Gratitude at (and for) Wellness Wednesdays Friendsgiving

November 17, 2021

Thankfulness and gratitude are intensely personal emotions. But at this month’s Wellness Wednesdays program, they were shared, embraced — and celebrated.

When Wellness Wednesdays facilitator Maia Campbell went around the room and asked the attendees what they were thankful for, each participant was cheered by the group.

“I’m thankful that I’m clean today,’’ said one.

“I’m thankful for being clean, sober and for having a family — I’m going to get myself together this time around.’’

“I’m thankful for all the ladies here today.’’

From moving performances from singer Lolly Mariah to Campbell’s thought-provoking tips on how to add gratitude in your life (hint: she carries her own personal “Bag of Coping Skills’’ that includes Hershey’s Kisses), Wednesday’s program was indeed a special one for two dozen attendees. Midway through the program — held in the Pistons gym at the SAY Play Center at Lipke Park — the ladies were served a Thanksgiving feast prepared by SAY Play chefs Dye Dye and David Gardner. Hannah Vanderwalker, who helps run SAY Play’s LiveWELL behavior health program, shared tips on how to combat the holiday blues.

“Today’s meeting moved me to tears,’’ said Campbell, who’s also SAY Clinic’s community outreach coordinator. “We laughed, cried and shared breakthroughs. The women in our November group shared stories of recovery, loss and growth. The focus was on thankfulness and creating new traditions. There was not a dry eye when one attendee shared advice to another on how to work through her emotions during tough times.’’

A female-focused support group for moms and women in Detroit, Wellness Wednesdays, which started in June, has grown to the point that Campbell is working off a waiting list. After taking the month of December off for the holidays, the program will continue in January. The date will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The goal from the beginning has been to create a support system for those who feel they are alone,’’ Campbell said. “Mission accomplished. In a couple of hours we go from strangers to a sisterhood.’’