Alumni get seniors fit (PHOTOS)

Published 9:53 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ninety-four-year-old Pretonia Selby does some arm exercises as Lovie Ross, 95, uses a stationary bike.  MONA MOORE | DAILY NEWS

Ninety-four-year-old Pretonia Selby does some arm exercises as Lovie Ross, 95, uses a stationary bike.

PANTEGO – Members of the Beaufort County High School Association can already see that January will present a problem for them.
The plan was to start a new session of their seniors fitness and health program after graduating the first group of happy, healthy seniors. The program was launched last August. Once it reached its maximum capacity, the association started a waiting list.
The problem is those currently attending the fitness education program do not want their class to end.
“They’ve already told us they aren’t going anywhere,” said Ruth Mann, an instructor. “Our quota was 25. So, we’re knocking our heads and trying to figure out where we’re going to get the money.”
Participants meet Tuesdays and Thursdays for exercise discussions on social issues and classes about health topics like nutrition and diabetes.
Loretta Younger takes extensive notes during the classes. They learned about the program from a neighbor. Since retiring in Pantego, Younger said the program has been a great way to introduce themselves into the community and get to know neighbors.
“We moved here from New York. But he grew up here. He’s kin to just about everyone here,” Loretta said of Raleigh.
“I consider all of these ladies up here my grandmothers,” Raleigh said.
Since joining the program, he has lost 12 pounds.
The group eats lunch together and ends the four-hour sessions with entertainment like a movie or bingo.
The free program also includes transportation to and from the BCHS building, courtesy of Macedonia Church of Christ.
“I’m coming back every time. Every time. I do really like it,” said Gladys Dills.
Johnnie Bailey had a few reasons for getting involved in the program. She has lost weight in the few short weeks since the program began.
“I love our kind teachers and the good food they serve,” she said.
Mann said the program operates on a $5,000 grant received from Vidant Beaufort Hospital and donations from alumni and the community. Some organizations adopt a day and come and prepare lunch for the seniors.
“We asked for $10,000 and got $5,000. It doesn’t cover the costs, but we make it work,” Mann said. “When our participants heard what we had to work with, they started bringing in everything from paper towels to toilet paper.”
The program has become a vital source of health information and a social outlet for the seniors. In fact, the association also organizes outings for the group. Today, they will take a trip to Walmart and eat out, all for $2 per person.
“We have a good time here,” said Thelma Booth. “We love it.”