MOVEMBER started in 2003 in Australia. It is the only charity that focuses on men’s health worldwide. The initial idea came up between two friends, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery to bring back the fashion trends for men to grow their mustaches. They invited 30 men who took the challenge. Inspired by the success of the event, Travis and Luke took the event to the next level and started fundraising and donated the money to Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia in 2004. In recent years, the goal of the organization expanded to address some of the biggest health issues faced by men such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and suicide prevention.
The Wellbeing department is developing. One of our goals this year is to create opportunities for our staff to share their interests and strengthen our sense of community. Most importantly to advocate and encourage our community to take action in keeping a balance and healthy lifestyle. How we support ourselves and each other is crucial to establishing a positive and caring environment. I want to reiterate that; community and teamwork drive the most successful wellness program. As we develop the program, we focus on creating a culture where diversity is shared, and celebrated, and promotes a sense of belonging.
For the entire month of November, the participants took the challenge to grow their mustache and/or beard to advocate for men’s health. We got together for lunch to open the event. To make the event meaningful, other staff were invited to show their support by doing physical activities such as walking around the school, exercising at home, or simply maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle.The participation was more than I expected, and the event was meaningful as it brought awareness to the whole community about the cause. For some people, it was personal having had a member of the family overcome cancer and mental health issues. I was also touched by some people who shared stories and sent pictures of doing physical activities together to support a male family member.
Overall, we achieved our purpose of advocating for men’s health. As we reflected on the event, we hope to encourage more people to join the challenge and invite students to participate in the closing ceremony. This year, some participants were risk takers and had their mustaches shaved by students and colleagues. To celebrate with our participants, we gathered for lunch.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support. First, to Mr. Shameek, our DP Coordinator for bringing up the idea over lunch. It was great timing as I was looking for something that is non-disruptive, simple, and meaningful. Our head of HR, Ms. Kathy Wei, and team, and Ms. Fiona, our head of Teaching Assistants for the posters and wall display. Ms. Daisy, our visual arts teacher, and Mr. Hakim for the poster design. Mr. Shameek and Mr. Jack, our P5 B homeroom teacher collaborated to take memorable black-and-white pictures of the participants. Ms. Selena, our finance officer for cooking delicious food. Our head of resources, Ms. Leah, and team for supporting the event. Last but not the least, to all participants for taking the challenge and supporters, and to our head of school, Dr. Lily Liu for the support. It was truly a meaningful community event!
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Maria Zialcita (PYP Coordinator and Head of All Staff Wellbeing)