Hello and welcome back to Second Chance to Live my friend. I am happy to see that you decided to stop by to visit with me. I think you already know but I wanted to remind you that you are always welcome around my table.
One of the benefits and opportunities that I have through Second Chance to Live is that I am able to meet other people who are seeking to encourage, motivate and empower people with and with out disabilities. Marlee Kivens is one of those individuals. She is the creator and author of Empowering Jews with Disabilities.
Although I am not in the practice of including other people’s material on Second Chance to Live, I feel impressed to include an article that she shared with me — with her permission. May you be encouraged and inspired as I have been as I read the article. God bless you all.
Fitness and Inclusion
Last winter, Marlee Kivens, started working out at the Sabes JCC under the guidance of inclusion personal trainer Eric Schafer. “I am feeling more confident and getting more muscle-tone and strength,” she said. “It’s an amazing program here at the Sabes JCC.”
Establishing a routine of regular exercise produces many benefits including increased self-esteem, and a healthier body. For many of us it is just a matter of getting the motivation to get started and then to make exercise a habit. For Marlee, it took a bit more. She was born with Spina Bifida Myleomengocele. Making exercise part of her life had its own challenges. One of which was finding a health club that was accessible for a person with a physical disability and had the staff with understanding of the personal challenges and how to meet them.
Marlee heard about the inclusion program at the Sabes JCC and contacted Anita Lewis, Sabes JCC inclusion director. “Anita is great,” said Marlee, “any concerns I’ve had, Anita responded to right away.” After meeting with Anita and taking a tour of the JCC, Marlee signed up. The Sabes JCC, in collaboration with the St. Paul JCC, offers a Wellness Program for adults with developmental disabilities. It enables Marlee to work with a trainer one-on-one to help her reach her fitness goals.
Marlee meets with Eric once a week and her goal is to participate in water aerobics twice a week. Both Eric and the aerobics instructor work with Marlee to make accommodations to her exercises so she gets the maximum benefit. This one-on-one personal attention separates the JCC from other health clubs.
“Eric believes I can do things I never thought I could do when I first walked in the door,” she said. “He started me on the Nu Step stationary bicycle which calculates how many steps a person takes while using the machine. In July, I was doing 700 steps in approximately 10 minutes–I am up to 1300 steps today.
“I feel better when I work out whether it is in the pool or the weight room. My energy is up, my strength is up and I feel more confident about myself after each workout. I know that if I keep at it eventually my weight will go down and I will build muscle.”
Please read Part 2 Thank you.
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