Geauga County – In 2014, University Hospitals (UH) Geauga Medical Center and the Geauga County Department on Aging are once again partnering to offer a series of interactive wellness programs for seniors throughout the region. This year’s theme is “Celebrate Life.” To officially launch the series, the two organizations will sponsor the county’s first Valentine’s Day “Heart to Heart” Senior Dance, hosted by the Chardon High School Teen Leadership Corps (TLC).
The fun, intergenerational event will take place on Friday, February 14 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Chardon United Methodist Church, 515 North Street, and will feature live music, dancing and lunch provided by UH Geauga Medical Center. Area seniors who register to attend are encouraged to bring a date, go stag or come with friends.
“This year’s activities are geared toward helping our community’s seniors celebrate life – mind, body and spirit,” says Julie Bogdan, LPN, Community Outreach Nurse Educator, UH Geauga Medical Center. “During the winter we’re offering a program called, ‘Let’s Move: Fun and Fitness.’ It will officially begin with the Heart to Heart Dance, which was the TLC’s idea. The hospital is excited to work with the students on this event. They have completely embraced it and it’s wonderful to see their enthusiasm.”
[quote style="boxed" float="right"]This dance represents a positive step forward in the healing and growth of the Chardon community[/quote] The Teen Leadership Corps, which formed in the aftermath of the Chardon High School tragedy in February 2012, is part of a national organization that empowers students to achieve their leadership potential through a character and service-based curriculum. “With the Heart to Heart event, our kids want to do something positive for older adults,” says Robert Mizen, Facilitator, TLC, Chardon High School. “They want to show there do not need to be barriers between young adults and seniors, and that through community planning and outreach in collaboration with organizations like UH Geauga Medical Center, we can break down any barriers that do exist.”
The Valentine’s Day dance will also feature involvement from other student leadership organizations, including the Chardon High School National Honor Society and the Auburn Career Center in Concord Township. “Heart to Heart is a positive opportunity to connect our students with seniors in the community as well as to build vital relationships with UH Geauga Medical Center and the Department on Aging,” says Michael P. Hanlon, Jr., Ph.D., Superintendent, Chardon Schools. “It has already been a tremendous learning and character-building experience for our Teen Leadership Corps.”
“The opportunity to work with area students and the Department on Aging to further develop the sense of community in Geauga County is a privilege,” adds M. Steven Jones, President, UH Geauga Medical Center. “This dance represents a positive step forward in the healing and growth of the Chardon community and for the entire region our hospital serves.”
Registration is required to attend the February 14 Heart to Heart Senior Dance. The cost is $5 per person and the initial registration deadline is Friday, February 7. “The event is a great way to get our community’s older adults out, active and having fun during the winter,” says Jessica Boalt, Director, Geauga County Department on Aging and a Chardon resident. “We invite you to celebrate life with your friends and Chardon High School students, and get to know our staff and the Community Outreach team from UH Geauga Medical Center. We’ll be available at the event to talk to you about senior wellness programs you’d like to see in the future.”
For more information about this event and to obtain a registration form, call Julie Bogdan, UH Geauga Medical Center, at 440-285-7757; Jessica Boalt, Geauga County Department on Aging, at 440-279-2130; or Andy Fetchik, Principal of Chardon High School, at 440-285-4057.