Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s

• North Port Parkinson’s Wellness Club: “In-Home Assessments for Better Living” with Cindy Anderson, OT; SMH North Port Medical Plaza, Neuro Challenge: North Port, 5600 Peace River Road, North Port, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 12.

• Special Event: North Port: Better Hearing Starts Now! Understanding the Effects of Hearing on Parkinson’s with Carol Bourbeau, Hear Again America; Neuro Challenge Foundation: North Port, 5600 Peace River Road, North Port, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 17.

• North Port JFCS Care Partner Connection with Carolyn Stephens, LCSW (Open Forum and Sharing) and Parkinson’s Power Hour with Carisa Campanella; Neuro Challenge Foundation: North Port, 5600 Peace River Road, North Port, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 19.

• Englewood Parkinson’s Support Group: “Understanding Parkinson’s Disease and Resources for Symptom Management” with Carisa Campanella, Neuro Challenge Program Manager; St. David’s Episcopal Church, 401 S. Broadway, Englewood, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 21.

• North Port JFCS Care Partner Connection with Carolyn Stephens, LCSW (Open Forum and Sharing) and Parkinson’s Power Hour with Karla Brody, MSSW; Neuro Challenge Foundation: North Port, 5600 Peace River Road, North Port, from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sept. 26.

• North Port Voice Aerobics with Mary Spremulli, SLP: An exercise program focusing on breath support, posture, and vocal function exercises for improved vocal performance; Neuro Challenge Foundation: North Port, 5600 Peace River Road, North Port, from 11 a.m. to noon on Sept. 27.

• Venice Movers and Shakers PD Discussion Group: “Lessons Learned from Coping” with Edie Anderson, Ambassador, Davis Phinney Foundation; (A Learning and Support Discussion Group focusing on the Cognitive and Behavioral Aspects of PD), Jacaranda Public Library, 4143 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice, from 3 p.m. to 4: 30 p.m. on Sept. 27.

• Punta Gorda Parkinson’s Support Group: “Understanding the Medical Infinity DBS System and Parkinson’s Disease” with Chad Davie; Punta Gorda Civic Association, 2001 Shreve St., Punta Gorda, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 28.

Childbirth Education Programs

Sarasota Memorial Hospital offers comprehensive childbirth education programs at its North Port Health Care Center, 2345 Bobcat Village Center Road, North Port. All sessions are taught by qualified instructors, on a rotating monthly schedule. For the educational sessions, you’ll need to sign-up in advance. We recommend signing up for classes by your second trimester and finishing them four weeks prior to your due date. Upcoming classes include:

• Saturday, Sept. 15: Prepared Childbirth Class 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Wednesday, Sept. 26: Breastfeeding Basics 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Register online at babies.smh.com.

Learn how to prevent or delay Type 2 Diabetes

Have you been told that you have Prediabetes? Would you like to learn about a variety of tools that have been proven to prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes?

Lee Health is pleased to announce a free program designed to help you make modest lifestyle changes and cut your risk of Type 2 Diabetes by more than half. This year-long program with weekly meetings for the first six months, then once or twice a month for the second six months, is part of the National Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Information presented in the workshop can help you become empowered to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Learn about the benefits of physical activity; manage symptoms of stress, make smarter decisions related to healthy eating, and tips to stay motivated. Participants will receive a participant guide to use as an ongoing reference tool once the classes are completed.

Our next program will be held on Wednesdays, beginning on Sept. 12, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at 12550 New Brittany Blvd, Second floor Suite 200, Fort Myers. Registration is required.

Seating is limited and registration is required. For more information, call 239-424-3127.

Author to discuss novel, ‘Left: A Love Story’

At 1 p.m. on Sept. 13, at Shannon Staub Library, 4675 Career Lane North Port, New York Times bestselling author Mary Hogan will discuss her novel, “Left: A Love Story,” inspired by her real-life marriage to a man with early Alzheimer’s. A caregiving and memory support expert will also be on hand to discuss the many issues related to Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

This novel tells the story of Fay Agarra and how she copes with her husband’s dementia. According to the publication, “As her husband transforms before her very eyes, Fay copes with her fears by retreating into a fantasy life filled with promise instead of pain. “Left” is an unforgettable tale about life’s agonizing uncertainties—and a woman who discovers that somewhere between hope and reality an unexpected future will find its way forward.”

