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Materials and Training for:

the self

the family

the community

the helping agency


The term "wellness" is increasingly being used to talk about a state of personal and community health that goes beyond the absence of sickness. Wellness means wholeness, balance, harmony and fulfillment of potential. It is both a goal and a process of reaching the goal.

This series of training opportunities and services offered by Four Worlds focuses on helping individuals and communities to learn how to live their lives in ways that lead to wellness in four distinct dimensions:


The journey towards personal wellness must pass through four key areas: the thinking self, the feeling or emotional self, the spiritual self and the physical self. Each of these critical areas has its own wellness needs, and each area is inseparably connected to all the others. It is impossible to ignore one’s health in any one of the areas without creating imbalance and ultimately weakness or ill health in the person.

Based on the wellness technologies of North American tribal people fused with the best that western science has to offer, this four-day workshop will take participants through an in-depth wellness inventory that systematically assesses the actual conditions, needs and potentialities of the thinking self, the emotional self, the spiritual self and the physical self.

Based on this assessment, participants will be aided to develop a personal wellness plan covering all four key areas. As well, participants will be exposed to a broad range of models, strategies, exercises and resources that can be applied to self-development efforts in each of the four key wellness dimensions.

Each participant will have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one personal wellness counseling and training as a part of the workshop program, and every participant will leave the training with a one-year follow-up plan that includes a designated wellness "buddy" or wellness support group.


With few exceptions, unhealthy families cannot produce healthy people. Generally speaking, families reproduce their mental, emotional, spiritual and physical patterns (or habits) over many generations. The way we care for ourselves, the way we parent our children, the way we treat each other, and the things we believe or disbelieve in, cherish and respect or hate – all of this we pass on to the next generation.

In order to move as families toward wellness, we need to know what a healthy family would be like and more, specifically what our family would be like if it were truly healthy. Then we need to know exactly what our health strengths and weaknesses are (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual) as families. Finally we need a plan for how to become more healthy, and a process of learning to get us there.

This four day workshop is for families (grandparents, parents and children - or any combination that you consider "family) who want to take the wellness journey together.

Working together with other families through a program of workshop and recreational challenge activities, families will:

develop a working vision of what their family would be like if it were truly healthy

complete a process of assessment to determine the actual levels of wellness of your family in all key wellness areas

learn new skills, models, strategies and tools for growth

develop new, healthier patterns of interaction between family members

begin to address key healing issues

make a one-year plan for continuing family development after the workshop that includes continued learning, family activities and outside support for continued development in all key wellness areas.

Note: This workshop is limited to six to eight families per session (about 40 people) including children.


Promoting the health and wellness of communities is not merely a matter of getting individuals and families to think and act in ways that lead to health. The individualistic or client-centered approach to health coming out of the medical model cannot address the following vital areas:

1.The political climate: Who has power? Who does not? Who has a voice? Who does not? What mechanisms and processes are in place to give people meaningful participation in the shaping of the world they have to live within?

2. The ecological and economic climate: Are people able to meet their basic physical needs? Is the relationship patterns between the community and the natural world (the earth) at levels within healthy and sustainable levels?

3.Social well-being: Are people’s basic needs for true community being met? Are life-long learning needs being addressed? Does the climate of the community encourage and provide support for personal and community development?

4.Cultural well-being: Are the cultures of the community adequately acknowledged and practiced? Are the values and practices at the heart of community life healthy? Are the spiritual resources of this community effective? Are the different cultural and religious groups in the community working in harmony?

The Workshop

This two day community workshop will take a community core group and the agencies that work with the community through the following steps:

Developing a working model of what community health is and of the processes that can stimulate and nurture the development of higher levels of community health.

Developing a vision of what your community would be like if it were healthy (to be further developed through community engagement).

Introduction to a set of tools and methodologies for assessing community wellness.

Conducting a one day community workshop, out of which a preliminary community health development needs assessment will be completed.

Developing a community health development work plan, which will include lines of action, and a learning plan for key players. This plan will also ensure the following:

What community resources and assets can be built upon?

What parts of the adaptive work to be done can the community do for itself?

What parts require outside help or action by authorities or power centers outside the community?


This workshop can be tailored to the needs of a First Nation (i.e. tribal) communities, multi-cultural urban communities, or to any other type of community desiring to make community related improvements in health.


In this wellness and health promotion series, we offer two key workshops for helping agencies:

1. Retooling for health promotion 2. Evaluation health promotion programs


This two day workshop for the boards and staff of health related agencies is about making the shift from agency delivery to community responsibility in health promotion. It is clear that there are certain very large dimensions of the health picture that cannot be delivered to people by agencies. These are the parts that people must develop from within themselves, their families, their organizations and their communities. For many helping agencies (and especially those staffed by health care professionals) making this shift requires developing a new vision of what the work is, as well as new attitudes, values, skills, and tools.

This Workshop Will:

Provide a comprehensive introduction to a set of models, maps and principles concerning what community health development is and how it can be promoted;

Help participants to develop an understanding of what the adaptive work really is within agencies and communities to make the shift to community based approaches to health;

Introduce a set of tools and methodologies for assessing community wellness, and for planning health promotion work;

Facilitate the development of a strategic action plan for making the shift from agency delivery to community responsibility, including a learning plan for agency staff and board members.


Because unless staff and board members learn to think and act in new ways that will lead to the newly envisioned outcomes, everyone will go on as before, thinking and acting as they have always done – which has always led to the same old outcomes. What is needed is a vigorous and consistent process of learning how to think and act in new ways.


Evaluating the outcomes of health promotion programs has proven to be an illusive and seemingly difficult task. Many health and human service professionals, and agencies avoid the challenge of health promotion program evaluation until they are forced to deal with it.

Four Worlds has a broad base of experience in the area of evaluating community based programming. From our experience, we have learned the following about evaluating promotion.

1.The peoples whose health is supposedly being "promoted" must be brought into the process of evaluation.

2.Evaluation can be used as a powerful springboard for community education and community mobilization if it is properly facilitated.

3.Health promotion is a process. Most standard evaluation methods do not evaluate processes. They evaluate outcomes and results. To adequately evaluate a process, you need a process based methodology. We find that a Participatory Action Research approach is the most flexible and best able to integrate the needs for qualitative and quantitative data.

4. Properly employed - an evaluation process can be a highly effective health promotion strategy - sometimes even more powerful than the program it is evaluating.

5. Evaluation should begin at the beginning of the program; not the end. While it is possible to evaluate after the program is completed, to do so negates the opportunity to adjust the program as you go, and misses the chance to use the evaluation as curriculum for everyone involved.

This Workshop Will:

Introduce participants to the main issues and challenges in health promotion evaluation.

Present a set of models, and tools developed by Four Worlds for Health Promotion Evaluation, along with case examples.

Assist participants to design evaluation or assessment protocols for specific situations brought to the workshop from the real life challenges participants are facing in their daily work.

Note: This workshop can be tailored to specific communities, or can be designed to accommodate groups from many different communities.

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Phil Lane, Jr., International Coordinator Four Worlds International Institute for Human and Community Development


347 Fairmont Boulevard, Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 7J8 Canada

Phone: (403) 320-7144 Fax: (403) 329-8383 E-Mail: 4worlds@uleth.ca