News


Testimony of Joslyn Raquel Reese

On Behalf of FIT & NU™ and Minority Business Leaders

to the

Colorado Senate Finance Committee

“Modify COVID-19 Relief Programs for Small Business”

January 13, 2021

 

Madam Chair and Members of the Committee, my name is Joslyn Raquel Reese and I am a proud member of Good Business Colorado and the Co-Founder of FIT & NU, Colorado’s first FITness and NUtrition club for women of color. Thank you for the opportunity to share my story and discuss the importance of SB21-001, Modify COVID-19 Relief Programs for Small Business. We would also like to thank Senator Fields for the work she is doing in our district to support minority business leaders like me. It is an honor to represent the voice of my fellow minority entrepreneurs in front of the members of this subcommittee and the distinguished panel of experts and advocates who are in attendance today.

________

 

Six years ago, my sister and I started FIT & NU by hosting classes in public parks, community centers, and local churches. We were driven by our passion for helping others and our mission to provide culturally informed, fitness and nutrition services to improve the lives and health of the women in our community who work tirelessly to support their families and make invaluable contributions to broader society. It has been an absolute dream come true to grow our business from its humble beginnings to what we have become today: a fully equipped boutique club that is not only positively impacting the health and wellness of hardworking women in our community, but employing, collaborating and contracting with state and local government agencies (like the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment), other small businesses, and entrepreneurs.

While we achieved these accomplishments through grit and determination, we could not have done this alone. Much of the success that my sister and I have enjoyed so far has been propelled by generous grants and services provided by local non-profit organizations who focus on supporting small, family-owned businesses like ours.

The importance of identifying and securing financial resources has been particularly instrumental to our business and cannot be understated. When we first started our business, these resources afforded us the ability to hire a talented team that implemented targeted marketing campaigns and supported critical business operations. Last year, these resources afforded us the additional time that we needed to develop a strategic plan in the midst of a global pandemic to pivot toward digital services and remain competitive during. They also helped us maintain our brick and mortar studio in Aurora, the city in which we were raised.

If these programs did not prioritize minority-owned businesses, we are not certain if FIT & NU would exist as we know it. Business leaders from historically marginalized groups represent 1 out of 5 firms in Colorado [1], yet we continue to face systematic barriers to capital [2]. We witnessed the consequences of these longstanding barriers play out last summer, when thousands of minority-owned businesses experienced delayed access to PPP loans and were more likely to be denied entirely [3]. Many minority-owned businesses went under as a consequence, particularly black-owned businesses [4]. If we did not receive these earmarked funds last year, we easily could have been one the thousands of small businesses that were forced to shut their doors due to COVID-19. Without greater attention to these inequities, we know that many businesses like ours are still at risk and will not survive through the spring.

Given that minority business owners like us were largely underserved by federal relief programs last year, combined with the preponderance of data demonstrating the ongoing issues that present steep barriers to accessing capital, we are grateful that this Committee has wisely prioritized minority-owned businesses during this unprecedented time of uncertainty and economic upheaval. We urge this Committee to continue championing efforts that will eliminate longstanding racial and ethnic disparities in opportunities.

We sincerely hope our testimony affirms that these efforts, particularly the prioritization of minority-owned businesses like ours, can make a significant difference in reinvigorating the American Dream. Thank you again for the opportunity to share our story on the behalf of all minority-owned small businesses in Colorado.

 



MAYM Podcast Episode_iFund women2
Martinis and Your Money Podcast Episode featuring Joslyn Reese and Brittney Rae Reese, Sisters and Founders of FIT & NU

A few months back, we were awarded a grant by IFundWomen. Today, we discussed how this grant impacted us and our business with the lovely Shannon McLay, the founder of Financial Gym, and fellow guest Emilie Rodriguez on the podcast Martinis and Your Money. You can check out the episode on their website or on your favorite podcast app.



Diabetes Prevention
Source: https://unsplash.com/photos/pA0uoltkwao

FIT & NU™ is working with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Diabetes Prevention Prevent T2 lifestyle change program to prevent type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet, or legs.

People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:

  • Are 45 years of age or older
  • Are overweight
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are physically active fewer than three times per week, or
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

Nationally, 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes, so the need for a prevention program, like Prevent T2, has never been greater. The PreventT2 program is a research-backed and scientifically proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of certified coaches that help individuals establish healthy habits. Studies suggest that the Prevent T2 program can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% through modest lifestyle changes.

As trained lifestyle coaches, Joslyn Reese and Brittney Rae Raeese will guide participants as they work in groups to develop the skills they need to make lasting changes to improve their health, including losing weight, increasing physical activity, and managing stress. The program focuses on eating healthy, adding physical activity to participants’ routine, managing stress, staying motivated, and overcoming challenges that can get in the way of healthy changes.

PreventT2 groups meet for a year. Weekly for the first 6 months and then once or twice a month for the second half of the year to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar barriers and working toward the same changes. Participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles together.

