RSVP Hosts 100th ‘Health Bones’ Class For Site Leaders

“Thumbs Up” for “Healthy Bones” in celebration in reaching the benchmark of 100 completed exercise classes. Pictured are “Healthy Bones” certified site leaders, front row, from left, Nancy Kerrin, Ann Galbato and Sue Waterman. Standing are Cherrie Clark, Meri Swanson, Linda Bailey and Joanne E. Nelson. Absent is Irene Terreberry.

It seems like only yesterday that 32 women gathered at the Frank Bratt Agricultural Center to become certified StrongWomen Site Leaders (locally known as Healthy Bones). That was in 2009 and RSVP officials said they are pleased that RSVP is now leading its 100th class hosted by Fairway Pointe and led by Irene Terrberry.

Mary Ann Spanos, director of Chautauqua County Office for the Aging, proposed the program and brought the initial community partners together to discuss implementation. The community and many organizations rallied to support this mission — Chautauqua County Health Network, Steps to a Heathier NY, Lutheran, WCA Hospital, Lutheran Senior Housing, Chautauqua County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program — to name a few.

Two StrongWomen ambassadors traveled from Penn State to teach this new crew. Lots to learn in one day, but the two ladies made it enjoyable and fun. Participants completed the required eight hour training, earned their StrongWomen toolkits and embarked on teaching others the evidenced-based exercise routine. This home-grown program is fondly called “Healthy Bones” and Spanos had a logo created to endorse the program that is still used today.


The Strongwomen Strength Training Program It is a national evidenced-based community exercise and nutrition program targeted to midlife and older men and women that began in 2003. Dr. Miriam E. Nelson of Tufts University and colleagues developed and evaluated the curricula that emerged out of research published by Nelson on bones density in older adults. The strength training curriculum helps men and women build muscle mass, bone density and improve balance to prevent falls, broken bones, and a decline in function as women age.

In 2009, the site leaders gathered at the Taft Center of Chautauqua Adult Day Services to launch the first class. There were a meager eight participants and almost as many site leaders eager to apply their new found skills. Detailed warm-ups and cool downs are all prescribed for best performance. Exercises are done in two sets of ten using a slow four-count to assure maximum benefit. The program must be followed to achieve the desired result and alternatives are used for many exercises to accommodate people of differing abilities so that everyone remains engaged.

Now in 2018, RSVP volunteers has led 100 classes, supported new site leaders, encouraged “refresher courses” and have taught 1,000 or more people since that first class of eight in 2009.


¯ Park United Methodist Church — Sinclairville. An informational meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 11. Classes begin Thursday, Sept. 13, and meet from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday ending Nov. 15. Classes meet at Park United Methodist Church, 49 Sinclair Drive, Sinclairville. To enroll, call Linda Bailey at 962-1014 or Meri Swanson at 397-7854.

¯ Zion Lutheran Church, Frewsburg. An informational meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 4, at 1:15 p.m. Classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 11, and meet Tuesday and Thursday from 1:15 to 2:30 p.m. ending Nov. 15. Classes meet at Zion Lutheran Church, 45 Falconer St., Frewsburg. To enroll, call Nancy Kerrin at 569-6300.

¯ Tree of Life Evangelical Lutheran — Immanuel Lutheran campus, Jamestown. Classes begin: Monday, Sept. 17, and meet Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 10:15 a.m. ending Dec. 21. Classes meet at Tree of Life Evangelical Lutheran Church — Immanuel Lutheran campus, 556 E. Second St., Jamestown. To enroll, call Ann Galbato at 483-1750.

¯ Gustavus Adolphus Learning (GALC) Center Cafetorium, Jamestown. Classes begin: Monday, Sept. 17, and meet Monday and Wednesday from 5 to 6:15 p.m. ending Dec. 19. Classes meet in the GALC Cafetorium, 200 Gustavus Ave., Jamestown. To enroll call Sue Waterman at 789-3741.

¯ St. Timothy Lutheran Church, Bemus Point. Classes begin Monday, Sept. 10, and meet Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 10:15 a.m. ending Nov. 14. Classes meet at St. Timothy Lutheran Church, 3748 Route 430, Bemus Point. Tenroll call Cherrie Clark at 386-3105.

¯ Fairway Pointe Senior Village, Lakewood. An informational meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Oct. 1. Classes begin Wednesday, Oct. 3, and meet Monday and Wednesday from 9 to 10:15 a.m. ending Dec. 5. Classes are held at the Fairway Pointe Senior Village, 2123 Southwestern Drive, Lakewood. To enroll call Irene Terreberry at 386-2532.

For more information about the RSVP volunteer-led classes, call RSVP at 665-8039.

Additional “Healthy Bones” classes are offered through Chautauqua County Office for the Aging in Dunkirk, Fredonia, Sinclairville and Findley Lake at various time throughout the year. For additional information on “Healthy Bones” classes or other exercise/wellness programs in the county, call NY Connects at 753-4582, 661-7581 or 363-4582.

Chautauqua County RSVP, locally sponsored by Lutheran, is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts. For more information, visit