Books-a-Million of Port Charlotte will be onsite to sell books for purchase, and Hogan will sign copies of her novel after the program.

For more information visit scgov.net/library or call 941-861-1740.

Positive Aging Symposium

If the expression “You are what you eat” were true, would you be more of a Fruit Salad or a French Fry? This fall’s Positive Aging Symposium focuses on how you should be Putting Your Best Fork Forward through mindful eating, diabetes prevention, and finding healthy foods on a fixed income. The Symposium will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 13, at The Cultural Center, 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte.

At the Positive Aging Symposium, Ellner will talk about what balanced lifestyle habits would look like – both what would be on your plate and what physical activity would be necessary. She will provide suggestions on small changes that you can get started with. Ellner will provide tips for tracking these, to help keep you on track.

Tania Garcia from Green Living, Green Planet will provide a cooking demonstration of a vegetable pasta salad that attendees will be able to enjoy for lunch. Lunch is being sponsored by Byrski Estate & Elder Law, Charlotte Memorial, Solaris Healthcare Charlotte Harbor, Comfort Keepers, Helping Hands of SWFL, and Parkside Assisted Living & Memory Cottage.

Following lunch, Ian Connell from the Florida Department of Children and Families will present information on SNAP benefits and other options for finding healthy food on a fixed income.

The cost to attend is $10. To register, visit unitedwayccfl.org or call 941-627-3539. The first thirty registrants will receive a free cookbook. Additional giveaways and information on local resources will be available at the event.

Free Autism screening

Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, in partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities® of Southwest Florida, offers a free monthly autism spectrum disorder screening for toddlers 18 months to five years of age. The next screening on the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sept. 14, at the Family Health Center, 316 Del Prado Blvd., Cape Coral. The ASD screening is conducted by the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. The screenings are administered by an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner, who has extensive training and experience in typical child development and developmental disorders. A physician referral is not required. To schedule a screening, call 239-343-6838.

Special program offered

JFCS Cancer Support and Wellness will host a special program on Medical Marijuana for the Cancer Survivor from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, at the Lion’s Community Room at the Venice Health Park, 1201 Jacaranda Blvd. in Venice. Corner of Jacaranda and Center Road. The speaker will be Gerald E. Grubbs, MD., board certified by the American Board of Radiology and is currently studying for board certification in Anti-Aging Medicine.

All cancer warriors, survivors and caregivers are welcome to attend. For more information, contact Dawn Moore at 941-408-9572.

Yoga month bingo challenge

September is National Yoga Month. During Yoga Month, designated by the Department of Health & Human Services, festivities occur across the country. Hundreds of studios, teachers, and students join in. Come celebrate with The Yoga Sanctuary and discover the transformational power of a consistent yoga practice. Participate in our month-long game of Yoga Month Bingo and see the difference yourself! In addition to feeling stronger, more relaxed, and less stressed, you will also be supporting the Peace River Wildlife Center (PRWC). Visit www.theyogasanctuary.biz or call 941-505-9642 to learn more about this month long event.

Chanting for Peace

In honor of the UN International Day of Peace and Fall Equinox, The Yoga Sanctuary, 112 Sullivan St., Punta Gorda, invites the public to, Chanting for Peace, from noon to 1 p.m. on Sept. 21. Join in chanting the sacred sound of OM 108 times. Chanting OM three times in a yoga class is beneficial, but chanting OM 108 times, in a community of people who believe peace is possible, is a powerful and memorable event. A short discussion exploring the meaning of OM and the relevance of 108 will be held followed by the chant then followed by nine minutes of silence to absorb the vibrations of this powerful mantra. This event is free and open to all. For more information, visit www.theyogasanctuary.biz or call 941- 505-9642.

