ISU Extension and Outreach Seeks Community Partners for ‘My Wellbeing’ Program


March 20, 2024, 3:35 pm | Debra Sellers

AMES, Iowa – Being well is an ongoing journey and is different for each person because of varying situations and choices. That is why Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers “My Wellbeing.” This research-based educational series is designed for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them improve their wellbeing and quality of life.

My Wellbeing participant workbook.ISU Extension and Outreach offers the program in partnership with community organizations and agencies that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, according to Debra Sellers, a human sciences state extension specialist and professor in human development and family studies.

The program includes 60-minute sessions once a week for six weeks that cover social/emotional, financial and physical wellbeing, Sellers explained. During each session, participants engage in hands-on learning and discussion. At the end of each session, participants develop personal plans for their own wellbeing.

“My Wellbeing focuses on helping people increase their awareness and knowledge related to wellbeing. They create individual action steps and move toward making positive choices related to their wellbeing,” Sellers said.

ISU Extension and Outreach provides the educator, research-based content and supplies for each session. Staff from the partnering organization or agency are present during the sessions to help ensure meaningful participation for their clients.

Sellers and a team of extension professionals and external partners developed the My Wellbeing series, using a framework that includes a comprehensive and integrated approach to being well. During the sessions, extension educators provide research-based information through small group discussions, interactive experiences, a service project and other activities. Afterward, participants have time to think about their own situations and make plans to meet their own individual goals.

Earlier this year in Red Oak, human sciences specialists Kimberly Cavalier and Leah Brooke, along with Sadie Lindgren, Montgomery County director, delivered My Wellbeing in partnership with Nishna Productions Inc., a nonprofit agency serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in southwest Iowa.

“The organizations who serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities want and need programs ... they want this and more! From the initial meeting to each and every session, staff and participants from Nishna have truly seemed to enjoy the learning experience,” Cavalier said.

“They are really excited to come and participate every single week – and it’s a big commitment to come six weeks in a row! Every single person is working on their goals and reporting back how they did every week,” Brooke added.

The program is free to Iowa community organizations and agencies that partner with ISU Extension and Outreach. Community organizations and agencies in Iowa that are interested in partnering with ISU Extension and Outreach to deliver My Wellbeing to their clients may contact their ISU Extension and Outreach county office and connect with their human sciences specialist.

Community organizations and agencies outside of Iowa, as well as extension services in other states, may purchase the curriculum package to deliver MyWellbeing on their own. The digital download of the curriculum is available for $25 from the Extension Store. The My Wellbeing curriculum package includes the electronic files needed to plan, implement and evaluate the program. Hardcopy participant workbooks, which are required for the program, are available in packs of 20 for $100, also from the Extension Store. For more information, visit the MyWellbeing webpage or email Debra Sellers at mywellbeing@iastate.edu.

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