Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Boost for Center for Elderly Group's Help Expands Care

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Boost for Center for Elderly Group's Help Expands Care

Article excerpt

A year ago, Marie Heath had a folding table and chair for the preventative care program she started for senior citizens at Edward Waters College, but a $20,000 grant from a local foundation has changed that.

Now, in addition to office furniture, the Community Resource and Wellness Center at EWC has its own treadmill, stationary bicycle, stepper and scale.

The Jacksonville Community Foundation granted the funds for the center and its senior citizen health and education program, which operates from the EWC Schell-Sweet Community Resource Center on Kings Road.

"If it wasn't for the Jacksonville Community Foundation, we would not be where we are now," said Heath, the center's director. "We needed to have funds in order to provide fitness services."

The Community Resource and Wellness Center is a partnership between the city and EWC.

Heath said she recruited seniors and educated them before she received the grant to show there was a need.

John Zell, a Jacksonville Community Foundation program officer, said the grant was given under the group's philosophy of strengthening neighborhoods.

"This institution is saying 'we want to have a bigger role in our community, and this is how we want to do it,' " he said. "They are providing a service to people in the neighborhood they [residents] would not otherwise have."

The grant was approved in November. Heath decided to accept the funding in two $10,000 installments for the non-profit center.

The center provides educational information, along with referrals to mental health, social and legal aid services. The goal of the free program is to take a holistic approach to healing people age 60 and older who have low and moderate incomes, officials said.

"It's not just about exercising. It's about training, education," Heath said.

Heath said the program can compensate for times when doctors don't have enough time to explain a condition, or when seniors want to read for themselves about a condition and treatment.

With its three staff members, a partnership with the EWC gerontology department and about seven volunteers, the center provides seminars on healthy cooking and nutrition, blood pressure and diabetes screenings and fun exercises for helping to alleviate arthritis that include arts and crafts and games for about 80 clients. …

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