Fall Festival

A fall festival will be held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 22, at Quality Health Care Center, 6940 Outreach Way, North Port. There will be food, games, face painting, baked goods and more. All proceeds benefit the Walk to End Alzheimer’s disease. For more information, call 941-426-8411.

Cancer Foundation meeting

The Englewood Area Cancer Foundation will hold it’s monthly meeting from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 25. at the Suncoast Auditorium, 700 Medical Blvd., Englewood. Topic will be LiveSTrong at the Y-a free exercise and wellness program for cancer warriors. Mary Chase, Health Innovation Senior Relationship Coordinator at the SKY Family YMCA will talk about the LiveStrong at the YMCA programs in the area. For more information, contact Dawn Moore at 941-408-9572.

More than Weight Loss

Join Nutritionist and Counselor, Chrisanna Harrington, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 26, as she helps you to understand how to lose weight without harming your metabolism. Understand concepts of Insulin Resistance and how this contributes to belly fat and Diabetes Type 2. Extra fat changes your metabolism and unless you are seeking Medical Nutrition Therapy, you can actually harm your body. Seating is available for 12 people only, call 941-787-3525 to register.

Recovery Vigil planned

Mental and/or substance use disorders are a critical challenge that Charlotte County must address immediately. To draw attention to the issue, Charlotte Behavioral Health Care (CBHC) will host a Recovery Vigil to raise awareness for people in need of treatment and recovery support services. The Vigil will take place at 7 p.m. on Sept. 28, in Laishley Park, 100 Nesbit St., Punta Gorda. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. This is a kid-friendly and pet-friendly event. There will be a presentation featuring community members sharing their personal stories of recovery, and booths staffed by our community’s providers of mental and substance use disorder support services.

The first 100 attendees will receive a “Voices of Recovery” t-shirt. In addition, recovery honor beads are available free of charge, attendees may paint #RockingPuntaGorda recovery rocks (all supplies provided), and live music will be provided by Tiki Tom and L.A. Daniels. There will be a raffle, and the event will end with a candlelight vigil set to bagpipes and a moment of silence in honor of those struggling with this disease and in memory of those no longer with us.

“The personal stories shared at the vigil are a powerful testaments to the successes achieved through recovery,” said Kelly Pomerville, director of marketing and pr at CBHC. “We all have the potential to make a difference and be visible, vocal, and valuable to help spread the message that recovery is possible.”

The Recovery Candlelight Vigil in Charlotte County highlights the benefits of substance abuse treatments and the contributions of treatment providers. It also promotes the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible and that addiction is a treatable disease.

“We hope that our candlelight vigil will create awareness of this problem by shining light onto something often kept hidden,” said Pomerville. “The vigil allows us to reflect on what addiction and recovery are about and to be inspired to rise to the challenge to help combat drug and alcohol issues. Hand in hand, one life at a time, we can all make a difference through our lives, in the lives of loved ones, and in the community. Your presence at the vigil sends a message that recovery is possible.”

For more information or to reserve a provider table, please contact Kelly Pomerville at kpomerville@cbhcfl.org or 941-639-8300 Ext. 2275.

Poverty Simulation planned

A Poverty Simulation will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 4, at the Coalition Cafe, located at 1476 Kenesaw St., in Port Charlotte Twenty volunteers are needed to help with the simulation and additional volunteers and community leaders are welcome to partake in the simulation. The simulation gives “real life” experiences of a person living in poverty. (The stressors and daily decisions someone has to make for survival). This valuable learning experience enhances the insight of what poverty really looks and feels like. Through this experience, a shift takes place from “changing the poor” to improving community conditions where everyone comes together to create a sustainable community. For more information on the simulation, contact Alecia Cunningham, Director of Social Services at 941-627-4313, Ext.119 or email Alecia.Cunningham@cchomelesscoalition.org. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Darcy Woods at 941-627-4313, Ext. 134 or email Darcy.Woods@cchomelesscoalition.org.

