Jägermeister Balanced Bartender: Interview with Joel Rivas of Saint…
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Balanced Bartender

Stay healthy, Bar Meisters

Amie Ward & Joel Rivas

Balanced Bartender Austin 2022

Website:
The Healthtender

Amie Ward, with your Balanced Bartender Pep Talk!

Happy February, my wellness-loving pals! This month, BEHIND THE SHOT, highlights the great hospitality folx of Austin, Texas. Much to my delight, this meant I got to interview one of my favorite community organizers, Joel Rivas. Joel is the Founder and CEO of Saint City Culinary Foundation, whose mission is to support the sustainability and well-being of those working in the F&B industry.

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Their flagship program, HEARD, established in 2017, focuses on the mental health and wellness of those in the service industry. 

His passion comes from a 20-year career working in and with restaurants and bars, seeing the need for practical and intentional resources that truly benefit the workers that serve us every day.  Although Joel is native to Texas, he has spent time living in Mexico City, Portland, and Minneapolis. When he isn’t busy with Heard and Saint City, he’s happiest spending time with his wife and 4 children, in the kitchen, cooking for the people he loves most. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to the hospitality industry. 

I started working as a dishwasher when I was 17. From that point forward, with the exception of a few years here and there, I always worked in or adjacent to the industry. It has always been the space where I’ve felt most at home.

What was your goal when creating HEARD? What resources does the organization offer?

My goal was to normalize mental health and wellness in our industry. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut while working in a bar or restaurant. I wanted to create an organization that provided resources that would help sustain the people working in the service industry. We offer therapy assistance, mental health peer support groups, wellness programs, and telehealth primary care physician access at $13/month.




Their flagship program, HEARD, established in 2017, focuses on the mental health and wellness of those in the service industry. 

His passion comes from a 20-year career working in and with restaurants and bars, seeing the need for practical and intentional resources that truly benefit the workers that serve us every day.  Although Joel is native to Texas, he has spent time living in Mexico City, Portland, and Minneapolis. When he isn’t busy with Heard and Saint City, he’s happiest spending time with his wife and 4 children, in the kitchen, cooking for the people he loves most. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your connection to the hospitality industry. 

I started working as a dishwasher when I was 17. From that point forward, with the exception of a few years here and there, I always worked in or adjacent to the industry. It has always been the space where I’ve felt most at home.

What was your goal when creating HEARD? What resources does the organization offer?

My goal was to normalize mental health and wellness in our industry. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut while working in a bar or restaurant. I wanted to create an organization that provided resources that would help sustain the people working in the service industry. We offer therapy assistance, mental health peer support groups, wellness programs, and telehealth primary care physician access at $13/month.



What has been the impact on the Austin hospitality community since HEARD launched there?

There has been a wide acceptance of normalizing wellness and mental health support in the Austin community. Through the work of HEARD and other programs like Ben’s Friends, there has been a shift in conversations surrounding the sustainability of those working in the industry. There is a long way to go, but I can see the tide shifting.

We love to provide our Balanced Bartender viewers with a wellness challenge each month. What would be your challenge to our friends and fans for February?

My wellness challenge would be something I call, “do 15 minutes differently.” It’s a meditation and mindfulness challenge that takes 5 minutes a day, for 3 days out of the week. The goal is, out of all the minutes in a week, just do 15 differently.

Set your timer on your phone for 5 minutes, and here is what to do:

  1. Sit somewhere comfortable
  2. Close your eyes
  3. Drop your shoulders, so they are loose
  4. Unclench your jaw, so it is loose
  5. Now breathe normally, and for 5 minutes, just concentrate on your chest or your belly moving as each breath goes in and out. As thoughts enter your mind, acknowledge them, then let them pass and go back to concentrating on your breath and your belly or chest moving.

Do that for 5 minutes, and you will notice a difference. You can certainly adjust your time up if you want, however.

Where can people find more information on HEARD and the resources it offers?

On IG, we are mainly at @heard_org or @HeardATX for Austin-specific programs. Also, @Heard_online has our national online support group meeting days and times. You can also find out about all our programs at iheardyou.org.

Thank you, Joel!

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.




Amie's Snacks & Sips
Cold Crusher
 Cold Crusher
  • It was snowing the other day, yet I still had a hankering for something light and refreshing. My thirsty brain immediately went to the Orange Crush, the signature cocktail of my home state Maryland. To winterize this summer classic I subbed out the orange juice with fresh pomegranate, switched the triple sec to orange curacao, and lightened up the lemon-lime soda with a lemon seltzer instead. If you want this to be a bit sweeter you can always go back to triple sec, but I think it’s a perfect compliment to a cold day this exact way!

Cold Crusher

  • 2 part Jägermeister Cold Brew
  • 1 part Orange Curaçao
  • 3 part Pomegranate Juice
  • Top with Lemon Sparkling Water

Garnish: with Pomegranate Seeds

Method:

Build this winter wonder in a 16oz glass filled with crushed ice and sip away the shortened days!


Get to Know The Healthtender
Amie Ward
 Amie Ward

Amie Ward is a Veteran Bartender,

Exercise physiologist and has been outspoken on her fellow service industry members' health and wellness. You can find Amie appreciating the finer things in life when she is not pulling trucks and training for Strongwoman competitions, like Jägermeister.


Amie's Bartender Workout
EXRX for Bartenders

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