Joni Lenz, a Montpelier native and rehab nurse, has been dedicating two afternoons a week at the Montpelier Civic Center for nearly 5 years now. She leads a senior citizen's exercise class every Tuesday and Thursday from 4-4:30 PM. But what started as a simple way to help people stay limber has obviously turned into much more. As the ladies filed in they signed a condolence card for the family of a much loved group member who passed away two weeks ago. Francis was their longest living member at 99 years old. They shared moments from their week and asked about family members. Increasing isolation and lack of movement can be an issue for the elderly, Joni's group provides both friendship and injury preventing exercises.
"I started the group 5 years ago this April for my mother and aunt (her sister) who had a stroke." Said Joni. "I'm a rehab nurse and knew it would help both of them. We just do overall stretch exercises, standing balance and some weights to keep their arms strong. At first I wondered if I was really helping anyone (I am not certified in any kind of exercise therapy) until I realized I was helping myself just stay limbered up."
"This group helps keep us moving! I have some back trouble and whenever I come here and exercise, I always feel better. We'd like more people coming so they can feel better too!", shared Marion Warner.
When asked why she's still leading the group, Joni said, "I continue to do it because all the ladies are very dedicated to coming. They always let me know if they are going to miss a class or if someone has been sick, someone else will call and check on them and report back to the group. It's just the right thing do, that's why I still do it."
Joni is a kind and generous benefit to her community, giving both her time and energy. But what she's doing is something we all can do: picking a skill and sharing it.
We'd love for you to join us in sharing your skills and talents with one of our fantastic community organizations or groups! Contact us via our contact page or facebook message for more details!