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Port Jefferson Health & Wellness Fest

By Heidi Sutton

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce hosted its 13th annual Port Jeff Health & Wellness Fest at The Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station on April 23. The event featured over 50 vendors, health screenings, live music, a painting demonstration by Muse Paint Bar, a vegan BBQ food court courtesy of Catholic Health, a visit from therapy donkeys Pop-E and Lil-E from EEAW and Kota the comfort dog from Moloney Funeral Home, and lots of free giveaways. The wonderful event attracted hundreds of visitors interested in the many local services available in staying healthy in 2022.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

Members of the Royal Educational Foundation with Jill Nees Russell, center, in 2016

The Royal Educational Foundation of Port Jefferson is a not-for-profit educational corporation established in 1993 for the sole purpose of raising money to support and enhance the educational process in the Port Jefferson School District and to promote and support creative and innovative teaching techniques, programming initiatives and the utilization of new technologies in the classroom.  

Its board of trustees is comprised of community members who volunteer their time to organize fundraising events and to administer the foundation’s funds in cooperation with the school administration and board of education. Since its inception, the foundation has facilitated the granting of several hundred thousand dollars to the district.

Jill Nees Russell at Heritage Weekend in Port Jefferson in 2016.

Recently, the foundation lost a vital member of its board with the passing of Jill Nees Russell. She was a tremendous asset to the foundation, as well as to the school district and the greater Port Jefferson village community. She was a kind, caring and positive person who focused her energy on making Port Jefferson a better place. She led by example, was instrumental in moving many projects forward (new PTA events like the Science Fair and The Green Team, village programs like the Boater’s Maritime Festival, Heritage Weekend, Festival of Trees and The Holiday Light Show at Village Hall, just to name a few) and the positive impact of her selfless efforts will be felt for years to come. She is sorely missed by everyone who knew her.

At this time, the Royal Education Foundation takes special pride in announcing the renaming of the annual community walk-run event in Jill’s honor. Commencing with this year’s Family Fun Run, the event will be known as the Jill Nees Russell Power of One Family Fun Run!

The Power of One Award could not have a better namesake as Jill was the personification of its required attributes. The award inscription reads in part:

“The little things you do each day have the power to affect a great many people. You inspire us with your willingness and ability to help others. You take on the world, one day at a time, continuously searching for a way to make things better…”

This year will be the sixth time that the Royal Educational Foundation will present the award in conjunction with the annual Family Fun Run. The foundation is pleased to hold this event alongside the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce’s annual Health and Wellness Fest and looks to continue this partnership in the future.  

The Fun Run was started as a way to encourage physical activity and to celebrate the positive influence we can have on one another within our families and the community.    

The Power of One Award is presented to an outstanding community member who positively impacts the lives of those he/she touches on a daily basis. Past award recipients were Thomas Meehan, Richard Anderson, Deidre Filippi, Jesse Rosen and Christian Neubert. This year, the recipient of the Jill Nees Russell Power of One Award is Anthony Butera. Butera is an elementary school teacher in the district; heads the HS/MS drama program; and regularly volunteers for the Dickens Festival, the Harbor Ballet Theater’s “Nutcracker” production and with Theatre Three. The proceeds of this fundraiser will be used to enhance the quality of education in the Port Jefferson School District.

The Royal Educational Foundation invites you to participate in the 6th annual Jill Nees Russell Power of One Family Fun Run on Saturday, May 18. Whether you wish to walk or run, the 2-mile course is open to all ages. The run begins at 8 a.m. at the Port Jefferson Village Center, 101-A East Broadway, continues through the streets of Port Jefferson village, and ends in the High School Bowl. It coincides with the start of the Chamber of Commerce’s Health and Wellness Fest at 9 a.m. and all participants are invited, and urged, to attend.  

You may register for the run at www.reffundraiser.ticketleap.com/royal-educational-power-of-one-fun-run/ or on the day of the run between 7:30 and 8 a.m. at the Village Center. Advanced registrants need to check in no later than 8:15 a.m. 

Spring has sprung and that means it’s time for the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce’s annual Health and Wellness Fest. Celebrating its 10th year, the event returns to the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, 350 Old Post Road, Port Jefferson on Saturday, May 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Face artist Joanie Baloney with friends.

Ten years of healthy living; what a milestone for this event! To help celebrate this anniversary there are a lot of special activities planned. For the younger visitors there will be three super heroes walking around for photo opportunities. Have fun meeting Captain America, Wonder Woman and Batman! Face painting will be provided by professional face painter Joanie Baloney. A face art service provider with top-notch skills, both personal and professional, she is an artist and longtime children’s physical therapist who is skilled and is sensitive in working with all ages.

For those who want to experience something more on the wild side, there will be Goat Yoga from 11 a.m. to noon. Goat Yoga is an interactive yoga class that helps you get Zen with goats. This class is suitable for beginners or experienced yogis looking to practice in a new setting. A certified yoga instructor will blend movements and gentle stretches with the playful antics of live goats. Try the “downward goat” or “stretching kid” poses. You won’t want to miss this unscripted one-of-a-kind experience. There will be a group of 12 goats that will assist you in your yoga positions. This will be great fun for those new to yoga or those who need more goats in their life! 

Enjoy goat yoga at this year’s event!

If you want to enjoy more traditional activities, there will be a Zumba class and join in for free lessons on how to line dance with My Country Radio station 96.1. 

