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Celebrating Wellness


Crestwood Treatment Center’s Dream Team Celebrating Wellness

“Health is wellness, health is power,” declared a resident at Crestwood Treatment Center in Fremont.  This powerful statement came as a result of the facility’s first Wellness Fair that was held on March 18, 2015.  In preparation for the Wellness Fair, a few small groups of residents known as the “Dream Team” spent three months exploring with staff members different wellness topics related to stress management, both through research and experiential activities.  These small groups met once a week to investigate each wellness topic and prepare a related presentation.  After three months of creative collaboration, they selected the topics of Aromatherapy, Exercise, Music Appreciation, Guided Imagery, and Assertive Communication to feature at their Wellness Fair.

The Dream Team residents then prepared and distributed invitations to facility residents and staff, and announcement banners were hung throughout the facility.  The conference room and adjoining outdoor Zen Garden were transformed into a presentation hall, with five separate stations, one for each wellness topic.  The Wellness Fair kicked off on a beautiful day with the Zen Garden fountain bubbling and relaxing music playing.  Seats were available in the garden for attendees to reflect quietly and/or relax together.  Residents and staff were invited to make their way throughout the fair, stopping at each booth to connect with their Dream Team hosts.  Pairs of Dream Team members handed out informational packets and discussed their topic of wellness with participants, and invited them to join them in their wellness activity.  One resident remarked, “I was able to get a lot of information proving that music really does relieve stress.  It is my favorite way to take the stress away.  Music even relieves stress during dental procedures!”  Refreshments were also served and participants were invited to share hummus, cucumber toast, a fresh fruit salad, and lemon mint water as they further relaxed in the Zen Garden.

The education, exchange of wellness information and the entire experience was very empowering for Dream Team members and well received by all who participated.  “The Wellness Fair was a complete success.  It was so much fun and informative for everyone.  Participating residents were very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their respective topics.  They were able to communicate and explain the importance on how to live a healthy lifestyle.  The visitors who attended the Fair were all impressed with the way the booths were set up and organized by staff and residents,” said Luis de Vera, Assistant Director of Nursing

The facility is still buzzing about the Wellness Fair and Dream Team members are eager to start preparing for next year’s event. They have big plans to expand the fair and possibly invite other Crestwood facilities to share in the experience.

Lillian Fong, Program Administrator, remarked, “I am so impressed with our residents’ enthusiasm and “can do” attitude. Their confidence was evident that day for all to see.”

Contributed by:

Karen Scott, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist
Crestwood Treatment Center

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The Healing Garden


Liberty Hyde Bailey, a renowned American horticulturist, botanist and cofounder of the American Society for Horticultural Science once said, “A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.” At Crestwood Manor Modesto, their residents demonstrate exactly that philosophy with their Healing Harvest Project. The Healing Harvest Project is part of the facility’s vocational rehabilitation program, which consists of offering three types of jobs for residents – staff assistants, peer assistants, and caring for plants, animals, and the environment with the Healing Harvest Project.

The Healing Harvest Project gives residents the opportunity to put their hands in the dirt and have the ability to enjoy outdoor time, while being simultaneously productive, industrious and a contributing member to the Crestwood community. “I like being outdoors, and having the freedom,” said one resident who is working in both the vegetable and flower gardens.


The volunteer residents participate in the garden’s care and cultivate its growth, making it into a serene and beautiful place. It also gives the residents tools and skills, which they can use in the garden, as well as in their life. It has been shown that gardening is a genuine therapeutic tool for some and can help improve memory, cognitive abilities, language capabilities, socialization and problem solving skills. Furthermore, gardening can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, endurance and overall health. One resident who works in the flower garden commented, “I like to water, it’s calming and relaxing.”

The gardens are often filled with beautiful flowers and nutritious vegetables and fruits that are used throughout the facility. The head of the vocational rehabilitation department, Judi Jimenez, makes great use of the flower garden, conducting a flower arranging group when they are in bloom. Dietary Supervisor, Rene Springfield, teaches nutrition groups, and Behavior Specialist, Michael Russ, who has a Culinary Arts degree, conducts a cooking group with geriatric residents using produce from the garden. Activity and program staff also teach independent living skills, focusing on food preparation with various cultural delights being created, always with delicious results.

The benefits of the garden are not just for the residents, but for the staff as well. On occasion when things get tough and staff need a moment to relax, the garden offers a beautiful place to rejuvenate, smell the flowers and realize that this amazing garden is a product of the residents’ hard work and a reminder of the importance of what they do each day.

Contributed by:
Robert Leavy, Director of Program Education
Leslie Darouze, Program Director
Crestwood Manor Modesto