Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jacqueline Glass
Meet The Founder Of The Girlfriend Getaway, A Wellness Retreat In St. Maarten Teaching Black Women To Put Their Health And Wellness First
Health is wealth. Harlem-born ordained minister Jacqueline Glass knows this and is on a mission to teach Black women how to heal themselves.
After being diagnosed with diabetes, hyperthyroidism, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, Glass took the steps to transform her health. Through healthy eating and movement, Glass reversed her diabetes and is no longer on prescription medication.
During a trip to St. Maarten, Glass was inspired to teach other women how to prioritize themselves and their wellness. It was then that The Girlfriend Getaway was born. The first retreat was in St. Maarten last year and was a transformative experience for over 100 women. Last year’s retreat consisted of five days filled of healing, movement, meditation, and nutritional education.
This year’s retreat is back in St. Maarten from October 8th – 12th. Women from all over the country will be staying in Sonesta Maho Beach Resort, Casino & Spa, an all-inclusive, five-star hotel. Attendees will hear from dynamic speakers such as Brandi Harvey and Chef Babette. There will be spa treatments, massages, yoga, an island tour, an all-white party and more.
We had a chance to speak with The Girlfriend Getaway’s founder, Jacqueline Glass about her relationship with wellness as an adolescent and what attendees can expect at this year’s The Girlfriend Getaway.
TN: Let’s take it back to your upbringing — how was your relationship with health and wellness growing up in Harlem?
JG: I didn’t have a relationship with health and wellness as a kid growing up. As a child, I remember eating a lot of cereal. We had pancakes every Saturday. Pancakes and bacon were what our family had. I didn’t have a great nutritional life coming up as a kid. I did move a lot though. We were always outside playing. The young people today are more technologically inclined, but back then we were almost moving.
Healthwise, I wasn’t conscious of the relationship between food and health.
TN: What is your relationship with wellness now?
JG: At 59, I feel the best that I’ve felt in a long time. There’s a real issue with obesity in our country. It’s not the fault of the individuals. I’m in the process of being certified as a health coach and one of the things I’m learning is that high fructose corn syrup is in 90% of our foods. It’s a cheap form of sugar, made of corn and it cuts off the signals in your body that tell you you’re full. I believe it’s the culprit that causes chronic disease.
I was diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism, and high cholesterol. I cut out the main culprit, high fructose corn syrup and I was able to come off of all of my medications. I believe the rise of obesity is linked to high fructose corn syrup and dairy. These things are really not good for our bodies. We have to reeducate ourselves and our young people. It’s my mission to teach women how food can be medicine.
40-60% of the population will be diabetic or pre-diabetic by 2030 and it is directly related to the food we eat. Healthy food isn’t always readily available in some neighborhoods. It’s a civil right to have access to good food.
TN: How did The Girlfriend Getaway come about?
JG: During COVID, I traveled more than I ever had. In winter 2021, I traveled to St. Marteen. While there, I got the vision of bringing women there to reset, regroup and prioritize themselves. Many Black women that I know, put others first. We prioritize our friends, families, church, significant others…etc but put ourselves on the backburner. I wanted to create a space where the attendees could be selfish in a positive way.
I had the idea for a retreat and started planning. I reached out to an event planner who planned a getaway in Jamaica. She agreed to take on the assignment and we worked together to plan the first retreat in 2021. We had 108 participants and it was a transformative experience.
The Girlfriend Getaway started as an idea to share wellness with Black women.
TN: What should a first-time attendee know about attending The Girlfriend Getaway?
JG: Expect to be in community with other women that they did not know before. Expect to develop new friendships and network. The experience will be transformational and fun. The atmosphere will be easy and comfortable. Everyone is kind to each other.
This retreat is designed for women over 50 years old, but we get some women that are much younger. My hope is that the attendees will prioritize themselves.
TN: Tell us about how women can receive a scholarship to attend The Girlfriend Getaway
JG: We have a contest that ends during the 1st week of August. We are giving away 4 free trips for women who have a chronic disease and are motivated to make changes to their health.
You can apply for the scholarship here. Recipients will be chosen by August 12th. Scholarships will include access to the retreat and accommodations. Airfare is not included.
TN: What do you want women to walk away with after attending The Girlfriend Getaway?
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JG: I want women to walk away with the tools to make the changes in their life. I want them to go home and make a decision to stock their cabinets and refrigerators with healthy, nutritional foods. I want them to learn how to prepare healthy foods and a commitment to moving their bodies. Movement is so important. It should be fun and that’s one of the things we are incorporating into the getaway.
How can we keep up with you and The Girlfriend Getaway?
Register to attend this year’s The Girlfriend Getaway in St. Maarten here.