Formerly the Director of the Fisher Institute for Wellness and Gerontology at Ball State University, he now works as a program officer at Ball Brothers Foundation. There, he helps schools and other institutions develop effective wellness programs. “I believe knowledge is power,” he said. “And we want to empower kids with wellness strategies to help them down the road.”
To that end, the Ball Brothers Foundation has helped fund a comprehensive wellness program at Youth Opportunity Center for the past three years. Designed to serve staff, families and youth, the program gives everyone at the facility a multitude of ways to pursue healthier lives.
“I’ve seen staff morale improve since the wellness program started,” Wellness Coordinator Nathan Taylor said. “From Zumba and yoga classes to educational lunch-and-learns and an our culture here.”
Most important, it has been instructive for children, teaching them important life lessons about health and wellness. “The kids participate in fitness classes, weight training, and learn about healthy eating,” Nathan said. “And they learn that wellness involves other areas like character, respect, and responsibility.”
Neil Schmottlach credits the program’s success to the commitment of the YOC leadership team. “The key to success in any wellness program is having a program champion,” Neil added. “And the YOC has one in Rick Rowray. He sends a strong message to the rest of the staff that the YOC is committed to developing a wellness environment.”
Nathan Taylor agrees. “The management really cares about the kids and staff and that’s the heart and soul of this program.”