Community wellness fair brings “many avenues” of health together

Published 12:05 am Monday, January 8, 2018

By Jessica Coates

SALISBURY — New Year’s Day puts many people in the mindset of change, particularly with regard to health and wellness.

Clarissa Best wants people to keep that mindset as the new year progresses.

“It starts here first,” Clarissa said, pointing to her head. “It starts in your mind. It’s a mental change that has to happen first.”

That’s one of the reasons that Clarissa organized the Community Health and Wellness Fair, held Sunday afternoon at Life Church on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

Clarissa, who is a certified personal trainer, said that it was a change in mindset that allowed her to lose 120 pounds years ago and to take control of her health.

“When I was able to lose that weight, I just felt like it was my calling to do it for other people and help other people in any way that I can,” Clarissa said.

Although Clarissa has been helping the community through fitness for years, particularly at The Forum, she said that she had never organized an event on the scale of the one held Sunday.

Clarissa said that she’s been organizing the event since March and that it felt like her “baby.”

“I want Salisbury to see you don’t have to drive to Concord to get (this). You don’t have to drive to Greensboro or Lexington. It’s right here at your front door and, I mean, you can get it. So there’s no excuses really,” Clarissa said. “You could be your biggest excuse.”

Clarissa gathered approximately 18 vendors for the event that she said represented “so many different avenues of wellness.”

Some of those vendors included the YMCA, Rufty-Holmes Senior Center and Juice Life.

“I just want to be able to provide (people) with ideas that they’ll benefit from. I know they will,” Clarissa said.

Clarissa’s husband, Dumaka Best, also attended the fair as a representative of Elite Imagez Barber Shop.

Dumaka said that, although people may not think of it as a health-related service, a haircut can improve mental health and self-esteem.

“It makes you feel a lot better about yourself, your confidence. You have more confidence about yourself when you step out,” Dumaka said. “And it makes you emotionally feel a lot better, you know? (If) you’re looking good, you’re feeling good.”

Dumaka said that he was proud of his wife for putting the event together.

“She really cares about health and fitness and she’s made it her life. She’s been doing this now for over 20 years,” Dumaka said. “And, you know, I’m just glad to see her dreams come true with people actually coming and supporting.”

Clarissa said that, if the opportunity presents itself, she would love to do a similar event in the future.

But in the meantime she recommends that, if you are interested in making a change in 2018, you start by changing your outlook.

“Mentally, you’ve got to be ready to change. I mean, physically we’re all ready to change. But, you know, your mind can make new connections and you can definitely look at things differently than you did prior to,” Clarissa said. “So it’s all about being good to yourself first, and everything else will fall into place after that.”

Clarissa is a member of Life Church.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222.