Wellness WORKs! is a center located on the Stockton Campus of California State University, Stanislaus at University Park that provides wellness classes and activities to San Joaquin County CalWORKs (welfare) participants. It is a partnership between Stanislaus State and San Joaquin County Mental Health Services, the agency that contracts with the University to specifically serve the welfare population. There are several thousand persons receiving welfare in San Joaquin County. Many have obstacles to entering the work world. Various approaches are being taken to provide them with supportive services and education to become economically self-sufficient. Since December 2000, Work Wellness: The Basics, a curriculum of topics and activities based on a holistic model of wellness, has been offered two to three weeks each month. As of the end of December 2010, over 5,000 had attended classes at Wellness WORKs!

A 25 minute movie updated since released in Jan 2008.

Before a curriculum was designed, focus groups were conducted with:

  • Prospective participants to determine worries and fears related to employment and their overall health
  • Case managers, to elicit their perceptions about client needs
  • Non-English speaking Southeast Asian participants through the use of interpreters. (Special weeks have been held for Hispanics, Hmong, Cambodian, Lao and Vietnamese.)

Themes from the focus groups, literature and research on wellness and work-related needs of low-income persons, and resources actually available in the community were primary determinants in creating a program. The short-term goals were to foster positive self-esteem, improve self-care, and enhance personal and family wellness. The long-term goals were to support entry into the work world, increase success as employed citizens, and optimize their functioning as individuals, family members and parents.

Philosophy with Seven Dimensions

The teaching-learning philosophy is to provide interactive education and approaches that reflect the current holistic/integrative model of wellness to foster positive self-esteem, to improve self-care, and to enhance personal empowerment and well being. Seven dimensions of wellness and self-care are introduced at the onset of Work Wellness: The Basics. They are physical, social, environmental, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional, especially as they influence the seventh dimension, occupational wellness.

Spiritual, Social, Occupational, Intellectual, Physical, Emotional, Environmental. Wellness Wheel

Participants' Comments

"I enjoyed the whole week and would recommend this class for anyone as I believe it would be beneficial for anyone and would definitely take it again."

"I feel the class as a whole was a very positive experience. It gave me tools that I can use in various aspects of my life, whether it be personal or in a workplace setting."

"Wish to attend again and again and again. Will give a good report to others in need. I had a wonderful time. This should be first step for any program. CalWORKs should be sponsoring program."

"I learned a lot of stuff that I had no idea about. It helped me how to think better about myself, especially my health. It was a wonderful week!!"

"I liked this a lot. I wouldn't mind going more than a week. We were treated as people instead of "cattle" being rushed through class."

"I needed something like this to remember who I was before life took me away."

"I learned a lot of information and recommend to anyone to go if they could. One of the best things I have done in my life, a great opportunity."

"This whole week made me feel so much better inside and out. Awesome program."

"I wish I could do this for more than one week, but with other subjects too! These past few days have built up my self-esteem taught me to have more patience and gave me a lot of knowledge that I so desperately needed!"

"This should be the first step in becoming independent and becoming successful--without knowing who you are or where you are going in life leaves you nowhere--this class is all about me knowing who I am."

"After returning to the program to do the one-day CPR class, one client stated "It feels like being home."

One client's answer to the question "How do you feel being referred to Wellness WORKs?" Client stated: "I have been here for 20 minutes and I thank God for this program because I truly feel I am going to get the help that I need."

Updated: September 01, 2023