To learn more about the program, visit FIT & NU’s website or go to the CDC’s website for more information.



We are honored and thrilled to collaborate with Adam Taub and Story Doc for this short documentary about our company. If you like the video and want to support their work, please consider following Adam and Story Doc on their YouTube Channels. You can also reach out to Adam at adam_taub@hotmail.com.

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We hope you’re enjoying the shifts in nature. We happen to love Fall for the boots, scarfs and puffy down coats. With all of the leaves turning and trick-or-treating, Fall also brings a shift in time.

This year, on Sunday, November 3rd, the clock will “fall back” one hour at 2:00 AM (making it 1:00 AM). This allows for more light in the morning, but unfortunately makes it darker much sooner in the evenings.

Here are some ways to prepare yourself, your kids and your home for the end of daylight savings this season!

Prepare Yourself

Self-care is the best care! Luckily, Fall daylight savings gives us an extra hour of sleep rather than losing an hour. However, whether you’re gaining or losing an hour, it can still be very disorienting so it’s important to plan ahead. Here’s how to do it:

Get Into A Routine

In the days leading up to the time change, begin to alter your sleep schedule. Because the clocks will be going back an hour, start going to sleep a little earlier or waking up earlier.

For example, if you normally go to sleep at 11:00 PM, the time change will have your body thinking it’s actually 10:00 PM when the clock says 11:00 PM. Going to sleep earlier will prepare your body for that awkward jump.

Avoid Caffeine

Daylight savings is known for messing with our circadian rhythms. This means that our whole sleep schedule can get thrown off just by the clocks moving back (or forward) an hour. In order to avoid any additional issues when it comes to getting used to your new sleep schedule, try to avoid any stimulants like caffeine.

Caffeine can keep you from falling asleep at night and can also affect the quality of your sleep. In order to make your transition into daylight savings time a little smoother, try to avoid coffee or soda before and after the clocks fall back.

Switch Your Clocks Earlier In The Day

Get ready for real by setting your clocks back earlier in the day. If there’s one thing that can be confusing about the time change it’s waking up feeling like it should be 9:00 AM and not 8:00 AM.

Set your clocks back an hour the day leading up to the time change. This way you’ll be able to get used to the difference before waking up to it the next day!

Prepare your kids

Kids seem to take the time change the worst. Young children especially need a solid sleep schedule so the time change can really throw them off. Follow these steps to make sure your kids have an easy transition.

Keep Evening Activities Calm

Settle down early. This means really taking the time to prepare your kids for lights out by avoiding too much physical activity close to bedtime. Instead, consider reading a book to your child, playing a movie or even just relaxing together a few hours before bed.

Create A Sleep-promoting Environment

This step ties right in with keeping the nighttime activities calm. Creating a relaxing environment for your children to sleep will help them adjust more easily to the time change. This could be a good time to rearrange their room – so it feels “new”. Make sure your child’s bedroom is dark, cool, comfortable, clutter-free and most importantly–quiet. The more relaxing, the better.

Be Patient

As a parent, you already know. Patience is definitely a virtue. Kids have the hardest time adjusting to the time change. So no matter what, make sure that you’re helping them adjust by being patient and aware of their needs during this time. By following the previous steps, you should have your kids back on track in no time (fingers crossed).

Prepare Your Home

Daylight savings is the perfect time to do some necessary check-ups on your home. Treat this time as a sort of divide in your year to do things you probably want to do bi-annually. Here are some steps for preparing your home for the time change:

Replace Batteries

All too often we forget to check the batteries in important things like remotes, flashlights and most importantly–smoke alarms! Use this time of preparation to check the batteries of essential household items like these and replace them if necessary.

Prepare Your Heating And Cooling Systems

Fall back can only mean one thing–winter is coming! Get ready.

You can do this by cleaning out your system with a long vacuum hose or with a bristle brush to keep your unit nice and clean for when you use it again in the spring.

As for your heating system, be sure to check your heating vents to see if they’re open and ready to go. You can clean out your furnace the same way you clean out your air conditioning unit–with a long hose or bristle brush.

Tidy Up

Like spring cleaning–but for Fall!  Consider a deep cleaning or maybe just go through your goods and get rid of some of the things that no longer spark joy.

Whatever you choose to do, cleaning up at the time of daylight savings will have you feeling fresh and ready to go for the winter.

Most Importantly, Don’t Forget To Switch Your Clocks!

And finally, the most important tip of all. Switching your clocks is the number one way to prepare for the time change this Fall. Fortunately, many cell phones will change the times all on their own but don’t forget to switch your alarm clocks, car clocks, the clocks on your oven and microwave and stove, etc.

Just one forgotten clock could mean leaving late for work or missing your morning workout, so make sure to cover all of your bases!

We, at FIT & NU, hope that these tips will help prepare you, your family and your home for a hassle-free daylight savings switch.

Embrace the changes 2019 has to offer as you prepare for 2020. Happy Holidays!