From the Orange County Newsroom

Orange County has partnered with Firebush, Inc. and the YMCA to offer fitness classes at several local community centers in an effort to provide an additional and much-needed resource for seniors. The classes, which combine Tai Chi, yoga and chair exercises, are specifically designed for those who want to increase mobility and flexibility.

The Community and Family Services Department, through its Community Action Division, operates and manages seven community centers throughout the County. At these centers, community partners operate a variety of beneficial programs for Orange County residents. Firebush currently offers these classes and related educational forums at the East Orange, Pine Hills, Taft and Maxey locations.

“Our goal is to give back to the community by providing group fitness options for adult seniors and people with limited mobility,” said Gloria Harris, Firebush executive director. “Our partnership with the County allows us to expand our reach.”

Working closely with the Orange County Community Action Division, Firebush representatives went into the community centers, met with seniors and asked them what they wanted. “It’s a great example of how we work with partners to service specific community needs,” said Atalie Ashley-West, the division’s family services administrator. “We’re here to support residents and enhance life across a continuum of services, and our partners enable us to do that.”

For seniors, the community centers represent a social haven where they can meet people, enjoy meals (courtesy of Seniors First) and participate in educational forums. The fitness classes add another element to enhancing daily life activities and increasing independent living.

“I can get out of bed on my own now because my leg muscles are stronger,” said a class participant. “These classes rock, so if you’re looking for an hour of fun with a great group of men and women, come join us.”

Firebush provides these services at no cost by partnering with retired local health and fitness professionals. Each class lasts 45 to 60 minutes and includes 15 to 30 minutes of fitness discussion. Currently, the classes are serving approximately 125 seniors per week.

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