Pictured above: The Connection’s Naomi Atkinson and on-staff nurse Laura Guerra on their weekly Wednesday walk to encourage people to come together and get moving.
When I first got in touch with the Humboldt Patient Resource Center (HPRC) earlier this year, I knew that the story of HPRC’s wellness center, The Connection, in the heart of old town Eureka, California, would also be a special one to tell. HPRC is a community-oriented, patient-centric example for other cannabis companies to follow.
Naomi Atkinson, coordinator of The Connection and its special events, shares that the “goal is to help people to be well: mind, body and soul! Our classes and workshops are completely funded by our cannabis dispensary in Arcata, California. This makes it possible to gift our classes free to the community, allowing anyone to take part, no matter their financial state.” The Connection’s classes range from tai chi, yoga, swing dancing, zumba, nutrition, open mic nights, herbal healing, cannabis education, emotional transformations and more.
The Connection is part of HPRC’s “Get Up and Get Out” wellness campaign, which was created to encourage people to get out of their houses and connect with others and themselves. (I cannot help but notice the parallel to Atkinson’s e-mail signature, which reads “Be well and stay connected.”)
HPRC’s inventory manager Nikki Dean shares about The Connection: “I am very proud to be a part of a company that isgiving back to the community in a time where most small businesses in our industry are struggling. We seek to enrich the already-strong cannabis community in Humboldt and also to reach out to new members of our community and educate them about overall health and wellness, and then, of course, how cannabis can play a part in that. Despite recreational sales starting this year, we maintain a strong medical focus and look to carry products from companies that share our same values.”
HPRC also has a nurse on staff, Laura Guerra, who teaches classes at The Connection on wellness and cannabis education. Rick, a Connection participant, turned to HPRC’s wellness center after losing his dog; he feels that The Connection “is a great space … It is a secular place that accepts anybody, people with all sorts of religions or no religion at all. A place for wellness, connecting and education. It’s all free and is clearly here to help support and build the community.”