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Tell Us Your Story

Tell Us Your Story

We're always excited to hear success stories about our Active for Life program participants. If you have any interesting or life changing success stories, we'd love to hear them...

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Ted KarinPhysical Activity: A Springboard for Hope

As children we all knew the wisdom of listening to one’s parents. But 82-year old parent and World War II veteran Ted Kerin listened to his children and decided to take their advice.

Still grieving over the death of his wife, Mr. Kerin had, in his words, “let his mind and body go to pot.” He stayed inside most days watching television and eating junk food. At the urging of his children, Mr. Kerin visited the Mt. Washington Senior Center in Pittsburgh, PA. At the senior center, Mr. Kerin met other people with whom he shared similar backgrounds and experiences. And they helped him to come alive again.

“My kids talked me into going to the senior citizens center,” he said. “It’s very enlightening. I realized I was falling into a slump. Talking to people there helped a lot.”

Soon after coming to the senior center, Mr. Kerin discovered the Active for Life® Active Living Every Day (ALED) program sponsored by OASIS. ALED teaches people skills they need to realistically fit physical activity into their daily lives. Mr. Kerin enrolled in the 20-week program and with help from his dedicated family he was able to attend the weekly classes. Shirley Pogue, facilitator with the Pittsburgh ALED Program, comments, “Ted was my pride and joy in the Mt. Washington class. He was very nervous when he first came. His daughter brought him and stayed with him the first class, helped him fill out all the paperwork and continued to drop him off each week for class. I could see the changes take place in him from week one to week twenty. He was very quiet at the beginning of the program, and then at the end of the program, you couldn’t get him to stop talking!”

Since beginning ALED in September of 2004, Mr. Kerin adds physical activity into his daily routine in a myriad of ways. Due to vision problems, he doesn’t go outdoors alone for physical activity. But when the weather is good, he and his daughters walk about two miles up and down the hills of Mt. Washington almost every day. He also uses his basement gym. Mr. Kerin says “My kids gave me an exercise bike and some weights and we set them up in the basement. It’s cold down there in the winter, but I use the equipment in the nice weather.” And when it’s too cold in the basement for Ted to work out, he cleans house.

As a result of joining ALED, Mr. Kerin experiences less stiffness and aching in his joints but the biggest change in his life has been in his attitude. “The class gave me a lift. I had a chance to be with people who were understanding and helped me want to do activities and get back into life again. I haven’t felt this good mentally and physically in a long time.”

And Mr. Kerin isn’t the only one who benefited from his participation in the Mt. Washington ALED class. Ms. Pogue says, “Everyone in the group looked to him as the grandfather of the group. They were worried when he did not show up for class. This class was a great release for him. It motivated him to get going again and when he talked about getting the gym equipment in the basement it seemed like it opened another door that had been closed for a long time. He just kept smiling. He was a joy to have.”

Mary Esther Van Shura, Ed.D, assistant director of the Pittsburgh Department of Parks and Recreation who is also an OASIS-Pittsburgh ALED partner says, “I think the collaboration between OASIS/Active Living and Citiparks has been great. It’s a great illustration of how getting Ted to participate in this program has resulted in changing the image of aging. His quality of life was truly enhanced physically, emotionally and socially as a result of him participating in the program.”

In addition to physical activity, the ALED program assists seniors in finding meaning in their lives and developing interests to keep them physically and mentally active. It teaches that inactivity can lead to illnesses and disability. The program’s goal is for older adults “to develop the behavioral skills needed to build moderate to vigorous physical activity into their daily lives.” Mr. Kerin has accomplished this and once again is finding enjoyment in life.

Mr. Kerin is now a member of the ALED Alumni group which meets monthly at OASIS to provide accountability. The program also includes speakers who address health issues pertinent to physical activity. In addition to his role in the ALED Alumni group, Mr. Kerin also goes to the senior center for lunch three times a week and participates in trips and some activities offered at the center.

His gratitude is apparent in his heartfelt comments. “Thank you for offering this,” he said, “I like these people.” And Ms. Pogue voiced what every ALED facilitator hopes to say about every ALED participant, “The program gave Ted the confidence to transform his life from one of sedentary mental, emotional and physical condition to being fully active again. It was great to be a part of his success!”

Active for Life® is one of six Active Living programs funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation® to promote healthy living and active lifestyles.

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SRPH Building
1266 TAMU
College Station, Texas

Phone: 979-458-4202
Fax: 979-458-4264

Active for Life National Program Office | SRPH Building | 1266 TAMU | College Station, TX 77843-1266
Phone: 979-458-4202 | Fax: 979-458-4264 | Email: