The Wellness Society is rooted in the mutual interest in fitness wellness, psychological wellness and familial wellness of two siblings: Sharon Fair and Michael Fair. At the start, neither had heard of the concept of the physical, mental and social triad of health (which had been defined in 1947 by the World Health Organization) nor the term wellness (which had been coined in 1961 by Halbert Dunn, MD, PhD).
However, the siblings ever so gradually began to assimilate that exercise should be pursued because of the positive affect it promoted - rather than to "win" a competition; happiness should be in the here and now (a concept known as 'flow'); spending time with family was a good thing; and "being there" for each unconditionally is a core component of humanity.
While in their late teens, and in their infancy in the process of 'enlightening,' the siblings moved to Orlando, FL - a city quite different from their hometown of Havre de Grace, MD. Sharon pursued a traditional education and Michael 'made ends meet' and studied Zen Buddhism.
After graduating with a Bachelor's degree "with distinction" from the University of South Florida, Sharon opted to forgo her plan of entering law school and instead embarked upon a journey of self-exploration. Her first solo adventure: Europe! During the same time frame, her brother set out to become a Green Beret and was one of the "three men of 100" whom succeeded !
Upon her return to St Petersburg, FL in late 1981, Sharon established Florida Fitness. The goal of the siblings was to progress the scope of the organization upon Michael's discharge from the military and incorporate his knowledge and practice of Zen Buddhism,
Sadly, their joint journey ended when, in 1983, Michael was tragically killed in Morocco while serving our country in their early efforts to train and assist the Moroccan military eradicate middle eastern terrorist groups. According to one source, these early groups are linked to the terrorists responsible for the 911 attack on our country. Upon the death of her brother, Sharon turned her full focus on fitness wellness as a means to deal with her grief.
In 1984, Sharon obtained certification as a Health and Fitness Instructor from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and began to offer personal fitness training and small group fitness seminars. Upon gaining additional experience and credentials (including degrees in exercise physiology and physical therapy) she transitioned Florida Fitness into the nonprofit organization Wellness Society.
The newest venture of the Wellness Society is the offering of continuing education to PTs, with the first seminar WELLNESS & PT having been offered in September 2019. Sharon instructs the courses and a Katie Monahan, certified in tai chi and yoga, provides live demonstrations in which seminar attendees are invited to participate.
The directors of the Wellness Society include Sharon Fair (president), Embury Fair-Russell (vice-president), and Perena Cianelli (secretary/treasurer). All profits of the organization are used for the care and placement of abandoned animals.
Philosophies of Zen Buddhism contributed by Michael Fair and Embury Russell