Marcella Smart

Marcella Smart credits her benefits with protecting her health, and our wellness workshops with helping her maintain a healthy weight.

Marcella Smart, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Methodist Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation, knows how fortunate she is not to have any serious medical issues, such as diabetes or hypertension. To ensure she remains in good health, she has turned to her Benefit Fund for a little extra help.

Since 2016, Marcella has been attending the Fund’s quarterly wellness workshops, held at Fund Headquarters, for tips on eating right and reducing stress. “I’m not overweight,” said Marcella, “but the workshops taught me all about the best food choices, as well as portion control, which helps me keep my weight in check.” Working the night shift makes eating healthfully a challenge, but the workshops have shown Marcella how to plan meals that best suit her schedule, including eating earlier in the evening before she leaves home.

What Do Your Benefits Mean to You?

You count on your health benefits to support you in your efforts to stay healthy, whether it’s by getting regular checkups, keeping a chronic condition under control or just improving your lifestyle in general. But has there ever been a time when your health coverage literally saved your life or the life of a loved one? If so, we’d like to hear from you. To share your story with your fellow members in an upcoming issue of For Your Benefit, please contact the Fund at Communications@1199Funds.org.

In addition to her nontraditional hours, working in a nursing home can be stressful, and Marcella has learned strategies at the workshops to ease tension and cope better with the demands of her job. “I really like finding out about ways to become calmer, including learning how to meditate,” she said. Exercise is also an important part of her wellness plan. Since she lives close to a park near her home in the Bronx, Marcella walks there for fitness one day during the week and on weekends for about half an hour each time. She’s sometimes joined by friends, depending on their schedules. And getting out in nature—especially when living and working in the city—is also a great stress reducer. “I have a busy schedule,” she said, “but I’ve learned to find the time to just do it, because I know it’s important for my health.”

Marcella is grateful for the benefits she has as an 1199SEIU member, including having peace of mind in knowing she can visit her healthcare providers and get the care she needs with no out-of-pocket costs. “I get regular checkups every year to make sure I’m on the right track,” she said. Marcella’s goal is to maintain her weight and stay healthy, and with the help of her benefits, she plans to do just that.

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After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Wanda Santiago has lost more than 30 pounds through healthier eating and exercise habits, which is helping keep her condition under control.

Tereza Ubinas-Valle

A medical issue during her second pregnancy motivated Tereza Ubinas-Valle to commit to making her health a top priority—for herself and her growing family.

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