In addition, 50 vendors will be on hand to share all types of health-related wellness products and services. This year learn about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), a system that connects the producer and consumers within the food system more closely by allowing the consumer to subscribe to the harvest of a certain farm or group of farms! 

Or what about cryotherapy, an innovative, holistic wellness solution that enables the human body to recover and rejuvenate itself naturally. By exposing the body to extremely low temperatures (for 1 to 3 minutes), it triggers the body’s most powerful mechanisms of self-protection, self-recovery and self-rejuvenation! Stop by Vita Whole Body & Cryo table and experience a sampling of a facial or local cryotherapy.  

Visit the free food court at this year’s Health and Wellness Fest, courtesy of St. Charles Hospital!

Attendees also will have the benefit of many giveaways along with free screenings that are so important for good health, including blood pressure, body mass index screening (BMI), glucose, lung cancer, colorectal cancer, otoscopy for cerumen (earwax), hearing, cholesterol, balance and fall prevention and posture.

Longtime supporter St. Charles Hospital will again have its healthy food court offering free nutritional food all day. The event has partnered with the Royal Educational Foundation of Port Jefferson, which will be celebrating its sixth annual Power of One Family Fun Run. The 2k race finishes at the high school where runners are welcome to visit the health fest.

Come join the Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce for this fun Eat Well, Live Well free event. For further information, call 631-473-1414 or visit www.portjeffhealth.com.

The Greater Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce will present its 8th annual Health & Wellness Fest on April 22 at the Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, located at 350 Old Post Road in Port Jefferson, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Port Jefferson Chamber has brought together a large number of health and wellness professionals to offer our visitors the latest information for all stages of life including pre-birth, childhood, adulthood and elder years. In addition to exhibitors from traditional medical fields, there will also be specialists in the areas of physical fitness, nutrition and holistic medicine. The exhibitors will focus on prevention, early detection and treatment measures and techniques.

We are delighted and honored to, once again, have our three renowned medical establishments — Stony Brook Medicine, John T. Mather Memorial Hospital and St. Charles Hospital at our fest this year. They offer a wealth of professional health and wellness expertise and are providing free health screenings, special demonstrations, free giveaways and much more healthy living information.

It’s all about food and fun!

Our tag line this year is still Eat Well, Live Well, emphasizing the fact that we are what we eat! Did you say you liked eating healthy food? Well you will not be disappointed at this year’s Health & Wellness Fest. St. Charles Hospital is sponsoring their “food court” featuring all healthy food. A variety of breakfast and lunch items will be offered including overnight oatmeal, strawberry bars, smoothies, lentil soup and cauliflower pizza with toppings and fresh veggies with dip and hummus. Participants will be able to choose their selection with St. Charles’ Executive Chef Bill Dougherty and their dietitians, nutritionists and staff to assist with questions about healthy eating and diet.

At 9:30 after you have had a filling breakfast you can burn those calories off with a mini-yoga class with Diane MacDonald, a life transition coach, yoga teacher and co-founder of It Takes of Village Wellness here in Port Jefferson. For those of you who like to watch their fun, at 11:30 a dynamitic dance couple from the Arthur Murray Dance Studio of Port Jefferson Station will demonstrate the beauty of ballroom dancing, showing off the many different styles of couple dancing! To complete your visit to this year’s fest have some fun checking your balance, learn more about exercising or stop by for some craft activities at our Port Jefferson Library table. There is something for everyone!

Healing, service and animals

This year at the 8th annual Health & Wellness Fest, attendees will learn the value of the healing powers of animals. We are very pleased to highlight three vendors that specialize in service animals. First, and very exciting, we will have miniature therapy donkeys! These four-legged adorable donkeys have been rescued from circumstances that no one would want to entertain. Their “zen-like” grounded qualities aid in the healing of seniors, children and people with disabilities. Enjoy petting one with their Converse sneakers and discovery these gentle, kind beasts.

Dogs play so many roles in our society today and two of our vendors feature the relationship dogs can have with our service men and women. Patriotic Services Dog Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on serving our veterans by raising the awareness for their needs and providing service dogs to those who may benefit from long-term mental and physical assistance. So come and meet Indee, short for Independence, a fox red Labrador and owner Glen Moody. Our other animal vendor is Paws for War, who also train and place rescued dogs to serve and provide independence to our United States military veterans who suffer the emotional effect of the war. We appreciate all that these animals do for us and let’s give thanks to them and the service of our military men and women!

Family Fun Run kicks off fest

The Royal Educational Foundation invites you to participate in the Fourth Annual Power of One Family Fun Run in Port Jefferson on Saturday, April 22. This event is designed to encourage physical activity and is intended to celebrate the positive influence we can have on one another and our community. Port Jefferson High School social studies teacher Jesse Rosen will be honored at the event with the Power of One Award for his significant positive impact on the village and school community. Whether you wish to walk or run, the 2-mile course is open to all ages.

The run begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Village Center, 101 E. Broadway, continues through the streets of Port Jefferson Village, and ends at the High School Bowl and the Chamber of Commerce’s Health & Wellness Fest. For more information or to register, visit www.pjref.com (click on the Power of One Fun Run tab). You may also register the day of the run between 7:30 and 8 a.m. at the Village Center. Advanced registrants need to check in no later than 8:15 a.m. The proceeds of this fundraiser will be used to enhance the quality of education in the Port Jefferson School District.