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Seniors in Motion exercise, socialize

They gather their chairs around the carpet and there's no telling how many stories are shared during the short time they're together.

Oh, and they find time for exercise too.

Twice a week, Seniors in Motion meets at the Community Education Building and are put through an intense exercise session under the watchful eyes of instructor Beth Brown.

"She's a taskmaster," jokes attendee Hilda Maddox.

The class lasts for an hour. Equipment includes dumbbells, floor mats, chairs and Big Band music from the portable compact disc player. The women dance in time to the music's beat, directed by Brown. Joints are loosened, ligaments are stretched and - believe this - a good time is had by all.

"It's a chance to fellowship," says Brown, who's taught the class for 13 years. "It's just a real good feeling for this ladies to get out and do something physically. It's also a place to exchange gossip."

But nothing spiteful of course. The women have known each other for years. They talk of vacations and pizza parties and church. Naturally, being grandmothers, they talk of children. Brown's eight-month old grandson usually joins them. Some of their workout is spent chasing him in his walker.

The women remark on the various ways in which the class has helped them.

"I believe in exercise," says Dorothy White. White fractured her ankle in two places recently, but credits the exercise she learned in the class for aiding her recovery.

"You just feel so much better when you leave the class," said Maddox.

Brown welcomes anyone who wishes to attend.

"Although it's called Seniors in Motion, we're not limiting it to just seniors," she says. "I'm not turning away anybody."

Seniors in Motion is just a small part of what is offered by Crenshaw County Community Education. Also offered is dance, Taekwondo, piano, gymnastics, quilting, computer classes as well as an after school extended daycare program for parents who work until 5 p.m. during the weekdays.

Senator Wendell Mitchell knows the value of community education. Mitchell presented Crenshaw County Schools Superintendent Kathi Wallace and program director Laura Elliot with a $1,000 check to be used for community education.

"I think the community education program is one of the most meaningful programs we can have," said Mitchell.

Wallace said the program is growing by 'leaps and bounds.'

"The people that enjoy it the most are the elderly," she said, referring to the Seniors in Motion class and other classes instituted with the county's senior citizens in mind.

Mitchell agreed.

"In my opinion older people have to have a purpose to life," he said. "They need a drive and a reason. These classes give them that reason."