William-Emslie YMCA - 585 William St, Buffalo, NY 14206
Stay Fit Dining Phone: 845-5440
It was a cold winter day when Senior Services staff walked through the double doors at the William Emslie YMCA, but there was Senior Program Director Elder Jeremiah E. Carter waiting in the hallway with a warm smile and an outstretched hand of friendship.
Director Elder Carter has 32 years of experience as an executive chef and could be considered an expert in the areas of food handling and preparation. The Erie County Stay Fit Dining Program lunch is served every weekday at noon at William Emslie YMCA, and he is quite enthusiastic because “every meal served contains 1/3 of the recommended nutritional daily allowance.” Jeremiah went on to say “I want to make the William Emslie YMCA a second home for the seniors in our community - there is so much here that many may not know about. “ In addition to Senior Services’ Club 99 program - the three day a week exercise class where each recipient receives a free workout t-shirt, a free resistance exercise stretch band and illustrated instructions for home use, he praised Stay Fit Dining Program for also offering free nutrition education classes and individual, private nutritional counseling provided at no cost. Elder Carter expressed the hope that this article “gets the word out” to those who may not be aware of the tremendous wellness programs being offered to seniors at the William Emslie YMCA.
At the William Emslie YMCA Senior program, the friendly crowd celebrates birthdays quarterly, have a travel trip every month, and activities include cardio circuit, fitness classes, Silver Sneakers program, and water aerobics in the indoor pool. Seniors have fun and move to music through a variety of exercises designed to increase muscular strength, range of movement, and activity for daily living skills. Hand-held weights, elastic tubing with handles, and a ball are offered for resistance; a chair is used for seated and/or standing support. There are also weekly Bible study, Line Dance Lessons, Choir rehearsal, as well as bingo, ceramics, Wii Bowling, Bridge lessons, Knitting Lessons, Pokeno, and Quilting Lessons! All day, people engage in friendly conversation and socializing. (Annual membership is $25)
Of course, the Ellicott Masten (William Emslie) YMCA offers other programming: Gymnasium, Wellness Center, Computer Center, and outdoor Running Track, sauna, steam room, and an indoor pool. As one of the seniors says, “I’m excited. I like it here!”
A side story here is Elder Jeremiah E. Carter, acting director, and a dynamic local pastor and his wife Sheila Carter. Jeremiah put aside a successful career as an executive chef and was joined by Shelia when they moved to Buffalo “to serve God and the community.” Talking about his relatively brief time in Buffalo he says “This is where I am supposed to be, this is where I want to be.” His Church Bethel Tabernacle (UNHC) is the oldest Pentecostal Church in Buffalo and will soon be celebrating its 100th anniversary. Elder Carter believes that “a true church is not just in a community, it must be part of the community.” His ultimate goal is to create a youth and young adult training center focused on job training, but most importantly training to live a productive life. He hopes to call on “one of the greatest resources within our community -- the mature population who could help and heal many issues plaguing our young people.” The goal is to instill a positive value system for example; older women serving as a surrogate grandmother, mother and advisor to young single mothers, and older gentlemen serving as surrogate grandfathers, fathers and mentors to fatherless young men. Elder Carter concluded his interview by telling me “I believe that life experience offers the greatest education and the senior community represents one of the greatest untapped resources in our nation.”