At Thrive, we believe one of the most important ways to fight burnout is to find purpose and meaning in the work you do every day. Our partnership with Walmart enables us to see the power of Thrive’s behavior change platform in action every day. Through small better choices that build momentum over time, Walmart associates (and their friends and family) are able to make changes that drastically improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

Each month, we award 18 winners with a cash prize for their accomplishments in the Thrive Challenge. Reading through their stories and learning how each of them overcame everyday struggles gives us so much inspiration and passion for the work that we do. 

Below, read the stories of our 18 winners for the month of March. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

Alexander Stephenson, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City, IN

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“For a long time, I was in a dark place. I struggled with alcoholism and it consumed my life. I  had no energy to engage with my wife, Victoria, and our two daughters. At the start of 2023, I reached out for help. Through Walmart, I had access to Doctor On Demand and with great support, I quit drinking. I’m sober now and as I continue my healing journey, I wanted to change my lifestyle, so I started the Thrive Challenge. I began getting counseling with the pastor at my church. Our sessions help me understand I’m not alone. Victoria and I own a small farm and we love being in nature with our girls. I have more energy for my kids.. Microsteps, like setting boundaries, are helping me in my sobriety. I don’t hang out with my old drinking buddies. Instead I spend time with my family and good friends. I’m grateful for my new sense of purpose, and I know I’ll be strong and active for my girls as they grow up.”

Rudy Garcia, Distribution Center #9153, Waco, TX

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“I was feeling very anxious. My wife, Violeta, and I have four children, and I was stressed at home and at work. I went to the doctor and I was diagnosed with hypertension and anxiety. It was a big wake-up call, and I knew I needed to make some changes. I started the Thrive Challenge and began by making better food choices. We cut back on fast food; instead we’ll make baked chicken with rice and broccoli. I started hitting the gym. I’m enjoying getting stronger and gaining muscle. I’m also more active with my family. After supper we’ll go out back and play with our two dogs and run around the yard. Violeta also works at Walmart and has joined me on the Challenge — we cheer each other on. At work I was dealing with a lot of panic. But by stepping away and breathing when things trigger my anxiety, I find I’m less stressed. My cholesterol is lower and so is my blood pressure. I’ve started to feel like myself again.”

Chase Burns, Distribution Center #6094, Bentonville, AR

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“My wife, Ravyn, and I moved from our home in South Arkansas to Bentonville to build a bright future for our three children. But the move was hard; we left behind my mom and grandparents, and I wasn’t connecting with my kids. I didn’t feel good — I needed to lose weight. I downloaded the Thrive app, and I began cooking nutritious meals like grilled lemon pepper salmon with asparagus. I’m devoting time to my kids and coaching my 8-year-old son’s little league baseball and basketball teams. We all play catch in the backyard or go to the trampoline park. Ravyn and I are less stressed; we’re sharing responsibilities. While I make dinner, she’s in charge of bath time. Once a month I plan a date night so we can connect as husband and wife instead of dad and mom. I contact my mom at least once a day and I call my grandparents weekly. Sometimes all it takes to connect with someone you care about is a simple ‘I love you.’”

Jorge Carrizales, Distribution Center #6083, Temple, TX

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“Getting enough rest was my biggest challenge. I was only sleeping four to six hours a night and I was always tired. I didn’t have energy for my two young sons. My wife, Yesenia, also works at Walmart and we both decided to start the Thrive Challenge. Setting boundaries was my first Microstep. Every weekend there’s something going on in our family like birthdays and quinceañeras. We’ve learned that sometimes it’s okay to say no, so we can take care of ourselves. I used to spend hours on my phone at night, and I’d lose track of time. One Microstep I’ve been taking is charging my phone in the living room instead of the bedroom, so I have no distractions. I spend a few minutes doing breathing exercises in bed and I’m getting eight hours of sleep. My kiddos are happy I have more energy for them. We go for bike rides and play soccer. I’m well rested, and I’ve started to enjoy my life again.”

Brandon Bowman, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City, IN

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“My life was feeling chaotic and stressful. I’m 22 and as well as working for Walmart, I’m studying for a degree. I felt like my life had no structure. I downloaded the Thrive app and began by creating a schedule for myself. I’ve found it’s easier tackling larger tasks by breaking them down into smaller segments, and I’ve learned that tasks are a lot easier to accomplish in the morning when my mind is fresh and alert. I’m carving out time to work out, which helps me lower my stress, clear my head, and let go of all my problems. Sleep is a big priority, so I have a regular bedtime because my life is so busy. Now that I’m well-rested, I’m more creative. I love art, and I’m making sure I have time to draw and paint every week. I’m holding myself accountable and managing my time well. I’m proud of where I am and excited about my future.”