Mission Cataract

Frantz EyeCare is proud to announce its third annual Day of Giving Back, scheduled for Oct. 5, when deserving individuals will receive the gift of sight, compliments of Frantz EyeCare.

This is the third year Frantz EyeCare has partnered with Mission Cataract USA to provide free Cataract Surgery to qualifying patients. Mission Cataract USA is a nationwide program that assists in providing free Cataract surgery to qualifying patients. Surgeries will be performed at the Suncoast Surgery Center in Fort Myers.

Cataracts are the clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40. Frantz EyeCare has restored sight for thousands of cataract patients over the years.

Dr. Jonathan Frantz established what is today Frantz EyeCare in 1994. Dr. Frantz introduced Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery to Southwest Florida in 2012 and is among the top five in the United States and has been voted the Best Cataract Surgeon in SWFL. He is also named in the Guide to America’s Top Ophthalmologists and Best Doctors in America. Anyone who is visually impaired and has financial need or to refer a candidate, call 239-418-0999 or learn more at BetterVision.net.

2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care support and research. Your organization can help lead the way as an event sponsor while increasing your organization’s visibility in the community.

Join the 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Oct. 6, at Laishley Park, 120 Laishley Court, Punta Gorda. Registration starts at 8 a.m. To register or to become a sponsor, email alefcakis@alz.org, call 727-578-2558 or visit alz.org/walk.

NAMI Family Support Group Training

NAMI Sarasota County will offer statewide Family Support Group (FSG) Training on Oct. 6-7, in Sarasota. Prospective facilitators must be family members (parents, siblings, adult children, spouses or partners) of a person with mental illness. If you would like to train as a volunteer facilitator and can commit to co-facilitating a monthly support group, please consider this unique opportunity. Additional FSG facilitators are needed in Sarasota County, particularly for the Venice and North Port areas, and NAMI Sarasota County will cover the cost of training for applicants from Sarasota County.

NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness. The groups provide an opportunity to gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar circumstances. FSG is confidential and provided free of cost to participants.

For more information or an application contact Colleen Thayer, Executive Director, NAMI Sarasota County, at colleen@NAMIsarasotacounty.org or call 941-376-9361.

Run like a Bandit

The Port Charlotte Bandits Youth Football and Cheer Programs will host its inaugural running of Run like a Bandit 5K/10K from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Oct. 14, at Port Charlotte Beach Park, 400 Harbor Blvd., Port Charlotte. All proceeds from the event benefit this amazing program for the kids in the area. It is a 5K and a 10K road race on all paved surfaces, with a $200 overall male/female prize for the 10k and $100 overall male/female for the 5k. Overall youth male/female will have prizes as well. There will also be awards for all the masters categories. There will be a custom finishers medal for every finisher of both races. Each participant will also receive an official custom race shirt. There will be food and beer at the after party. There will also be inflatables for the kids, cornhole for the adults and music by DJ Justin of Party Pro DJ’s. Registration is $45 for 10K and $30 for 5K. To register or for more information, visit www.runsignup.com/Race/FL/

PortCharlotte/RunLikeABandit5k10k.

Annual Tour de North Port

The 9th Annual Tour de North Port, “It’s the Green Pumpkin!,” that will take place at 7 a.m. on Oct. 28, at Imagine High School, 2575 Sycamore St., North Port. A fundraiser event sponsored by People for Trees, a nonprofit native tree advocacy group since 1997, the Tour de North Port is not a race but an organized bicycle ride where cyclists follow a 15, 35, or 65-mile route through North Port that highlights the city’s parks and natural settings. The ride includes breakfast, lunch, rest stops, and SAG support. Advance registration is $40 (www.peoplefortrees.com) or $45 at door. For more information, contact Alice White/941-426-9752 or email treelady12001@yahoo.com.

