Stereotypical New Year’s resolutions often involve exercise and diet goals, and, after the pandemic of the past year, wellness is especially top of mind.
Turning those dreams into reality requires hard work, but accountability partners and a fun routine make everything much easier. As a small but growing town, Simpsonville, South Carolina, knows how to combine community with a focus on health and wellness.
“It’s a growing town, but it still has a small-town feel,” said Kevin Dehlinger, executive director of Sportsclub Fitness & Wellness. “We take pride in the fact that when people come in the door, we know their first name and they know our first name. Everybody has your back.”
Soon Simpsonville will have another option for keeping community members healthy with the opening of a new Bon Secours Hospital campus. The two-story building, featuring a retail pharmacy, X-ray, ultrasound and space for specialist offices, will be located on Interstate 385, with an anticipated completion date of early 2022.
But the hospital also plans to be a part of the community outside of its physical location. Outreach services such as mammography buses and athletic training will contribute to overall wellness in Simpsonville, and Bon Secours has partnered with Greenville-area organizations to establish a residential program for South Carolina human trafficking victims and housing for low-income families.
“Bon Secours has such a good history in Greenville County, and it really started over 80 years ago with the sisters,” said Matt Caldwell, market president for Bon Secours St. Francis. “We focus on underserved communities and on making sure that we extend the healing ministry of Jesus. And when it comes to the Simpsonville community, our hope is that we can continue to meet them where they are with the services they need.”
And they’re not waiting for the campus to open before building relationships with the Simpsonville community. Lisa Cobb serves as the RN for the Bon Secours health program at Fitesa, a local manufacturing company. She runs the walk-in clinic there, providing free health care to employees and their families.
“I love my patients, and I love to be a resource to them,” said Cobb. “Many times in a health care setting, patients can be intimidated. But I can help bridge that. I like to care for people; that’s why I’ve always been a nurse. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Regular doctor visits aren’t the only way to improve your health. At the beginning of every year, gyms and fitness classes everywhere are packed with people who plan to make exercise a new habit.
The COVID-19 pandemic kept many gym-goers from their usual exercise routines, but fitness centers in the Simpsonville area have provided an escape and a community feel along with physical wellness.
“Now, more than ever, people are experiencing a lot of physical and mental stress,” said Sarah Wolfe, general manager at Soul Yoga, a new yoga studio in Simpsonville. “Yoga provides a place for people to really start their healing journey. For 60 minutes, you get to have the opportunity to forget about work and what’s going on in the world around you and really connect to your body and your breath.”
Sportsclub, a fitness and wellness community, builds strong relationships with its members and helps them reach their health goals beyond an exercise routine. The center partners with Bon Secours for physical therapy and other wellness programs, as well as fitness classes for a variety of ages and abilities.
The Sportsclub website boasts a badge on the front page labeling the fitness center as “family and locally owned.” Dehlinger said this indicates the level of service that clients receive when they join –personal attention, friendly staff and a high level of expertise is their calling card.
“Sportsclub really is a place where people come to socialize and to do more than just work out,” he said. “If a member does not come in for an extended period of time, our staff is going to make sure you’re doing all right and ask how you have been. If Sportsclub was just a place to work out and was not a partner with the community, we’ve failed in our mission. Our mission is to serve the community by helping people meet their health and wellness goals.”
Bon Secours, Soul Yoga and Sportsclub all emphasized the relationships they build with their clients. Part of strengthening those relationships is providing services for a wide variety of people within the community.
Through off-campus health programs like the one at Fitesa, Bon Secours is able to provide health care to people who may face barriers getting medical care elsewhere. And both Soul Yoga and Sportsclub offer a variety of classes for clients in all stages of their fitness journeys. Sportsclub even has options to help disabled or elderly clients meet their exercise goals.
The mission of Sound Hearing Care, a specialist in hearing and tinnitus care, is to provide hearing care to the entire Simpsonville community. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Simpsonville location has stayed open, offering curbside service to those who need it.
In addition, Sound Hearing Care is available at local health fairs, nursing homes and patients’ residences for people who are unable to get to the office. Jennifer Waddell, owner and certified tinnitus care provider, has even programmed hearing aids on front porches and through windows.
“Simpsonville has a small-town, home-community feel,” said Waddell. “Everybody’s friendly; everyone knows each other. We help and look out for each other, especially when someone needs a hand. With the COVID pandemic, those that can’t hear are really struggling with having to wear masks. It’s been imperative for us to treat all of those who have hearing loss and make this trying time manageable, and, in the process, improve their health and lives.”
Because social distancing and isolation were so prevalent over the past year, health and wellness leaders in the Simpsonville community want to do their part to keep their community healthy while also connecting with those around them. That feeling of connection is what they all love most about Simpsonville.
“Every person that walks through the door, we call them by their first name,” Wolfe said of Soul Yoga. “People move here from all over and put down roots. We see a lot of familiar faces. People come and practice a few days a week. Having the opportunity to connect with so many locals and get to know them has been my favorite part of working here.”
By Katherine Waters