BKLYN Commons, Brooklyn’s premier coworking space and home to more than 300 indoor storefront businesses owned and operated by entrepreneurs, creators, change-makers, and forward-thinking innovators.

“What we’ve done at BKLYN Commons is create a community where our members collaborate and support each other,” said Johanne Brierre, BKLYN Commons head of growth.

Building a community – both inside and outside its walls – enabled BKLYN Commons, its members and partners to survive COVID-19’s destruction of Brooklyn’s small businesses. 

Indeed, BKLYN Commons was the glue that kept its members together at the peak of the crisis and enabled many of them to survive. 

It’s a two-street. The members and broader community partners helped BKLYN Commons to keep its doors open at a time when many other coworking spaces shut down permanently.

At the height of the pandemic, BKLYN Commons leveraged its partnerships with community-based agencies, civic leaders and members to share updated information on the government’s complicated Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), where to obtain Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), and other important resources. 

The members also supported each other. For instance, BKLYN Commons member Nadia Aristide, the president of business finance company Maroon Strategist, provided information to other members on PPP. BKLYN Commons also teamed up with its community partner IMPAACT Brooklyn, a community development corporation, in hosting Zoom forums on how to apply for the government funding program. 

BKLYN Commons in partnership with BK Reader began publishing articles on March 16 that share members’ survival stories in a series collectively named Straight Out of COVID.

It will inspire struggling entrepreneurs, as well as share ideas about how other small businesses, nonprofits and solopreneurs can reinvent themselves.

New articles appear every Tuesday and Thursday, in the Local Voices section. In today’s post, we meet Rezia Luke, founder of Dynamic Growth & Wellness whose personal journey to wellness provided a blueprint for aiding others through the pandemic. 

Entrepreneur’s Personal Health Journey Creates Blueprint for COVID-19 Survivors

By Lindy Hale
Rezia Luke. Photo: Supplied.

In 2007, Rezia Luke, founder of Dynamic Growth and Wellness (DG&W), suffered from swollen lymph nodes throughout her body. Her hair began to fall out.

Then, back-to-back tragedies struck Luke’s life. She was brutally attacked and lived through a car accident that crushed the right side of her body. At the time, Luke was working multiple jobs and volunteering while completing her second master’s degree. She was overworking herself and only sleeping two hours a night. 

Soon, the physical and mental stress caught up to Luke. She was constantly sick, visiting a doctor every 2-3 weeks searching for answers. Finally, Luke was ordered a biopsy. The results came back showing that the inside of her body was highly inflamed. Instead of medication, her doctor suggested that she stop eating acidic foods and limiting the amount of activities she was participating in.

This prescription for a healthier lifestyle marked the beginning of Luke’s healing journey. Overtime, she began to experiment with various superfoods, vitamins, and minerals to bring her body back to a healthy state. Then, in 2020 Luke founded DG&W, a holistic healing practice specializing in internal and external health and wellness. Through DG&W, Luke applied her background in Biology, Health Science, and Nutritional Therapy to provide healing to COVID-19 survivors and beyond.

We caught up with Luke, a member of BKLYN Commons’ Flatbush/PLG location, to chat more about her journey to overall wellness and learn why overall wellness is critical to reversing long-term damage caused by COVID-19.

Photo: Supplied.

As someone who has dealt with trauma of the mind and body, overall wellness is something you have to work towards every day. Have you ever felt like you wanted to give up?

Yes! After nine months of losing weight and strengthening my body, I began to lose focus. Thankfully, at that point in my journey, my mind put me in my place. It told me, ‘Enough! Stop making this a temporary change. This must be a lifestyle change!’

From that point on, I started applying that same awareness to make mental, physical and emotional transformations. Within five weeks of that moment, I lost 20 more pounds just by walking, working on my core, and sticking with the diet changes.

What advice do you have for someone just starting out in their wellness journey?

You have to individualize a plan for you and do what works for you. The journey to wellness and healing is not one-size-fits-all. Ask questions, do your research, and get a knowledgeable mentor or accountability partner to keep you in check.

Overall wellness has been an important topic of conversation throughout the pandemic. How has Dynamic Growth and Wellness pivoted to provide wellness support to individuals during this unprecedented time?

Photo: Supplied.

During the pandemic, Dynamic Growth & Wellness has held a variety of virtual seminars, classes and individualized consultation sessions covering topics like: immunity, mental health, and physical awareness. Now, we offer some socially-distanced exercises and therapeutic sessions as well as one-on-one cooking classes. 

Fortunately, DG&W hasn’t had to pivot much with COVID-19. Our team is educated to help individuals heal their mind and body from a large variety of traumatic events. So, from a wellness perspective, we have applied our collective knowledge to heal those who have previously contracted the virus. Our goal is to provide a transition to healing as individuals deal with the after-effects of COVID-19. In some cases, this includes neurological issues. 

By implementing lifestyle changes to produce healthier sleep patterns and introducing vitamins, minerals, and healthier food habits, we’re able to start building the body’s most critical systems. It’s all about rebuilding what broke down due to COVID-19.

Being a part of a community is an important part of wellness. How has BKLYN Commons supported DG&W in its business journey?

BKLYN Commons has provided DG&W a welcoming space to meet with clients. Everyone that I have met through BKLYN Commons has a contagious, positive energy that gives our team the push to focus. Plus, the coworking space is so thoughtfully designed that our team is always using it to create engaging content.  

Dynamic Growth & Wellness specializes in a variety of wellness and healing services for individuals suffering from a range of symptoms. As Luke says, “We all have something in our lives we need to heal or are still healing from. This is just the beginning. Let’s all heal together!” 

For more information on health and wellness programs or to participate in DG&W’s upcoming weight loss challenge visit: www.dgrowthandwellness.com or email dgrowthandwellness@gmail.com


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