Health Extravaganza scheduled

Fawcett Memorial Hospital is hosting a free Health Extravaganza from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., Punta Gorda. It will include screenings, inflatable heart and brain exhibits, hands-only CPR demonstrations, stroke risk assessments, healthy cooking demos, mini doc talks and hands on education from experts in joint, spine and cardiac, physical therapy and more. Reservations are recommended, call 941-624-4441 to register.

American Cancer Society seeks participation in Relay For Life of Charlotte County

American Cancer Society is calling on all community members to participate in the annual Relay For Life of Charlotte County on April 6, at Laishley Park. Be part of the fight, and together we can beat our biggest rival. American Cancer Society is seeking volunteers to form teams and stand shoulder to shoulder with us and cancer patients and those supporting them.

Founded by Dr. Gordy Klatt in Washington in 1985, the Relay For Life movement unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have been touched by cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action for lifesaving change. Symbolizing the battle waged around the clock by those facing cancer, the event can last up to 24 hours and empowers communities to take a stand against cancer.

This year, an estimated 1.3 million people in the U.S. will participate in more than 2,000 events to help the American Cancer Society attack cancer in dozens of ways, each of them critical to achieving a world without cancer — from developing breakthrough therapies to building supportive communities, from providing empowering resources to deploying activists to raise awareness. Funds raised support the American Cancer Society 24/7 cancer help line and free rides to chemo. By joining the Relay For Life event, you can help attack cancer from every angle. To learn more about Relay For Life, and register a team, visit RelayForLife.org/charlottecountyfl.

ONGOING Hope PACE seeking Port Charlotte volunteers

Do you have a caring heart and time to share? Hope PACE, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly that helps aging adults live independently in our community, is seeking volunteers for its Port Charlotte Care Center.

Volunteers may be asked to talk and socialize with individuals in Hope’s care, organize fun games and activities, assist with crafts or special projects, help with meals and snacks, or offer administrative support to on-site staff.

Before helping at the Hope PACE Care Center, volunteers will receive an in-depth orientation session. Volunteers must be at least 14 years or older. Call 239-415-7217 or visit www.HopeHCS.org/volunteer for more information about volunteer opportunities.

To learn more about Hope Healthcare programs, including Hope Kids Care, Hope PACE, Hope Palliative Care and the Hope Parkinson Program, call 239-482-4673 or visit www.HopeHCS.org.

Bayfront Health Port Charlotte / Punta Gorda Volunteers needed

Do you love helping others, serving and giving back to people in need? Make a difference in the lives of patients, families and visitors and become a volunteer at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte / Punta Gorda.

We are recruiting volunteers for many different positions, including: care ambassadors, couriers, front desk information, nursing support, clerical volunteers, departure services, emergency room volunteers, and golf cart drivers.

If you have four hours per week to share with others, please call 941-637-2570 for more information.

Hope PACE seeking volunteers

Do you have a caring heart and time to share? Hope PACE, a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly that helps aging adults live independently in our community, is seeking volunteers for its Port Charlotte Care Center.

Volunteers may be asked to talk and socialize with individuals in Hope’s care, organize fun games and activities, assist with crafts or special projects, help with meals and snacks, or offer administrative support to on-site staff.

Before helping at the Hope PACE Care Center, volunteers will receive an in-depth orientation session. Volunteers must be at least 14 years or older. Call 239-415-7217 or visit www.HopeHCS.org/volunteer for more information about volunteer opportunities.

To learn more about Hope Healthcare programs, including Hope Kids Care, Hope PACE, Hope Palliative Care and the Hope Parkinson Program, call 239-482-4673 or visit www.HopeHCS.org.

LOUD Crowd classes

The LOUD Crowd classes meet every Thursday from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Universal Fitness, 1544 Rio De Janeiro Ave, Punta Gorda. No fee. New member are requested to contact 941-204-1515 prior to attending for the first time.

The LOUD Crowd is a weekly speech class for individuals with Parkinson’s disease who have previously undergone speech therapy. For more information contact Mary Spremulli, at 941-204-1515 or email info@voiceaerobicsdvd.com.

