Thursday, January 31, 2013

Detroit Journalists Group Pilots Fitness and Wellness Program, Raises Scholarship Funds

Vickie Thomas, President of the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (DC-NABJ) presents participation award to DC NABJ member Darci McDonnell with Chrysler’s Valerie Oehmke and Michael Palese. Photo Credit: William Foster

More than 5 million steps logged raising $5,000 in scholarship funds

DETROIT - The Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (DC-NABJ) was selected by Chrysler Group LLC to pilot the 30 Day Step into Fitness and Wellness Program.  The program encouraged chapter members to walk for fitness, and participate in other wellness activities, in order to raise awareness of health and wellness especially in underserved communities.  It also provided the chapter a means to earn funds for the DC-NABJ scholarship program for aspiring journalists.

“It has been an eye opening experience to be a participant in the Chrysler 30 Day Step into Fitness and Wellness program with an amazing TEAM!! Access to better health is one of the greatest gifts one can give and that's why I consider this challenge to be one of my all-time favorites” said Vickie Thomas, President, Detroit Chapter-NABJ and City Beat Reporter, WWJ/CBS Radio-Detroit. “Not only have members of the Detroit Chapter of NABJ raised needed scholarship dollars, but many of us have taken an active role in walking our way to better health and fitness. These are lessons that will impact not only participants, but our families and communities as well.”

DC-NABJ kicked off the 30 day initiative on Saturday, December 1, 2012 with a walk along Detroit’s River Walk.  Chapter members were also able to select walking buddies to encourage them during the program.  More than 50 chapter members, family and friends participated.   The total goal of 5 million steps was reached a week prior to the end of the program.  Chapter members were challenged to actively walk their way to better health over the 30 day period while raising funds for scholarships.  DC-NABJ awards scholarships annually to deserving students interested in pursuing careers in journalism.

“Chrysler Group has been very pleased to team up with the Detroit Chapter-NABJ to present this unique fitness and wellness program,” said Kathleen Neal, Director of Integrated Health & Disability, Chrysler Group LLC. “As a company, we are very committed to supporting programs that nurture a culture of health and a healthy, engaged and sustainable workforce.  Our NABJ partnership provided an outstanding opportunity to bring these important ideas to the broader community, beginning with journalists who can use their first-hand experiences to reach others to promote healthy and sustainable lifestyles and communities.”

Participating chapter members noted that the program was fun and educational.   Debbie Kenyon of CBS Radio stated, “Although I work out most days this program made me realize what I could do in everyday life outside of the gym.  Being conscious of the number of steps each day encouraged me to park further away, walk around the office building before attending a meeting, are a few examples. I plan to use this program at my company.”

Other participants logged onto the dedicated website to encourage others to participate; to cheer people on when they reached certain goals; and to promote friendly competition.   Said one participant, “This opportunity to get healthier while helping raise funds for our scholarship program was a no-brainer. It’s always a great feeling to put out a helping hand to others.”

For more information about the chapter, please log onto

Source: Press release

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