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Gambo fitness program promotes health for people of all abilities

Coalition of organizations supports Inclusion and Wellness Initiative

GAMBO, NL –  They have taken learning and disguised it as fun.

A new program called the Gambo Inclusion and Wellness Initiative (GIWI) is bringing together a community of people with varying abilities, to entertain, inform, and connect. GIWI is organizing activities such as painting, exercise class, and board games in conjunction with healthy eating talks and presentations from community organizations such as the Lions Club.

“I think we’ll get a lot of community support because everyone in the community is talking about the program,” said Paula McDonald of Gambo and Area Employment Corporation. Living in Gambo (population around 2,000) are more than 30 people with physical, mental, or intellectual disabilities. Many of these people are employed in the community with McDonald’s help.

But sometimes finding fun and social activities after work can be a challenge. It was just this challenge that inspired McDonald and Central Health’s Nadine Stratton to propose the GIWI program. They gathered sponsorship from The Central Regional Wellness Coalition, Gambo Recreation, The Town of Gambo, and Gambo Lions Club in addition to their own organizations. With high participation and happy participants, it seems to be working.

“It’s nice to get out of the house.” said program participant Travis Brown.

“I loved it,” commented Tamara Rowsell of the April 10 Zumba fitness class with Wanda Keats.

The program began in February and is scheduled until June. The organizers hope to continue in the fall. Organizers are thinking this program in Gambo may inspire others in the province to do the same thing in their own towns. They are also hoping that connections within and outside the group will continue to benefit group members much after the program is finished.

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