Kimberly Akins, Walmart Supercenter #103, Shawnee, OK

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“My dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, and I’ve been taking care of him. I also take care of my brother, who has kidney failure. I have four grown boys and my youngest, Hezekiah, has cerebral palsy, so he needs support too. I love my family, but I wasn’t taking care of myself. I gained weight and didn’t feel good. I downloaded the Thrive app and I began cooking at home instead of buying fast food. I’ll make simple meals like broccoli soup and grilled chicken with veggies. My niece gave me her bicycle and I ride around the pond close to our house; it’s so peaceful and relaxing. Dancing to upbeat music also makes me happy — I feel like I don’t have a care in the world. I was so excited the other day when I got on the scale — I’ve lost 20 pounds. It’s easy to put ourselves last, and I’m not going to do that anymore.”

India Young, Walmart Supercenter #2369, Tilton, NH

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“I work and help to care for Luna, my 4-year-old granddaughter. I was always tired, and I’d drink way too much coffee. I also wanted to lose weight. Being active for Luna was my big motivation to change. I downloaded the Thrive app and began by tackling my coffee habit. I switched to drinking chai tea or mint tea and I don’t feel so tired. Luna and I go to the park and run around, or we’ll take a trip to the trampoline park — I can jump with her now! Cutting out caffeine and cutting down on social media is helping me get more rest and feel less stressed. We’re not ordering take-out food as much; I’m doing more cooking. One of my favorite meals is a good burger, but now I have it with a salad and a big pile of green beans instead of bread and fries. So far I’ve lost 20 pounds. I have much more energy for my granddaughter, and I feel great.”

Erika Herrera, Walmart Supercenter #7294, Norman, OK

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“In 2020, I had a miscarriage and it took me a long time to come to terms with the loss. I did get pregnant again and my husband, Jacob, and I are the proud parents of a wonderful son, Henny, who is now 2 years old. But I’d gained a lot of weight with both pregnancies and I weighed 265 pounds. I started the Thrive Challenge and began by planning out my meals. My favorite recipe is my breakfast protein bowl with eggs, veggies, Greek yogurt, and salsa. I exercise alone at 4:30 a.m. Honestly, I actually started enjoying moving early in the morning. My son and I love going to the park. Just being in his presence makes my day so much better. I’ve lost 10 pounds, I have more energy, and I’m feeling happier. I’m also working on being kind to myself. I remind myself that I’m human and I don’t have to be perfect.”

Kathy Fruge, Walmart Supercenter #935, Denham Springs, LA

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“I’ve been feeling very stressed. I work and I take care of my husband, Nick, who’s disabled, and my mom, who lives with us. I’d eat mostly fast food and I weighed 240 pounds. I decided to start the Thrive Challenge and began by cutting down on carbs and sugar. Soon I had more energy and my clothes began to fit better. I’ve lost 30 pounds. I learned how to do box breathing. When I exhale, I let go of all my worries and concerns. I’ve always loved music and I’ve started going to concerts on my own. I absolutely love Christian music. I can’t even describe the joy I feel singing along at the top of my voice and listening to the positive messages in the songs. At home, I’m making time for fun activities with my grandchildren. I have the energy to run around with them. I’ve learned that as a caregiver, mother, and grandma, I need to invest in my well-being — and that’s what I am doing.”

Jenn Snow, Walmart Supercenter #1907, Hinsdale, NH

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“At the start of 2023 I decided to take the Thrive Challenge because I’d been feeling tired and drained for a long time. I was very overweight:I weighed 275 pounds. I started the Thrive Challenge and as a family we started changing the way we were eating. My partner, Kevin, and I would walk our dog in the evening, and our walks became longer. I also started to play softball. It’s been exciting because I played in a softball tournament recently, which I would never have had the stamina to do a year ago. At work I am lucky to have a great support system. My friends and fellow managers are also taking the Challenge. We go to the gym together and we’ll make lunch together. I’ve lost over 40 pounds. The pain in my knees has almost gone. I can run up the stairs to my apartment; before I could barely walk up them. I have more confidence in myself.”

Twanna Broughton, Distribution Center #6014, Laurens, SC

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“I was a workaholic — and I was heading towards burnout. My husband, Reginald, and I have five kids and a 7-year-old foster son, Drew. I started the Thrive Challenge because I wanted my life back. I began establishing boundaries at work and leaving on time. Creating a schedule helps me carve out special time with Drew. We go outside and play tag or basketball, and I take him to his therapy. With good time management, I’m able to give each of my kids individual attention. I go shopping with our daughter, Avri. Zavien is very good at basketball and I’m his team’s photographer. Tre got a college scholarship to play football, and I had time to help him navigate the recruitment process. Friends and neighbors often ask me to watch their kids or pick them up from practice, but I’ve learned how to say no, which has made a huge difference. Now I have some time for myself to relax and I feel less stressed. Putting myself first makes me a better mom.”

Adriana Rubio, Distribution Center #9153, Waco, TX

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“I raised my three sons as a single mom; they’re all grown now. I’m 58, and I was going through a lot of stress because one of my sons is in jail serving a 10-year sentence. It’s a constant worry. I was feeling tired and my feet were hurting. I downloaded the Thrive app and I began with movement Microsteps, going for walks and going to the gym. And at home I started dancing — moving to music makes me happy. To reduce anxiety, I’m taking small breaks and stretching. I also like to do breathing exercises and Thrive Resets, like my favorite with peaceful mountain scenery. I feel less anxious about my son. I talk to him on the phone and tell him I love him, and I tell myself I’m a good mom. I’m healing physically and emotionally. I’m much less stressed, and I’m heading towards my 60s with more hope.”

