Harrisburg, Pa. – The Safety and Wellness Committee of Youth Advocate Programs (YAP), Inc. is gearing up for World Day for Safety and Heath at Work on April 28. The nonprofit is encouraging employees to kick off the special day with Challenge 1,000 – a call to complete 1,000 hours of exercise through walking, running, playing sports or simply moving in some form or fashion through June 9, 2023.
YAP is located in 34 states and Washington, D.C., with partner programs in Australia, Guatemala, Ireland and Sierra Leone. For 48 years, YAP has provided youth justice, child welfare, behavioral health and public safety services that give communities alternatives to youth incarceration, residential care, and neighborhood violence. The International Labour Organization promotes World Day for Safety and Health at Work as part of encouraging a safe and healthy working environment.
Challenge 1,000 includes moving for 1,000 minutes through activities that can consist of walking meetings, a walk with a co-worker at lunch, employees stretching at their desk, trying a new sport after work, doing an activity with your kids, or creating a fitness challenge for yourself, said YAP Director of International Programs and Development Diana Matteson, who serves on the Safety and Wellness Committee.
“The Safety and Wellness Committee is committed to the well-being of YAP employees and the challenge to add 1,000 minutes of activity,” Matteson said. “Whether someone runs each day or modifies an activity to accommodate a chronic illness or pain, the challenge is for everyone to move however they can or to try something new. It’s an overall challenge to incorporate movement into their workday. That can include stretching each hour or whatever works for that person.”
Challenge 1,000 began as a jump rope social media challenge created by youth from YAP’s Guatemala sister agency Siembra Bien to promote solidarity through sport to encourage healthy lifestyles.
“The young people in Guatemala who came up with the jump rope Challenge 1,000 did so as a way to advocate for physical education in schools in Guatemala and are excited that their idea is being translated into a wellness event for the staff at YAP,” said Siembra Bien Executive Director Gabriela Altman. “ The young people want to say thank you to everyone going the extra mile to support the work of Siembra Bien.”
YAP’s Internal Auditor Trisha Carmo, who serves with Matteson on the Safety and Wellness Committee, plans to give herself a daily chore or job that will get her off the couch for more than a half hour. Carmo says she suffered a major pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot that traveled to and nearly filled up both of her lungs on Christmas in 2021. She said she also suffers from chronic back pain, but is committed to moving during the challenge.
“I will be planting vegetables, getting my deck furniture out and making things look nice; along with trimming some bushes, sorting things for an upcoming yard sale, cleaning out the refrigerator and getting my summer clothes out,” Carmo said. “I will try to give myself a task each day, and I have some smaller tasks I have on my list when I feel like I can’t do one of the bigger ones.”