Yoga on The Horizon
Univera equity award bolsters Warrior House 'Aging Strong Program'
Anybody up for a little downward dog?
In their ongoing quest to provide programs for the community’s well-being, organizers of The GOOSE Community Center and Warrior House of WNY will now be offering a yoga series, thanks to a Univera health equity award, Susan Zeliff says.
The award from Univera Healthcare will support Warrior House of WNY and its Aging Strong Program to promote physical health among senior adults aged 55 and older in rural Genesee County. Based in Oakfield, Warrior House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of veterans and families throughout Western New York through support services that promote social and emotional development for overall health and well-being, said Zeliff, Warrior House co-founder and treasurer.
“Aging Strong is a community-based fitness and nutrition program that informs and empowers older adults to make healthy choices about eating, and safely increase their level of physical activity,” Zeliff said this weekend. “In our part of Genesee County, the need for this type of program is great, but existing resources were few. That is until Univera stepped in with underwriting support.”
Warrior House of WNY is located at 33 South Main St., in The GOOSE Community Center, a name borrowed from the former site of the Yellow Goose and an acronym for the Warrior House motto: God is On Our Side Every day.
Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York and invited nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations serving Western New York to apply for Health Equity Awards to help fund health and wellness programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities.
Health Equity categories included but were not limited to: Reducing health disparities in racial, ethnic, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, people living in rural or urban communities, or other groups that may be at higher health risk for medical issues and conditions (chronic or acute), behavioral health or mental health conditions, and negative outcomes from the above, including death or suicide.
“Working together with organizations such as Warrior House, we are confronting the crisis in health disparities, and addressing long-standing gaps in care and services in underserved communities,” Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter said.
Univera Healthcare invited organizations to apply for awards of up to $30,000 each to help fund programs to improve health equity in communities of color, especially within Black and Latino communities. These segments of the community continue to suffer from health care and social disadvantages due to racism and discrimination. Award categories include, but were not limited to, improving the community’s physical health and mental health, reducing social disparities in health care, and ensuring access to health care services.
The funding from Univera Healthcare will support six nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations across Western New York, that were chosen after a comprehensive review process that included input from individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to assess each proposal. Grant recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities and improving health equity.
Univera Healthcare presented the award to Warrior House on Feb. 2. The goal of the Aging Strong program is to promote physical health among senior adults 55 and older through a community-based fitness and nutrition program that informs and empowers older adults to make healthy choices about eating and safely increasing their physical activity levels, Zeliff said.
Secondary goals include cultivating supportive networks among older-aged community members, promoting health education and literacy through fitness and nutrition workshops, and awareness of available assistance from local health service providers and the Warrior House food pantry.
Funds will be used for program evaluation, materials, food, and for exercise instructor Denise Gliden. She will be hosting a chair yoga at 10 a.m. on Thursday mornings beginning March 16 and a Vinyasa-style yoga at 6 p.m. on Wednesday nights beginning March 22.
“Our Univera Award will allow us to provide these classes for free. Our goal is always to provide low to no-cost programs. We never want costs to keep people from participating in our programs,” Zeliff said. “It is awards like this that help us make this possible. At this time, we are not putting a limit on the class size. We are hoping to benefit a lot of people with this program.”
Submitted photo of Michele Hrichan, Univera Healthcare Medicare Sales; Olivia Linke, Univera Healthcare Community Affairs Director; Susan Zeliff, Warrior House of WNY co-founder and Treasurer; Art Wingerter, Univera Healthcare president; and Kimberly Burr, Univera Healthcare Marketplace Enroller.