Voice Aerobics class

Sponsored by Neurochallenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, Voice Aerobics with Mary Spremulli is held the fourth Thursday of the month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Peace River Presbyterian Center, 5600 Peace River Road, North Port. Voice Aerobics is a whole body voice strengthening program combining voice practice with movement. The class provides education about speech and voice changes associated with Parkinson’s, an introduction to vocal function exercises, and a setting for social interaction, support, and communication. There is no fee for classes.

No prior speech therapy is required to join, and classes will focus on: vocal function exercise, speech practice, and methods to improve communication for people living with Parkinson’s. To learn more, call 941-204-1515.

Monthly Tobacco Cessation Seminars

Englewood Community Hospital offers free monthly tobacco cessation seminars. The Tools to Quit program will provide information about the effects of tobacco use, the benefits of quitting, and will assist you in developing your own quit plan. Quitting tobacco isn’t easy, but finding help should be. With the new Quit Your Way program, the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program is making it easier for tobacco users in the state to access the free and proven-effective resources available to all Floridians. They have expanded their resources offering tobacco users interested in quitting access to free tools, including a starter kit of nicotine replacement patches, Text2Quit, email tips and a quit guide.

Englewood Community Hospital offers the Group Quit seminars on the third Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Englewood Community Hospital cafeteria conference room. If you or a loved one is ready to quit your way, please register by calling 866-534-7909.

‘Minding Our Elders’

Join Karen Hallenbeck, Senior Living Advisor, Writer, Executive Director and Host of “Minding Our Elders,” is on the air at 11 a.m. every other Monday on WCCF 1580am.

Seventeen years as an Executive Director of Assisted Living Memory Care Communities has given Karen the expertise and empathy to assist families in their journey through senior living. Topics on “Minding Our Elders” will include how to choose the “right” community for your loved one, transitioning at a community, what legal issues should be completed, common questions about placement or how families can endure the emotional impact of caring for their loved one.

You can share your story or make comments during the show by calling in at 941-206-1580 or go to www.wccfam.com for the “Minding Our Elders” blog.

Diabetes/diet classes

Dr. John Janick/Map Weight Loss provides free diabetic teaching the third Friday of every month, a free diet cooking class the third Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. every month, and a free blood pressure and diabetic chocolate the third Thursday of every month from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

For more information or to set up a appointment, call 941-629-3366.

Free bike rides

Free bicycle rides are offered at 8:30 a.m. every Saturday. All riders are welcome. Helmet is required. The rides depart from Acme Bicycle Shop, 615 Cross St., Suite 1116, Punta Gorda. For more information, call 941-639-2263

Friendship Centers need volunteers in North Port

The Friendship Centers currently has a volunteer opening for Friendship at Home Volunteers in North Port. The Friendship at Home program matches volunteers with isolated seniors through telephone reassurance, the friendly visitor program and supportive intervention. Volunteers go through a background check and screening process. Training is provided.

If you enjoy working with older adults and would be interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Robert Rogers at rrogers@friendshipcenters.org or 941-556-3223.

SHINE seeks volunteers

The SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) Program is currently recruiting volunteers to help Medicare beneficiaries in Charlotte County. SHINE is a free, unbiased Medicare and health insurance information, counseling, and assistance program whose specially-trained volunteers assist seniors in making informed health care decisions.

Currently, the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida supports more than 50 dedicated SHINE volunteers who provide services to aged and disabled Medicare beneficiaries, their caregivers, and families. However, as the number of Medicare beneficiaries needing assistance increases, the need for volunteers increases, too.

A SHINE volunteer can serve in many different capacities. Volunteers provide Medicare and health insurance information, counseling and assistance in person or over the phone, delivers educational presentations or speeches, distributes educational and promotional materials in your community, provides training and leadership to other volunteers, or assists with general program support. Assignments are matched to the skills and interests of each volunteer.

The Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida supports its volunteers through a network of paid staff and volunteer coordinators. The Department of Elder Affairs provides training and technical assistance. Volunteers also receive local mentoring and support from the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida.

