Re­lay for Healthy Ag­ing walk brings to­gether se­niors, teens

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By JONATHAN BISSONNETTE jbis­son­nette@paw­tuck­et­times.com

PAWTUCKET – When se­niors and stu­dents from across the city gather to­gether at Max Read Field on Satur­day morn­ing, they’ll be part­ner­ing for a walk that’s about much more than get­ting in a few steps. The two gen­er­a­tions of city res­i­dents will also be raising funds for the lo­cal se­nior cen­ter while learn­ing valu­able life lessons from one an­other.

The fifth-an­nual Re­lay for Healthy Ag­ing will once again step off at Max Read Field this Satur­day start­ing at 9 a.m. The walk, spon­sored by the Pawtucket Se­nior Cit­i­zens Coun­cil, pairs stu­dents from Tol­man and Shea high school’s cross-coun­try teams with se­niors from the Leon A. Math­ieu Se­nior Cen­ter to ben­e­fit pro­gram­ming and ser­vices of­fered at the Main Street cen­ter.

The walk will take place on Satur­day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Max Read Field, but in the event of in­clement weather, it will be re­lo­cated to the Se­nior Cen­ter.

Se­nior Cen­ter Di­rec­tor Mary Lou Mo­ran said that while the goal of the walk is to raise money, and for the lo­cal elderly and teenage com­mu­ni­ties to get healthy, it’s so much more than your ev­ery­day fundraiser.

“It’s re­ally be­come a nice in­ter-gen­er­a­tional pro­gram be­tween the high school stu­dents and the se­niors...” Mo­ran said. “Ini­tially, we started the event

to try to raise some ex­tra funds for pro­gram­ming at the se­nior cen­ter and it re­ally has be­come even much more than just raising funds. The re­la­tion­ships that have been born be­tween the stu­dents and the se­niors have re­ally been re­mark­able.”

“I’d say both pop­u­la­tions re­ally look for­ward to it each year,” she added. “We’re re­ally try­ing to en­cour­age ag­ing across the life­span.”

An added ben­e­fit to the walk, Mo­ran said, is that the in­ter­ac­tions be­tween the stu­dents and se­niors can aid in shat­ter­ing any pre­con­ceived no­tions one group may have about the other.

“We’ve found of­ten­times that a stu­dent might not have a grand­par­ent fig­ure in their fam­ily, so they re­ally get a lot out of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the se­niors. The se­niors are able to give back to the com­mu­nity and share their life ex­pe­ri­ences with the stu­dents,” Mo­ran said. “It’s more than just a walk.”

Last year’s walk raised just over $4,000 for the Se­nior Cen­ter and Mo­ran said the goal for the fifth-an­nual re­lay is to reach $4,500. She said the re­lay is the cen­ter’s pre­em­i­nent an­nual fundrais­ing en­deavor and the lo­cal busi­ness com­mu­nity has con­tin­ued to sup­port the event.

In­di­vid­u­als of all ages – un­der 18 with par­ents’ per­mis­sion – are en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate. Par­tic­i­pa­tion

at what­ever level you are com­fort­able with is en­cour­aged, of­fi­cials said, whether you want to walk or run a lap around the track, spon­sor a walker/run­ner with a do­na­tion, or sim­ply cheer on and sup­port the par­tic­i­pants. Reg­is­tra­tion is free and any­one who wants to walk can reg­is­ter at Max Read Field on the day of the re­lay from 8:30 to 9 a.m.

Mo­ran said she’s hope­ful for be­tween 75 and 100 par­tic­i­pants in this year’s re­lay.

To re­ceive do­na­tion or par­tic­i­pa­tion reg­is­tra­tion and spon­sor­ship in­for­ma­tion, contact the se­nior cen­ter at 420 Main St. in Pawtucket or by di­al­ing 401-728-7582.

In ad­di­tion to the laps around the track, three dif­fer­ent Stretch Out Fit­ness work­shops will be taught by Se­nior Cen­ter Fit­ness and Well­ness In­struc­tor Jean Overby – at 9:30, 10:15, and 11 a.m. Pawtucket-Cen­tral Falls Emer­gency Man­age­ment will also be demon­strat­ing life safety tips and a sound­track of clas­sic mu­sic from the 1950s and 1960s will be pro­vided by Bo-Dee’s Cir­cle of Mu­sic through­out the en­tire event.

Trans­porta­tion is be­ing pro­vided to the event from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with pick ups from the Leon A. Math­ieu Se­nior Cen­ter park­ing lot, Kennedy Manor, Fog­a­rty Manor, St. Ger­main Manor, Tow­ers East Hous­ing, and Doyle Manor.

File photo by Ernest A. Brown

Se­niors and their sup­port­ers en­joy the Re­lay for Healthy Ag­ing at the Leon Math­ieu Se­nior Cen­ter in Pawtucket in 2015. Tak­ing part, is Su­san Lavoie, left, with her friend, Luisa San­tos, a Tol­man High stu­dent. This year’s walk takes place to­mor­row.

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