Mission

Wandering Wellness’s mission is to provide mobile wellness services to underserved populations, empowering individuals and communities to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing. Yoga, meditation, art, music, dance, exercise, and drama are employed to achieve this mission.

Vision

Wandering Wellness envisions a community where everyone has access to wellness resources. Marginalized populations apply tools learned from yoga, meditation, and other healing arts to grow stronger in their physical, emotional, and mental health. Through this growth, individuals, families, and communities become strengthened and live balanced and inspired lives.

The Team

Jessy Fijak, MSW, Executive Director

     Jess has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, and a Master of Social Work degree. She has traveled to India twice to study yoga and obtained her yoga teaching certification at an ashram in a rural village outside of Bangalore.    

 Jess has worked directly with newly resettled refugees and immigrants at multiple capacities with three major nonprofit organizations in Chicago beginning in 2010. Her passion for cross-cultural community empowerment grew from her anthropology, sociology, and social work studies, her experience teaching youth in Ghana, Panama, and Thailand, and providing trauma-informed psychotherapy and counseling at a local nonprofit. Many of the evidence based therapies that Jess was using in her social work practice contain aspects of traditional yoga and meditation practices that have existed for thousands of years.  

   Jess spent time in the local Long Beach, California community obtaining her Master of Social Work and became aware of the lack of support and funding for the services that Wandering Wellness provides. Jess created a therapeutic yoga program during her first year masters internship at a center for adults with physical and intellectual disabilities.    

 Given the overwhelming amount of positive feedback that she received from the participants, she enlisted the assistant director of Wandering Wellness to carry on the program after her internship was complete. The success of that program, Jess’s own healing journey through art and yoga, her professional experience traveling and working in nonprofits, and desire to increase access to holistic healing modalities inspired her to create Wandering Wellness. 

Jane Fijak, Assistant Director

Jane has a Bachelors of Science in sociology and has been working in the health and wellness field for over twenty years. She has worked with groups and individuals as both a personal trainer and a certified wellness coach. Yoga and meditation became her passion and she received her hatha yoga teacher certification and meditation teacher training certification teaching multiple weekly classes for over 12 years. Her daily yoga and meditation practice, travels to India, and retreat study inspired her to spread the healing power of yoga and meditation to those with disabilities. She received her adaptive yoga teacher certification and continues to teach adults with disabilities.

Lauran Bowe Slagle, Art Program Director

Lauran has a Bachelors of Arts in psychology with a minor in art, and has been working in the community education field for the past 6 years. She has worked with youth across the city of Milwaukee as both a teaching artists and as a coach, and has earned certificates in both trauma-informed care and youth mental health first aid. She has volunteered with non-profits in both Ghana and Uganda, teaching art to local youth both times. Lauran believes in the healing power of art, and strives to continue to make it accessible to youth, no matter their circumstances.

Shara Riley, M-HYI, Group Yoga Instructor

Shara (Sarah) Riley is a Master Holy Yoga Instructor and Therapist.  After a decade in Medical Education Shara resigned from her position at Long Beach Memorial/Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital, Long Beach with the desire to transfer from indirect to direct patient care.

Shara has found yoga to be one of the most practical and  beneficial to lifestyle changes.  In enriching her practice, Shara has a developed a desire to aid others in discovering the benefits of incorporating yoga into their lives.  This desire has birthed her company NevaShame, LLC a yoga therapy and coaching service business that strives to eradicate the roots of shame utilizing Yoga and Soul Care. It is Shara’s belief that we are all uniquely crafted to live a life of authenticity and in doing so are in harmony with are personal frequency.  Yoga and Soul Care are tools to aid us in finding our frequency and maintaining it.

Bri Ruben, Group Yoga Instructor

Bri has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychological Sciences with a minor in Studio Art from the University of Vermont. She received her 200-hour yoga teaching certification in 2017 and has since taught in Vermont, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and now California.

Originally from Texas and Massachusetts, Bri moved to Long Beach this past July to work as an Innovation Specialist at Long Beach Hillel. Her position is part of a two-year fellowship designed by Hillel International, a non-profit organization that builds Jewish community on college campuses. Two Jewish values that inspire Bri’s life and work are Tikkun Olam and Tikkun Asmit- to repair the world and to repair oneself.

Board Of Directors

Ruben Borrero, MPA

President

Barry C. Slagle, J.D.

Vice-President

Lynn E. Burmeister

Secretary

Timothy Haggerty, CPA

Treasurer