wide culture of wellness, students are becoming aware of many factors that influence the decisions they make about health and wellness. Our school can play a major role in reducing the barriers to wellness and helping to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

We can look to national thought leaders for great dialog about “What is a culture of wellness?” The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is leading the discussion at a national level (@RWJF and and locally, #JoinMe at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Blue Cross’s @HealthierMI and the initiatives are all excellent resources.

Here at Skyline, more than 70 students recently met to brainstorm issues about wellness at our school.
Their recommendations include:
·         More than increasing healthy food choices in the cafeteria; let’s work together to make healthy choices more affordable, offer healthy vending machine options, and stop selling soda pop at school.
·         More than just increasing our physical activity, let’s promote fun ways to get moving like a walking path outside, open up our fitness facilities and fields to everyone, and host a Field Day for all students.
·         More than just talk about managing personal stress, let’s have a real discussion about the oppressive amount of homework we have and sponsor a “No Home Work Day” each trimester.
·         Let’s spread the word about wellness every day for administrators, teachers and students through student assemblies and a giant billboard with current wellness information.
·         Let’s Make Skyline High School the healthiest high school in Michigan. Skywell – lead the way!

Join the conversation at the monthly SkyWell Club – and at