Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

Empowering mind and body

Runner participating in 5K run is greeted with a high five across the finish line in last year's festival.

The University of Redlands and City of Redlands are partnering to host the 5th annual Vibe Health and Wellness Festival with the goal of promoting the importance of mental health. U of R’s Alliance for Community Transformation and Wellness (ACTW), which founded the event, leads the free Festival and 5K Family Fun Run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, at Sylvan Park. 

 Organizers said the event  brings the community together to raise awareness of mental health and wellness, but also raises funds for mental health services in the Inland Empire.   


The festival highlights VIBE as an interactive educational experience for all ages, promoting tools and trends across various wellness domains. Participants can customize their day, immersing themselves in health and wellness while enjoying the best the Inland Empire region has to offer in food, art, music, and wellness resources. Alongside the 5K & Family Fun Run, the festival will also host Pilates classes, a lifestyle wellness panel,  photo booth, therapy dogs and a variety of vendor booths. 

ACTW was established in 2014 with goals to engage the Inland Empire in conversations about mental health and promote action toward wellness. Through fostering community partnerships, offering consumer support, providing professional training, conducting high-quality research, and offering comprehensive counselor education and supervision, ACTW strives to deliver knowledge and support to individuals facing mental health challenges while striving to eliminate negative mental health stigma. 


Janee Both Gragg, ACTW founder and co-creator of VIBE, said, “Mental health is stigmatized for reasons ranging from lack of mental health knowledge/literacy, shame and fear, core beliefs about people experiencing struggling that marginalize individuals struggling with their mental health. There are eight domains of wellness that require time and attention for optimal health and wellness including: spiritual, social, emotional, intellectual, physical, environmental, occupational, and financial.”  

Both Gragg said people who are struggling with their mental health or facing hardship should seek out the people in their life that make them feel safe and “have the difficult conversations about what they are thinking and feeling. Knowing who you can go to for emotional and mental support can go beyond your immediate family. It can be a medical provider, a faith community, a local support group or even an intimate friend group. As a human being, your story matters, and you matter.” 

To learn more about the Vibe Wellness Festival, click this link. 

To learn more about ACTW, click this link.