Older Adults Help Youth “CATCH” Healthy Habits

CATCH Healthy Habits is an intergenerational program that connects adult volunteers, age 50-plus, with children, kindergarten to 5th grade, to encourage healthier eating behaviors and increase physical activity.

Research shows that adults over 50 who volunteer have lower rates of depression and mortality and greater functional ability than those who do not volunteer. For the Richmond-area adults who volunteer with the CATCH program, they’re not only helping promote healthy habits for kids but are also more likely themselves to deepen healthy behaviors. Programs like CATCH that connect the generations and foster health, wellbeing, and vitality for all are part of the network of regional strengths that recently earned Richmond a national award from the MetLife Foundation.

Meet one of our outstanding CATCH Healthy Habits Volunteers: Dorothy Schoeneman

I was born in Germany, grew up in Belgium, and lived most of my life in Northern Virginia. When my three children finished college, I retired from a career in sales management, and was accepted as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I spent the next two years in Mali, West Africa providing health education in a small village, teaching at the elementary school and working with the women and the midwife. It was an amazing experience which pointed me in a different direction on my return. I started substitute teaching and teaching preschool.

Dorothy Schoeneman,  a CATCH volunteer, pictured 5th from right with the Richmond Age Wave Team

Dorothy Schoeneman, a CATCH volunteer, pictured 5th from right with the Richmond Age Wave Team

Three years ago, I retired for the second time and moved to Richmond. I had come to enjoy the city when visiting my two grandsons and was ready to make a new home here. I knew I wanted to be active in my new community, and that I liked working with people. About a year ago, I saw an advertisement looking for volunteers for the CATCH Healthy Habits program. I loved the idea and felt I had something to contribute. It combines so many of the things I continue to enjoy and is beneficial to the community.

Last fall, I co-taught a class of fourth graders. The students were enthusiastic, especially about the food and exercise. We, the volunteer instructors, exercise right along with the children – an added benefit! At the last session, students proved to absorb a lot of the information we had presented. Students even expressed disappointment that classes were over for that season.

As I approach eighty years old (next year), I am very aware that for me to be content, I must be a contributing member of the community.

As you get older, it’s not always easy to find that opportunity. CATCH Healthy Habits has given me that opportunity to contribute, as well as to be a part of a community of seniors with a similar outlook.

Interested in becoming a CATCH Healthy Habits Volunteer?

Visit us at www.oasisnet.org/Richmond to get all the details.

CATCH Healthy Habits is proud to announce Spring 2015 sessions.

  • Peter Paul Development Center. Tuesdays, 4:30-5:30pm. March 31-May 28.
  • Falling Creek Elementary School. Tuesdays & Thursdays. 4-5pm. April 28-May 21.

Next New Volunteer Training will be held April 9th from 9:30am-2:30pm at the Chesterfield County Office of the Senior Advocate.

For additional information about becoming a volunteer, please contact Sara Morris, CATCH Healthy Habits Program Coordinator at 804-828-1565 or smorris@youraaa.org