Meet Peggy

"I believe people enjoy life more when they feel better. Physically, Bone Builders has helped me improve my posture, have stronger arms and legs and more flexibility. Socially, it’s helped me get to know people in my community. I became a volunteer instructor because I really feel the positive benefits and want to share and perpetuate that. 

I love it when participants tell me they’re now able to walk up stairs more easily and don’t feel off-balance any more. Those who come, come faithfully. They rely on it and believe in it. I hope everyone continues and we can get stronger and set goals together."

Peggy Curtis, RSVP Volunteer & Bone Builders Instructor

 
 
 
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a story of partnership

United Way promotes optimal health and well-being for seniors by supporting RSVP Bone Builders, a volunteer-driven an exercise program designed to prevent (and even reverse) the negative effects of osteoporosis. Bone Builders classes fill a vital need for regular physical exercise as well as increased social interaction. Peggy is a volunteer Bone Builders instructor.

 
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 Peggy leads a Bone Builders class in Richmond, Vermont.

Peggy leads a Bone Builders class in Richmond, Vermont.

Peggy's story is an example of how United Way promotes optimal health and well-being.

RSVP Bone Builders is about about bringing Vermonters together to build positive relationships and forge a path to healthy aging. Participants enjoy learning from vibrant leaders from their own age group within their own community. While classmates are working to build strong bones, they are also building life-long friendships and working towards their common goal of healthier aging. 

 

Why we need this

Osteoporosis is a painful and costly problem amongst Vermont seniors and our population is aging rapidly. For example, the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of a broken hip (estimated at $90,000 per fracture) can be devastating – yet we can anticipate that one of seven Vermont men and one of three Vermont women aged 50+ will break a bone due to osteoporosis. 

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. 

 

How it Works

Bone Builders classes are offered twice per week and include weight training, balance building exercises and nutritional education. Classes are volunteer-led, free of charge to all participants and are currently offered in South Burlington, Burlington, Richmond, Hinesburg, Essex, and Williston and are often held in congregate living facilities, further reducing barriers to participation.  

 

Our Role

United Way recruits and trains all volunteer Bone Builders class leaders, seeks out community partner locations, publicizes classes and offers continuing educational support to class leaders. 

 
 

The results

Bone Builders participants report a greater overall sense of well-being – they tell us they feel safer in their homes, are better able to climb stairs, shower without fear of falling, and are much more inclined to go for walks.  They also tell us that the classes help build a strong community and grow friendships outside of class.

The research tells us that participation results in increased bone density and muscle strength, improved balance, flexibility and energy, increased social connections and reduced isolation.

 
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