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Wesley Family Services to offer wellness programs at new center in New Kensington

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review - 9/27/2023

Sep. 27—Programs open to the general public are expected to be offered starting in November at a new wellness center at Wesley Family Services'Pioneer Apartments in New Kensington.

Those programs could take the form of blood pressure screenings and vaccine clinics, financial workshops, meditation classes and yoga sessions, said Heather Duncan, vice president of Transition Age and Adult Services for Wesley.

Before that, most of the programs offered in October will be aimed at the agency's staff and the individuals it serves.

Duncan said Wesley Family Services serves about 1,500 people at Pioneer Apartments, which has 36 units and opened about three years ago, and about 20,000 annually across its service area.

Wesley Family Services celebrated the completion of the wellness center with an open house Wednesday. Duncan said Westmoreland County provided $150,000 from American Rescue Plan Act funds for the conversion of the previously vacant space.

The open house included an appearance by Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh.

Arkoosh and Chachi Angelo, director of external affairs for Pennie, spoke of the need for state residents on Medicaid to complete their annual renewal when it comes due or, if they become ineligible for Medicaid, to use Pennie, the state's official health insurance marketplace, to get medical coverage.

The center is born from the idea that wellness makes a difference, Wesley Family Services CEO Doug Muetzel said.

"The more well our clients are, the better they thrive out in the community," he said. "We also found over the years that wellness also applies to our staff. This notion of having a wellness center and kicking it off is critically important both for those we serve and those that are doing the serving."

The project represented by Pioneer Apartments — the building, its apartments and Wesley Family Services' offices there — has been years in the making, Muetzel said.

"We want to be an anchor for the community," he said. "We want to be a resource that allows for the community to thrive and not die, quite frankly."

Duncan said the center's offerings will address eight dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, social, intellectual, occupational and environmental.

Events on the calendar for October include gratitude journaling, mindfulness, a medical marijuana educational workshop, savings goals, stress reduction and a dance cardio class.

A monthly calendar of events for the wellness center will be available at wfspa.org. Duncan said people will be able to attend most events in-person or virtually.

Those attending the open house had the opportunity to get a flu shot and have their blood pressure checked.

Vendors present included PA CareerLink, Westmoreland County Department of Human Services, Westmoreland Transit, state Rep. Jill Cooper's office, Westmoreland Transit, Regional Integrated Human Services, Valley Points YMCA, and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services' Centers of Excellence.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian by email at brittmeyer@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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