Training Body and Mind
Fitness and working out provides stress relievers for many, especially those who do not have the communication skills to express themselves in a healthy manner. Earlier this year, the Children's Attention Home partnered with Planet Fitness to allow the youth and staff to enjoy the benefits of their services. For many months the youth have worked with various staff to train their bodies and discipline their minds to regulate their emotions in healthy ways.
Jaron Reeves, Jiujitsu Black Belt, Boxer Trainer and Residential Counselor II, has worked with youth for nearly twenty years. "I've seen kids deal with positive and negative self-images, anger management issues or just looking for activities to belong in, and I've introduced them to training and it's worked wonders with developing them into healthier people," claimed Jaron. "It's something to see how encouraging them to be consistent, having them to break through the pain and be willing to trust in the process builds them into better people. I've had kids go from fighting every day to taking out their aggression in the gym. It's during this time where they become emotional and let that anger out."
He went on to explain how the kids welcomed this exchange as they feel safe to let these emotions out with him. "I have a no judgement thing going on. The kids know that they can train to be better at fighting, but it's later when they find out that they've trained to be better at coping with stressors and triggers."
Former resident Dillion was thrilled to work out with his anger management issues on the mats with Jaron. "I've always looked up to Mr. Jaron. He never gets mad and is always willing to listen. Going to the gym to see him at what he does was scary. He's really good and everyone looks up to him. He's sneaky in a way. While working out he has a smooth way of getting you to open up. I didn't know whether to punch harder or just lay down and cry. All I know is that I needed that! I took what he taught me and told other kids about it so when he got angry, we knew what to do to keep ourselves safe and out of trouble. "
Several youth currently living at the Home work out weekly with Dr. Joshua Wells, the Home's Clinical Social Worker, as part of their weekly therapy sessions. "I've found it effective for getting them to release some tension. Everyone isn't willing to talk in therapy, but everyone mad is willing to hit something."
Dr. Joshua moonlights as a powerlifting champion. "Taking advantage of this partnership with Planet Fitness has allowed our youth to improve their mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative moods;" beamed Dr. Joshua. "Working out has helped Tiffany improve her sleep patterns, built her self-esteem and social withdrawal issues. She would beat me to the gym now if she could!"