I recently had the pleasure to attend the Kroger’s Wellness Your Way Festival (WYWF). I had the opportunity of interviewing Cherrial O’Dell, who just graduated high school in Las Vegas, NV. Three years ago, Cherrial joined the Inspiring Children Foundation and became a part of the Jewel Never Broken Program, which provided her with the tools and wisdom to find true happiness — something that was severely lacking in my life. Through these programs she was able to take accountability for her happiness and started earning it every day by meditating, giving her best, and doing the right things. She now has overwhelming gratitude for the immense love, happiness, and peace that the support of these programs enabled her to find and cultivate.
Thank you so much for joining us Cherrial. This festival is about “Wellness Your Way”. What does the term “Wellness Your Way” mean to you?
I think everyone has their own truth inside of them and that’s something that we talk about in Jewel’s Never Broken foundation. Everyone has an inner knowing of what’s right. And so I feel like for me wellness your way is just following that inner knowing that’s inside of myself in every moment.
Was there a story that inspired you to get involved with WYWF?
I’m part of Jewel’s nonprofit organization the Jewel Never Broken Program. Throughout high school they’ve given me: emotional intelligence and mindfulness skills, that really helped me heal all the trauma in my life. I went from trying to end my own life twice by the time I was 13 — a lot of broken relationships in my life. They really transformed my life completely and allowed me to heal on so many levels. I couldn’t be happier. Being able to have this event in partnership with Jewel and her foundation has been amazing! Because it’s basically taking the same things that we do in her foundation and scaling it, allowing the whole community to get access to these tools. And that’s what I’m most passionate about.
Can you tell me about a wellness challenge you’ve had and overcome?
When I was 13 I struggled with depression and tried to end my own life twice. Both my parents struggled with addiction. Didn’t have a relationship with my mom and had a very unhealthy relationship with my dad. It definitely caused me a lot of stress at a young age and I didn’t have the guidance or the tools to recognize the chaos that my mind was creating and recognize that wasn’t me and I didn’t have to feed into that.
At that time in my life my emotions were just so overwhelming. My sadness and my trauma, my anger became who I was. I was just so lost and I felt like I was just in this darkness. That’s been the biggest struggle for me, losing touch with my happiness and my peace of mind.
Through Jewel’s foundation I’ve really been able to heal that through mindfulness meditation. I started out journaling my thoughts and then I started meditating every day. Now it’s been a consistent practice for like four or five years now. Meditation and mindfulness has been the most powerful tool in my life by far. It’s allowed me to heal every aspect of my life. I have a beautiful relationship with my mom. I was able to heal my relationship with my dad. He passed away two years ago it was this beautiful experience I knew I’d found love and I had found love inside of myself and I could share that with him regardless.
What’s one wellness product/routine you can’t live without right now?
Meditation by far. I don’t know how I would start every day without meditation. I don’t know how I could survive without it now. I don’t know how I ever lived without it. Honestly if I can leave anyone with one piece of wisdom one tool it would be mindfulness and meditation. It is that powerful.
What projects are you currently working on?
It’s the first day of the Wellness Your Way Festival. We’ve been working on it for months now and I’ve been doing a lot of the community outreach and it’s been very rewarding for me. I’ve gotten to reach out to different mental health recovery organizations in the Cincinnati area. It’s really special for me getting to make those connections and talk to people. It’s so rewarding to know that they’re going to be here and they’re going to be able to get access to those tools especially for young people because it really is becoming an epidemic, suicide’s up like 70 percent since 2006. It’s really cool that we can have this festival and be able to give some light, some hope, and some wisdom that are going to last a lifetime. I’m going to do some panels at the event which will be really cool. Hoping to just share my story and let people know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.