Wellness Steps - The Facts
I'm Maurice Saliba and I am President of Wellness Steps of Bradley County. I wanted to respond to the comments Mr. Edwards made in the May edition of the People News regarding Wellness Steps and its management. Here are the facts:
• I am not paid in any way for the many hours I have put into this program. I spend two to three hours per class (twice per week) as well as countless others in planning and developing this program. I have not been hired nor was I asked to do this program by anyone in our city or county government. I approached the Rotary club asking if they would support such a program. The program developed into what it is today from the support they and other area businesses provided. We have received very little funds from county or city government. We hope to change that in the near future. We are grateful for what we have received but we desire to see this program flourish and help as many Bradley County families as possible. If we are going to do that, we need money.
• Yes, I am a private businessman in the wellness industry. Who else would you want to run this program? If this is to be successful and help people, it needs someone with experience in the wellness field. Since I am not paid, the suggestion that bids should have been accepted for this program is wrong. I started it out of a sense of responsibility and caring for others. I am extremely grateful for the help of all the other businesses and entities that have become involved. Without this collaboration, we would not be where we are today. My involvement is not for self-serving purposes. I do not get much business from this, but I sure do sleep better at night, knowing I have done what God expects of me. "To those who are given much, much is expected." I am a blessed man and feel I have been called by the Lord to share with others in the area of wellness.
• At the health fair in January of this year, Rush and the YMCA were vendors, just as Spectrum was. These businesses and any others that would like to be involved are more than welcome to come out to any health fair Wellness Steps hosts. We do not turn anyone away. The fact is that Spectrum and the YMCA are the only wellness-based companies that have committed to be involved and donate time and resources to insure the success of Wellness Steps. If there is anyone that would like to be involved but just doesn't know how to get started, here it is: just call me at 478-2664 and we can find plenty of things for you to help with.
• The money from the sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital has been designated for wellness in Bradley county. I didn't have anything to do with that decision but I'm glad it was made and I intend to pursue some of those funds for Wellness Steps because I feel with all my heart the way the program is designed is the best way to improve your overall health and wellness. We have already helped over 100 families in Bradley County become healthier and live a better lifestyle. We have participants that have come off of medication that they were previously dependent on. What better criteria than that to judge the success of the program?
• We awarded 54 certificates of graduation on March 31, 2007 for our first graduation ceremony. We started the program with 92 participants. As the weeks passed, we lost some of our participants. The group, from day one, lost 2003 pounds. In order to prevent a complicated and long report on our weight loss numbers, we chose to report in a simple manner. That is a mistake that we will not repeat in any future program. The numbers will be presented in their entirety for anyone to see. Anyone that is interested in seeing the complete numbers from the first program, is welcome to call me.
423-476-8535 e-mail: Spectrumforlife@charter.net