INFO: Women's wellness week schedule of events
Christina Weinmann practices her kicks with instructor Pam Toyser at Mountainside Martial Arts on Sunday, April 29.

Women in attendance at the Focus on Your Rights seminar held at Mountainside Martial Arts April 29 were instructed on everything from self-defense maneuvers to legal rights to personal safety tips. The seminar was part of a week-long, free schedule of workshops for Women's Wellness Week. The innovative program offers day and evening sessions targeted to both working and stay-at-home singles and parents, and is the brainchild of Christine Opheim and Teri Engelbrecht, two Ahwatukee Foothills business owners. "We were just thinking how we could give back and help women," Opheim said. "You just hear as you get older what women struggle with - whether its aging, kids or safety. So Teri and I got together about a year ago and started thinking how we could do this." "Once we started talking about it, it grew and grew, and a little idea like a luncheon became a whole week," Engelbrecht added. The duo first had to pinpoint what kind of information women in their community needed most, then they set out to track down local experts to be a part of their venture. "The speakers in our programs are really impressive," Opheim said. "These are friends of ours, fellow business owners and members of the chamber. They're names that are well-known in the community." "We wanted to make sure these speakers were very credible in their field, and we knew we wanted to keep it to speakers from Ahwatukee," Engelbrecht said. One year and several hours of planning later, the philanthropic pair ended up with a week filled with workshops that focus on female-related issues each day, and that features more than a dozen specialists in everything from mental, sexual, financial, family and physical health. "Each day of the week, we focus on a specific topic, like May 1 is Focus on Food, so we have someone speaking on saving money with coupons, someone speaking on the healing power of food and a family-centered approach to healthy eating," Opheim explained. The duo overcame several hurdles to get their program off the ground, paying costs for fliers out of pocket and going from business to business seeking help getting the word out to the community. "It's very grass roots, and we're learning as we go," Engelbrecht said. "We hope it turns into a yearly event." Engelbrecht was able to see the fruits of her labors last Sunday, as the first day of workshops proved successful. "I'm so glad so many people showed up," she said as attendees of the self-defense workshop punched and kicked their way through the lesson. "We had some people register in advance, but several were walk ins." Women's Wellness Week culminates in a reception and silent auction to benefit the YMCA's Strong Kids Campaign May 5. "The YMCA is so great for our community," Engelbrecht said. "We're very lucky to have it here." Almost all events in the program's schedule are held at the YMCA, at several times throughout the day to accommodate any schedule. There is free childcare available during workshops to attendees. "We welcome mothers and daughters and even men to attend any of the workshops," Opheim said. "The program is targeted for women, but the information will benefit everyone." For more information on Women's Wellness Week, e-mail --Lauren Vasquez can be reached at (480) 898-7917 or

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