The rewards for volunteer service are plentiful. Since the Program’s inception in 1993, SHINE volunteers have helped Florida elders and their caregivers save millions of dollars, and they have brought peace of mind to those who needed guidance in understanding and accessing health insurance options.

To inquire about volunteer opportunities or to request SHINE services in your community, contact the local Elder Helpline toll-fee a 1-866-413-5337. For more information, you may also call 1-800-96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337), or visit us online at www.floridashine.org.

Blood pressure

Free blood pressure screenings are available from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron St., Port Charlotte.

Knock out Parkinson’s

This boxing program improves strength, fitness, hand-eye coordination, balance and agility aimed at helping Parkinson’s patients. Taught by a certified USA Boxing coach, the program is offered from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Mondays and Wednesdays and from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays at Charlotte Harbor Boxing Club (24710 Sandhill Blvd, Unit 803, near the Kings Highway exit of Interstate 75). Space is limited. Call 239-292-9230, www.parkinsonsneurochallenge.org/ or www.facebook.com/CharlotteHarborBoxingGymnasium/ for more information.

Boxing for Parkinson’s patients

Now in Port Charlotte, the newest affiliate of the national organization, Rock Steady Boxing, offers positive progress through physical activity to people with Parkinson’s. Male and female adults with similarly matching assessments fill the classes at 1770 El Jobean Road. Dawn Holt, accredited Rock Steady Boxing affiliate, conducts classes five days a week. Each class features generous individual attention supported by Holt’s RSB accreditation, her OAS degree and her eight-year profession as personal trainer.

For class information or assessment, call 941-661-6762 or visit rocksteadyboxing.org.

Mental health program

Venice United Church of Christ is sponsoring a series of informational programs, on the fourth Thursday of the month, on the subject of mental health issues. The public is invited and there is no charge. Plan to join us in Naar Hall on the church campus at 620 Shamrock Blvd., Venice. For additional information contact the church office at 941-493-6741.

Eye, ear care

The four Lions Clubs in the area offer eye exams, eye glasses and uninsured surgeries to prevent blindness in individuals with vision impairments. Those living in Punta Gorda can contact Bill Ringelstein at 941-637-9979; those in Port Charlotte can contact Terri Smith at 941-391-1203; in Englewood, contact Gary Nieskes at 941-786-7778; and in North Port contact Penny Gregrich at 941-740-2860.

The Punta Gorda Lions Foundation has received funding to provide hearing exams and hearing aids to those anywhere in Charlotte County who need assistance with hearing problems. To determine eligibility, please contact Bill Ringelstein, Punta Gorda Lions at 941-637-9979.

Respite care

Join “A Special Place” a Burnt Store Presbyterian Church program for seniors and those with memory loss. This group respite program offers high quality day care for Alzheimer’s and other dementia clients while providing necessary time off for their caregivers. The program is held from 9:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. every Thursday (except holidays) at Burnt Store Presbyterian Church, 11330 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda

Volunteers are always welcome. Please contact us if you would like to get more information on how to become a volunteer.

Donations of craft materials, games, videos and other program supplies are always appreciated. Donations can be made at the church office.

For more information contact the church office at 941-639-0001 during normal business hours, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or by e-mail to office@bspconline.org.

Online parenting class

Bayfront Baby Place at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte recently expanded its offering of educational resources for new parents. During their stay at Bayfront Baby Place, new moms (and dads) have been able to enjoy educational programming in their room on the television network, The Newborn Channel. Now, patients can also access this programming online and on mobile devices.

The Newborn Channel offers several informative programs on topics such as newborn, infant, and mom care, siblings and family life, and work-life balance.

For more information on how to access The Newborn Channel online programming, call 941-637-2497.

Pulmonary diet nutrition class

A free pulmonary diet nutrition class will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. the second Tuesday of every month at the Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, 733 E. Olympia Ave., Punta Gorda. Seating is limited so call 941-637-2497 to register.

