Eatonville Trailblazers Leading the Way to Healthier Living
June 23, 2017
The Florida Department of Health in Orange County and the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention joined forces to make an impact on the lives of Eatonville’s treasured gems. Seniors, ranging from ages 55 to 98, embarked on a 12-week journey to increase their physical activity and eat healthier. Every Thursday from March through May, approximately 20 seniors met at the Denton Johnson Center. In honor of Eatonville celebrating its 130th year anniversary, the group named themselves the Eatonville Trailblazers. Many have been residents for more than 50 years and shared treasured stories of their family’s life in the historic town.
During the course of the program, a certified fitness trainer met with the group for five weeks and led them through safe and effective low impact cardiovascular workouts conducive to their age, fitness level and mobility. Chair exercises were offered to perform a variety of movement while seated and standing, which is designed to increase flexibility, balance and range of movement.
While on Spring Break, 15 youth from the Joe R. Lee Boys and Girls Club in Eatonville joined the Trailblazers in their exercise routine. The fitness trainer played the latest dance hits during the workout sessions and integrated two popular dances, the wobble and cupid shuffle, in the mix.
Each week, participants were served healthy lunch menus ranging from a build your own salad bar to freshly made fajitas. Nutritious take home snack packs consisting of fruit, raisins, string cheese, crackers and nuts were handed out to everyone. Weekly drawings for door prizes were also held.
In addition to the workout sessions, the seniors gained valuable information from subject matter experts on managing their medications, health literacy, nutrition, heart disease, stroke and hypertension, and the importance of preparing for their transition.
Eatonville Mayor Eddie Cole joined the group on several occasions for exercise, to give them an update on city affairs, and for recognitions. “As we look at all that is positively happening in Eatonville, what would this Town be without the Trailblazers,” said Mayor Cole. “They are PrimeTime among this community!"
At the end of the 12 weeks, a luncheon was held to celebrate their accomplishments. All participants received a certificate and a goody bag with tools to use as they continue to practice the healthy habits learned. Special recognition was given to those who had perfect attendance and those who “went the extra mile.”
The program was funded by Healthy Central Florida. To date, these mini grants have focused on helping people get active, eat healthy, be happy and breathe free in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville communities.