Chazz Scott, Distribution Center #7055, Gas City, IN

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“I was discharged from the military after getting injured, and I’ve been struggling. I gained weight and my knees hurt. I’m 25, and I wasn’t where I’d hoped I’d be at this point in my life. My co-workers inspired me to take the Thrive Challenge. Losing weight and connecting with friends were my big goals. I began researching new recipes. I make really good chicken parmesan with Greek yogurt and veggies. I’ve lost 20 pounds and I feel more confident. A simple Microstep motivated me to move: walking 1000 steps a day. Now I go to the YMCA gym and shoot hoops on the basketball court. I’ve made new friends at the gym and I’m also getting together with old friends. We’re going for hikes and playing soccer. Having a bunch of good friends brings me joy. And I’m spending more time with my family. I’m doing everything I can to get to where I want to be.”

Megan Walker, Walmart Supercenter #3710, Decatur, GA

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“I’ve been struggling with my weight for almost my whole life, and I felt alone. I’m 30 and I weighed 288 pounds, and I thought the Thrive Challenge might help me. I began educating myself about nutrition and learning why it’s important. I’m eating fresh, whole food now instead of processed food, and it makes me feel good. Choosing an apple or roasted nuts over that cookie has become second nature. I’m moving more and I’ve found I’m enjoying exercise. One Microstep I like is rotating my arms at my desk. After work, I ride my exercise bike. My clothes feel looser and I’ve bought some new ones. I’ve lost 10 pounds and I have more energy. I know I’ll continue to flourish in the future because I care about how my body and mind feel — it’s not just about the weight.”

Christi Jackson, Distribution Center #6042, Pauls Valley, OK

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“I lost my dad in 2021. I was battling low energy and depression, and I gained weight. I live alone and just wanted to feel better, so I started the Thrive Challenge. I began with Food Microsteps. I’m eating smaller portions and I cut down on red meat. At work I’m getting in more steps and in my time off I’m playing with the dogs and enjoying walks in nature. I’ve lost 35 pounds in the past year and I feel so accomplished. My mom and I are connecting more. We recently went to a lavender festival at a local vineyard; it was a lovely way to spend the day. Thrive is helping my confidence and I’ve learned to practice affirmations. One of the things that I tell myself is ‘You can do this!’ It really helps, especially on those days when I don’t feel like getting up and moving. I’m starting to feel like myself again.”

Dell Fletcher, Walmart Home Office, Bentonville, AR

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“I’m a veteran, and when I left the military I found it difficult to adapt and had emotional challenges. My family and I moved to Arkansas for my Walmart career, and I had a lot of anxiety because I didn’t want to let them down. I had professional counseling and to support myself even more in my well-being, I downloaded the Thrive app. The first Microstep I focused on was pausing to breathe. Breathing techniques help me stay calm and lower my anxiety. Also, I never thought I’d be a yoga guy, but I found I love it! It does wonders for emotional and mental stress. I started playing pickleball and I’ve been making new friends; I have a sense of belonging and community. My wife, Anais, and I are spending time together, and I’m a fully engaged dad. I’m learning to love myself and realize that I am worth it, and that I’m not alone.”

Alese Adams, Fulfillment Center #4124, Lebanon, TN

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“In 2022, I left an emotionally abusive relationship. I moved back in with my mom in the hope of making a whole new life for myself, and I started to have therapy. I hoped that the Thrive Challenge would help me to continue to take care of myself and move forward. Connecting with my friends helped me put my life back together; they are an amazing support system. I began an online community which has been the most beautiful and supportive experience and I’m also running an online book club. Movement Microsteps motivated me to work out and start taking dance classes. I’m not trained or skilled, but the experienced dancers in the class encourage me. Dancing has been a game changer. And I’m spending time on other hobbies, like learning Spanish. My faith in God is helping me with everything. I meditate, as well as watching Thrive Resets. I’m doing my best to live the life I envision for myself.” 

Jasmine Zanders, Fulfillment Center #7559, Bethlehem, PA

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“In the past few years I’ve moved five times. I love my work, but being away from family and friends has been a struggle. I was eating badly — it was just easier to order fast food. I wanted to get healthy so I downloaded the Thrive app and began planning my meals for the week. I experiment with one new recipe a month: this month’s is baked salmon with veggies. I started losing weight and feeling more confident. Thrive encouraged me to move my body each day. I’d go for short walks, and once I was moving more, I started feeling more energized. I’m taking connection Microsteps like talking to people, asking how they are, and I gradually made new friends at work. I fly home to Georgia as often as I can to visit my family and reconnect with old friends. Now I’m happier with myself, I tend to find myself smiling just a little bit more.”