CORNWALL, Ontario – Tai Chi, yoga and zumba gold are just some of the fun activities that local participants can look forward to at Beyond 21 with its newest program, Get Your Move On: Healthy Connections For A Healthy Life, beginning May 23.
Staff explained that the organization received a grant of approximately $20,000 through the federal New Horizon’s For Seniors Program in March.
“Our first session (of the program) will begin in May, and we have received enough funding to run three sessions,” said Tammy Hood, Beyond 21 People Connector. Hood said that the sessions will also be held throughout the fall and winter months, but not the summer to allow for travel and vacation time.
Each session, held for six weeks at a time, will include about an hour of activity followed by social and snack time. During the first session, zumba gold will be offered by Samantha Bourdeau, Recreation Facilitator with Beyond 21. Bourdeau explained that zumba gold is accessible and can be adapted to anyone’s mobility levels. The first session will also see Tai Chi instructed by Paul Petepiece and yoga facilitated by Paul McDermid of Love Yoga. During the fall and winter months, dance will be instructed by Jane McMillan.
Each session is open to participants of Beyond 21 and seniors in the community, free of charge.
“The grant is encouraging all of our participants and seniors in the community to generate healthy lifestyle habits,” said Hood. “We are also working to encourage the seniors who are going to be joining us…to recognize we have a very strong peer group in our participants.”
Hood hopes that any seniors who attend will develop interest in becoming connect volunteers with the organization to establish further social engagement and community connection among participants.
“Being lonely can really impact your physical health and mental wellness,” said Hood. “These are two populations that (could) tend to find themselves slightly more isolated because of mobility issues, or just the trepidation of being out and about in public on their own.”
Hood noted that many participants of Beyond 21 are approaching an older age demographic, so it is important to foster activities that encourage mobility.
“I think the key thing is to connect with our community at large and I think it’s also beneficial for people to realize we are here,” added Brett Desrosiers, Beyond 21 Creative Arts Facilitator. “We are running different programs and we don’t want to put up any barriers…we want to break them down.”
“We also want to take away the stigma that if you have a disability or you may need a little more help with some things that you can’t do what others do, because that is false…we want everybody to feel like they have a place to belong,” added Bourdeau.
Beyond 21 is located at 800 Twelfth St. East, close to bus routes with a fully accessible facility. To register, ask any questions or inquire about further accommodation options, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.beyond21.org.