Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition’s goal is to foster a thriving community

Wellbeing is a large, all encompassing concept with many moving parts, just like the The Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition. The group includes over 130 members and nearly 60 partner organizations throughout the community, working to help Midland achieve a thriving place for all. Part of this vision focuses on creating a healthy community, invested in wellbeing – the ability to feel good and function effectively. 

Kathy Snyder, coordinator of the Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition, says the group’s early iterations date back to 2018, when they brought a certificate training focused on wellbeing to Midland. Around 40 community members learned about wellbeing, the science of positive psychology and how it helps in their lives, workplaces, and the larger community as a whole. After another training of 50 people in 2020, the task force transitioned to a larger, collaborative coalition. 
Kathy Snyder is the coordinator of the Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition
“Since then, we’ve added more people to the coalition, with about 135 people at this point,” Snyder says. “My work is to support wellbeing throughout the community for individuals, groups and organizations, and for the community as a whole.”

Snyder says the organization uses a simple definition of wellbeing. “It is our ability to feel good, to struggle well, and to function effectively,” she says. “That definition comes from some researchers in the field, Dr. Felicia Huppert and Dr. Chris Peterson.”

The Coalition hosts Journey Toward Wellbeing workshops online on the first Tuesday of each month, introductory workshops that introduce people to the science of wellbeing and power of positive thinking. They also host brief, Power Half Hour workshops on the third Wednesday of each month, focused on more in-depth topics. They also provide a weekly series, Wellbeing Life Hacks, released on social media and in email newsletters, providing research-informed strategies and tools. “We’ve had hundreds of people attend those workshops, most in Midland County, but people can join from anywhere since it’s on Zoom,” Snyder says.

Midland Area Wellbeing Coalition's 3rd birthday party
They also partner with employers and organizations for presentations and courses, offering workplace resources and tiered training packages customized to their unique needs. Current partner programs include Midland Area Community Foundation, Midland County, MyMichigan Health, Midland Center for the Arts, United Way, and more. 

Snyder says the Coalition is an integral part of Midland’s mission to move forward and thrive together as a community. “We’re really big on building tools, and giving people a variety of tools that they might be able to put in their wellbeing toolbox to support you in the good times and during the struggle,” she says. 

Many people live very busy lives, and don’t feel they have time to take on additional things, even if it focuses on a crucial need like wellbeing or mental health. Offering a variety of helpful methods, like tips on social media and online video recordings provide a low-effort tool for people to improve their daily lives, says Snyder. 
Film will be shown at the Grace A. Dow Memorial Library on Thurs, Sept. 14 @ 7pm
Their collaborative work has enabled community members to craft a language around wellbeing, helped to change the narrative of conversations on wellbeing in the workplace, and provided tools for families in times of struggle. 

Next month during Neighboring Week, September 24-30,  the Coalition is hosting a free documentary screening of the film, “Join or Die,” in person, September 14, and online.

“The documentary is called ‘Join or Die,’ which sounds pretty morbid, but it’s actually about the importance of engaging in the community that you live in,” Snyder says. “By joining groups and organizations, every individual can feel like they can have a positive impact on the community they live in.”

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Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.