If you are looking for encouragement to stay active during this time, one woman in Hazard, Kentucky, has some to offer.
In March 2017, Hazard resident Kay Jones sat down at CommonBond Fellowship Church for a story circle during Bible study. The theme of this particular week was about health and wellness.
The circle fostered an honest discussion about physical ailments, feelings of loneliness, and emotions that take place on an individual’s journey towards better health. Kay told the gathering she had been on a healing journey for over a year and had lost more than 50 pounds. The group was inspired, so Kay invited them to work out with her.
Three months later, Kay began leading an eight-week pilot version of what she named the “Fit & Fabulous Crew” at the Pavilion, which is a community wellness center in Hazard owned by the City of Hazard, which features tennis, indoor track, swimming pool, and more. Immediately, Fit & Fabulous Crew gained a passionate “crew” of participants who appreciate the openness and acceptance that is difficult to find in a regular co-ed gym.
“I want the women of Hazard and Perry County to know that they are not alone and do not have to hide their health struggles,” Kay said.
“When we can come together and encourage one another we can empower one another to overcome and move those mountains of disparity that are holding us back. We can become healthier and happier members and leaders in our community.”
In Fall 2018, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky facilitated a conversation between Kay and representatives of the Delores Barr Weaver Fund at the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, which ultimately led to a generous grant. As it has done in support of other emerging community initiatives across Eastern Kentucky, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky served as the fiscal agent for the grant award.
In 2019 and 2020, Kay began to look at the future of Fit & Fabulous Crew. With business planning assistance provided through Kentucky’s Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities Initiative, she is developing a business model that potentially includes a permanent space or pop-up classes at other locations like the Senior Center. The Mountain Association’s business support program also provided funding for Kay to work with Barbara Wycoff, a consultant with Creative Disrupters on business coaching including working on developing important business model information like profit and loss statements, projections, and more.
Recent research shows that strong social networks are critical for an individual’s health and well-being as social isolation can make individuals at a greater risk for depression, as well as heart conditions, and more. Prior to COVID-19, Kay offered either a lunchtime or evening class each day for just five dollars per class. Currently, she is offering classes online to help her crew stay motivated and to keep social networks strong. She is also encouraging everyone to get outside to walk when the weather allows.
To find out more information, Kay asks that you contact her via phone: (859) 268-9908