Students take instructions during a Zumba masters class at Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association in 2018. The PGICA Educational and Wellness Program − offering dance, fitness and other classes − is now online and open to the public.

PUNTA GORDA — To combat isolation during the pandemic, the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association has gone virtual with its Educational and Wellness Program.

The program offers classes on exercise, dance, painting, history, finance and fishing, among others.

“It’s very concerning that individuals are so isolated at this time,” said PGICA Executive Director Debbie Krider, who has a doctorate in education. “We want individuals in our community to stay healthy and emotionally strong during this challenging time.”

PGICA is a membership organization for the residents of Punta Gorda Isles.

The Educational and Wellness Program, however, is open to the public and offers in-person and online classes through Zoom for those not wanting to leave their homes.

To sign up for a class, go to pgica.org.

“People can be anywhere and participate if they have a computer, laptop or cell phone,” Krider said. “Being engaged with activities and interacting with others is the best strategy to keep us feeling positive and to take our power back from the pandemic.”

Krider went on to say that in-person contact would serve a person better but online contact is better than not having any interaction or activity.

“There will be opportunity for two-way communication with the online system,” Krider said. “In addition, we will encourage our participants to invite their family and friends to join them in these classes, to build on the effort to reduce isolation.

“What a great experience it would be, to be in a class with great music, getting fit and your sister is joining you in this class from Atlanta.”

PGICA representatives are welcoming ideas for new classes they can offer.

“(We) strive to offer experiences that are important social determinants of great health and wellness to all of Charlotte County residents,” Krider said. “Participants create new relationships that are vital to individual well-being and this program provides knowledge that supports optimal health and longevity.”


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