United Way of Northwest Vermont
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Bone Builders

Strength for healthy aging.

RSVP Bone Builders is an exercise program designed to prevent (and even reverse) the negative effects of osteoporosis. The program is based on research conducted and published by Tufts University which shows that strength training just twice a week dramatically reduces the risk of fractures due to the disease. Study participants gained bone density, became stronger and improved their balance. These health gains significantly reduced the incidence of falling. Bone Builders classes fill a vital need for regular physical exercise as well as increased social interaction, both well-known components of healthy aging.

Find a Bone Builders class in your area by clicking here. No need to call ahead — just show up!

1 in 7 Vermont men and 1 in 3 Vermont women aged 50+ will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a painful and costly problem among Vermont seniors. Vermont residents are the second oldest in the country (second only to Maine) and our population is aging rapidly. The physical, emotional, and financial impacts of a broken hip can be devastating. Many older Vermonters live alone, in rural settings, on limited incomes. The cost of accessing weight training classes, as well as the travel involved, often make attending classes out of reach for those who need them most.


We are strategically expanding the program into more communities throughout Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties. We will continue to recruit and certify more volunteer instructors, secure additional donated class sites, buy weights for class locations as needed, provide ongoing learning opportunities for current volunteer leaders, advertise the classes and hold informational meetings at each site to explain the program, schedule class days and times.

Become a volunteer instructor. 

Contact Bone Builders Coordinator Danielle Schwer at danielle@unitedwaynwvt.org or (802) 861-7821 for more information.

See Collaboration in action

Meet Edna

Twice a week, Edna Chagnon, 89, gathers with neighbors to exercise and socialize in a sunny activity room inside St. Paul’s United Methodist Church where volunteer Debbie LeBlanc leads Bone Builders classes. Chagnon started coming to Bone Builders a couple years ago after experiencing a series of dangerous falls.


United Way of Northwest Vermont*** September 16, 2022