by Cathy Teal
Adult Health and Fitness Today, Inc. (AHFT) was started three years ago by Mercedes Godfrey and a dedicated Board of Directors which includes Linda Rider, AHFT President and AFP 2021 Outstanding Philanthropist. All of the Board has and still does take group exercise classes with Godfrey and believe in her ability to change the lives of older adults through exercise.
Most fitness programs are designed for younger adults with disposable income. Rarely are the specific needs of Seniors on a fixed income or with limited mobility addressed. Mecedes Godfrey, a certified ACE fitness trainer who created programming for older adults in Valley Senior centers, became acutely aware of the need and with her Board set out to encourage healthy aging and improve the quality of life for Seniors through exercise and wellness programs designed specifically for them.
Due to the pandemic, program delivery changed from in-person group training at a facility to free in-home training delivered online. Delivering free fitness training on their website allowed AHFT to expand their Senior specific fitness programs across the entire Coachella Valley. As the public health lock-down was lifted, AHFT reinstated in-person group training at their facility and to Senior 55+ living facilities in the community. After talking to several facility programming directors, Godfrey realized how much additional damage the pandemic inflicted on the Seniors as a result of a sedentary year isolated from friends and family.
Shannon Versluys, Administrator for Park David Affordable Housing for 55+, expressed a common concern Godfrey heard frequently, “Our budget and group activities have been decimated by the pandemic. I can’t tell you how painful it has been to watch many of our residents on a downward spiral fed by inactivity and loneliness. Their attitude is often one of resignation and hopelessness.”
Godfrey plans to restore hope, health and a sense of well-being in the Senior community and she’s asking the rest of us to pitch in and make it happen. To find out how you can participate or sponsor AHFT’s community outreach program, please call 760.341.0339 or visit our website at www.AdultHealthFitnessToday.org.