By Cameron Tirado SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — It was a sunny Thursday morning when he was on his way to pay his phone bill, but then the white tents in Perseverance Park serving free cups of Cafe Kubal coffee and chocolate-chip banana bread got Joe Burgess sidetracked.
“I didn’t expect coffee until I got home at about noon, so this is a nice lift,” Burgess said when noting his surprise about the event. “Oh it’s nice that they can give back to the community that needs a little bit of help, and to those who don’t need a little bit of help to come out and support the group too.”
Burgess is a Syracuse resident on disability, and he’s a prime example of how The Downtown Committee of Syracuse brought people together that morning from all walks of life. The Downtown Coffee Break was a part of Employee Appreciation week as a whole, and it worked together with Cafe Kubal to “brew up”a celebration for downtown employees.
“We partnered with them to do this coffee break last year in Hanover Square, and actually the reception of the coffee break helped us come up with the idea to do a week long celebration for downtown employees,” Alice Maggiore, Communication Manager of the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, said.
The coffee break, also known as Treat Yourself Thursday, was just one of the free events and giveaways for the 29,000 employees who work downtown. Sept. 17-21 also included Moving Monday with free fitness, Tasty Tuesday with free Farmers Market samples, Wellness Wednesday with more fitness and nutritional information, and finally Friday finale with a series of games and competitions for coworkers to take advantage of.
“In a way, they really give downtown it’s heartbeat and soul, because during the day they’re going out to lunch; they’re bringing colleagues to meetings within downtown,” Maggiore said “They’re really experiencing all downtown has to offer in terms of restaurants, even bars after work if they want to go out with colleagues for a couple of drinks. They’re doing some of they’re shopping in downtown, whether that be for unique gifts to bring home to family around the holidays, or even clothing for themselves. And on the weekend, if they don’t live downtown, they’re bringing their families back to check out the museums, to check out the festivals. They really help us promote downtown, so we want to do something to thank them for picking downtown as their work home, and in some cases, it ends up being their residential home as well.”
These events are one way downtown is fighting off September stress, but as summer comes to a close, co-chair of the Health and Wellness Committee on the Student Association at Syracuse University says it’s important to prioritize mental health all year. Lauren Crimmins says if you’re not taking care of yourself first, you can’t be successful in any of the activities you’re setting out to do.
“It depends on what you enjoy,” Crimmins explains. “Some people enjoy yoga and meditation; some people hate it. Some people love to take a break and drink some tea; some people don’t like that. Some people like to go out and be social and that calms them down, or some people just need some time alone. It’s really all about what makes you feel good and what brings you down to a calming level where you can be introspective.”
The Health and Wellness Committee is a new committee in the Student Association. It’s organizing Mental Health Awareness week during the first week of October to help people take a second to reflect on their stresses and take that break like the Cafe Kubal event was trying to accomplish.