Cardiac diet nutrition class

A free cardiac diet nutrition class will be held at 9 a.m. on the first and third Tuesday of every month at the Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, 733 E. Olympia Ave., Punta Gorda. Registration is required by calling 941-637-2497.

CHAT forums

The Englewood Community Health Action Team meets at 9 a.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Englewood United Methodist Church, 700 E. Dearborn St., Englewood. The meetings allow social services, nonprofits and churches to network.

VOLUNTEER Volunteer coaches and leaders needed for Health and Wellness classes

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL) is seeking volunteers to lead health and wellness workshops across the region. AAASWFL offers workshops to assist adults age 60 and over, adults with disabilities and their caregivers in seven counties: Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee and Sarasota.

Volunteers have the opportunity to lead fitness workshops focused on the unique needs of older adults. Specifically, these workshops are designed to teach older adults preventative measures to avoid falls, improve their balance, and manage chronic conditions. Classes include Tai Chi for Arthritis for Falls Prevention, A Matter of Balance, Walk With Ease, the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, and Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance. Training is provided for these programs, and AAASWFL provides mileage reimbursement for volunteers. Workshops are typically held on weekday mornings and afternoons, so volunteers with flexible schedules are appreciated. Volunteers should also be at least 18 years of age, have a valid drivers’ license, and must be able to pass a background screening. While not mandatory, experience with teaching, instruction, public speaking, health care, nutrition or community outreach is helpful.

Potential volunteers may contact Sherry Young, AAASWFL Health & Wellness Coordinator, at 239-652-6900 or sherry.young@aaaswfl.org for more information. Volunteer applications can also be found at the AAASWFL website: www.aaaswfl.org.

Volunteers needed at Bayfront Health

Bayfront Health Port Charlotte welcomes adult volunteers to greet visitors at the front information desk and drive the courtesy tram. Volunteers receive free flu shots, luncheons, and a complimentary meal for every four-hour shift. Volunteers can apply online at www.bayfrontcharlotte.com/about/volunteer-opportunities, fill out an application found at front desk, or call 941-637-2570 for more information.

Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies

Volunteers are an essential part of C.A.R.E., assisting victims of crimes, answering hotline calls, conducting hospital responses, and in fundraising endeavors. If interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact 941-639-5499 for more information.

Charlotte County Meals on Wheels needs volunteers

Volunteers are needed to help distribute meals to Charlotte County residents who are unable to prepare nutritious meals for themselves. The organization is in need of volunteer drivers to deliver these meals from Monday through Friday. A volunteer driver may volunteer once a week, once every other week, or once a month. The delivery routes are in the Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte areas. To volunteer to deliver meals, call 941-625-4343.

Homeless Coalition

Homeless Coalition: Drivers for Veterans Program. Scheduling will be in advance and as needed; volunteers needed to help with eBay store; kitchen help from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday; front desk help in the office of the shelter, 9 a.m. to noon; Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; front desk help in the main office, 9 a.m. to noon and noon to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; filing help from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; administrative assistant help in the shelter from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; homework tutors from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.; garage sale workers on the second and fourth Friday of every month; shelter case managers are needed. Twenty volunteers to help with a Homeless Simulation Training. Donation pick- up, one evening weekly in Port Charlotte. For more information, call or email Robin Clark, Volunteer Coordinator, at 941-627-4313, ext. 109, Robin.Clark@cchomelesscoalition.org.

Pregnancy Careline Center

Pregnancy Careline Center seeks both female and male volunteers to assist Charlotte County citizens who have an unexpected or otherwise stressed pregnancy. Volunteers are needed in a variety of areas. For more information, call 941-625-5576 or www.pregnancycareline.org.

Special Olympics seeks volunteers

Special Olympics Charlotte County is looking for volunteers and coaches for a wonderful group of athletes. The organization is looking for coaches for swimming, golf, power lifting, softball and bowling. This does not have to be full time; any time you can volunteer would be greatly appreciated. For more information, email info@specialolympicscharlotte.org, or call 941-391-6906.

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