Uta Halee Girls Village, an organization dedicated to providing a healing environment to adolescents and their families through comprehensive treatment programming in Omaha, Neb., is taking its services to an even greater level with the opening of the Mildred Scott Wellness Center.
More than just a building, as Uta Halee Director of Donor Relations Tracy Wells says, the Mildred Scott Wellness Center serves as the central hub of activity at the village with its main purpose to provide a space devoted to improving the girls’ mind, body, and spirit through a variety of wellness opportunities.
Conceived from years of research into the effects of adverse childhood experiences and thoughtful planning into how best to create a multi-purpose healing space, the Center serves as a resource that provides a healthy and safe alternative when coping with trauma.
“People figure out how to cope with the traumas, or toxic stress, in their lives and some of those coping strategies, like binge eating, aggression, and inactivity from depression, aren’t very healthy. The Wellness Center offers a healthy alternative,” Wells said. “If wellness can become a part of these girls’ lives, if it can become a habit and something they look forward to every day, that’s tremendous and the results can really be life altering.”
Equipped with a nutrition center, healthy café, fitness facility with exercise equipment and floor space for yoga and other aerobic activities, art studio, nursing suite, conference and meeting room space, plus a multi-purpose mediation and activity area on the second floor, the 16,000 square foot, $7.5 million center officially opened Friday, June 18 and was commemorated with a celebration for supporters, residents, and staff.
“There are some phenomenal spaces within the Wellness Center walls and to be able to come together in groups and in one space dedicated to furthering our work through nutritional education, physical activity, spiritual development, art therapy, and so much more, is simply amazing,” Wells said.
The amazement is in how the Center makes one feel. Overlooking the woods, embellished by a plethora of windows, the Center is calm, yet vibrant says Wells and incorporates a circle theme throughout that symbolizes the circles one creates in their lives through family, friends and other support systems. The theme is extenuated by dramatic artwork completed by residents and other key elements with the hope that these calming details will have an immediate effect on those who enter the building without them ever knowing it.
“The entire design of the Center was geared so that the minute you walk in the doors, the kids we are so fortunate to serve, will think, maybe things will be different for me this time, even if that is never articulated verbally,” Wells said. “From that point, through the Center we want to help kids learn how to make better choices so they have a better future. Life is a series of balances and the more we can integrate and illustrate that balance through wellness, the better.”
For more information about Uta Halee Girls Village visit www.utahalee-cooper.org.