Ascent Wellness Program
The Ascent Wellness Program (AWP) is a program specifically created to create sensory-friendly, inclusive and accessible wellness services. It is currently being implemented by A4L, FLOAT Milwaukee and Siddhi Yoga.
See here! Photos of our spaces, team and description of our services and accessibility features!
What's AWP's Mission?
Our mission is to provide Wellness services to Milwaukee residents who find it difficult to fully participate/benefit from standard Wellness services in the community. We follow the principles of Universal Design and have been learning more about creating a truly accessible and safe services.
Our spaces are sensory inclusive/friendly and also designed to create an engaging learning environment.
Working with us:
Main ideas to have in mind:
Body + Mind ( + Spirit + Community/Environment): When thinking about best practices, we focus as much on the physical benefits of practice as well the mental/cognitive/emotional health benefits of a consistent wellness practice.
This is why we say that we focus on Mental Health, so as to compensate for the fact that Western Wellness Services simply dismiss this part of the health equation or focus on it in a way that is not trauma-sensitive (i.e. no pain no gain, "controlling emotions"). This means we might focus, occasionally, on supporting clients with self-regulation, self-care and community engagement. This means we might think about creatively supporting clients with environmental barriers to health and that we advocate for better health service accessibility (on a larger scale).
Yet, the main focus of our program is not to support clients in developing "mind hacks" or easy fix solutions for symptoms: it is to develop a consistent, self-elected long-term practice that can nourish and balance the nervous system. Mental Health, just like physical health will oscillate throughout life and - as we know how to manage flu or when to go to the doctor - it is important to also learn about first signs and symptoms of major Mental Health issues.
Each of our providers will expand (and share) their knowledge about the benefits of breath, body-mind connection practices in every single service. Yes, even in dietitian services! All layers of health are interconnected and can't be separated.
Note : the notion of spirit (e.g. life force, soul) can also be part of this equation, as some clients might relate to it better than the concept of "Mind".
LifeSpan Approach: we focus on the promotion of health/quality of life across the lifespan, supporting our clients in engaging in practices that are adapted to their current life stage, lifestyle, life roles and Recovery Vision. The wellness needs of a new mother, or of a young man going back to college, or of a women going through menopause or a teenager leaving high school might be quite different. We have this into account.
Person+ Systems/Environments: a person always exists within an immediate environment (household, neighborhood) that is embedded within a community, that functions within a city, state, country, hemisphere and planet. This Russian Doll model of life is important when thinking about health and human development. We, thus, follow an ecological/systemic approach to health (developed by Bronfenbrenner), as "no man is an island" and health and disease (and trauma) always happen within a context. Each context brings with it barriers and supports for health and is formed by social networks that can also be source of wellbeing or of disconnection.
Please see: Social Determinants of Health, Health Inequities.
There is a big percentage of the population of Milwaukee that can't fully participate in Movement/Wellness services, due to barriers associated with the services themselves.
Some of the barriers that came up in our research were the following.