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Submitted by Marjorie Sparkes

ERWC Newsletter [April 2011]:Layout 1.qxdGATHER (Generating Awareness Through Healthy Eating and Recreation) is an initiative of the Random Age Friendly Communities Wellness and Leisure Subcommittee that was funded through the Provincial Wellness Grants Program, Department of Health & Community Services.

GATHER provides a comprehensive wellness program for seniors in Clarenville through opportunity to participate in social, educational and recreational activities.

Space for the program is provided by the Town of Clarenville at the Bill Davis Chalet. This drop-in activity welcomes participants every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 1:30 to 4:00 p.m. Initially, a coordinator was employed to implement a program of planned activities.

Physical activities are promoted at each meeting, starting with an exercise regime of stretching exercises and walking. Further opportunity is provided for physical well being through use of the community walking trails, bowling, curling and swimming. An introduction to shallow water aerobics, Tai Chi Chih, martial arts and yoga was enthusiastically embraced by the participants. Regular meetings provide opportunity to learn and further develop new skills such as knitting, crocheting, rug-hooking and quilting. These activities have also provided the additional bonus of service to the community, as Izzy dolls were knit and donated to I-Cross for distribution to children by Canadian troops overseas. Finger puppets, cast socks and pillows were donated to the local hospital. These projects have reinforced feelings of self worth and demonstrated the wide range of capacities and resources older people have to share.

Educational sessions are a routine component of the program and reinforce seniors’ willingness and ability to embrace new ideas and knowledge. Using the, community resources available, sessions have been presented to increase awareness of many topics such as fraud and elder abuse.

Other activities such as board and card games are planned just for the fun of it! Bus tours are another.

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