Thumbs of the week
Updated Nov 19, 2015 at 11:36 PM
Thumbs up to the Lebanon Planning Commission, which is expected to consider a site plan Tuesday for a new home for Empower Me, which serves special needs children and adults in Wilson County. If it’s approved, the Empower Me Center will be built on about 16 acres next to University Medical Center. The new 37,000-square-feet facility would allow Empower Me to continue to provide recreational and therapeutic opportunities and feature outdoor amenities that would include a Miracle Field baseball complex and cottages where special needs adults who require minimal help could live when their parents are no longer able to provide care. According to executive director Michelle Hill, the new facility would also enable Empower Me to triple or quadruple the number of children it serves. “We have been very successful in our 17-year history,” Hill said.
Thumbs up to Market day, a new tradition this year at Lebanon’s Senior Citizens Center, which has grown significantly in its first six months. “It’s definitely growing,” said Patti Watts, the center’s director. “It was just a couple of tables in the dining room area, and now we’ve put it in the exercise area. We have four people on the waiting list.” The shopping area was crowded Wednesday with people both selling and looking to buy. There were 10 tables around the room, and each one had a small group of potential buyers surrounding it. The sellers all talked about how much they like market day, and how much they enjoy the opportunities the Senior Citizens Center gives them.
Thumbs up to the 2015 Festival of Lights, which opens Nov. 27 and will feature a new creation enclosed exclusively in Fiddlers Grove Historic Village with the theme, winter wonderland. It will include trees of Christmas, Christmas Disney and a special winter wonderland section all operated by the Fiddlers Grove Foundation, Wilson County Promotions and the James E. Ward Agricultural Center. Visitors will drive through the 52 buildings that make up Fiddlers Grove and experience a Christmas of yesteryear with more than 150,000 lights to tell the story, as well as a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Ag Pavilion.
Thumbs up to an exercise program started by Cumberland University students. Beginning in early September, Cumberland University’s Mobile Wellness program has traveled to the centers twice a week as a part of an 11-week exercise program. The program’s director is Jason Grindstaff, an assistant professor of health and human performance at Cumberland. Grindstaff said the exercises in the program emphasize cardiovascular fitness and flexibility. He also said the program is meant to help seniors focus on “other essential aspects of health” such as muscular strength, power and mental well being. He said improving these aspects can help older adults do everyday tasks they may struggle with, such as standing unassisted or lifting an object over their head.
Grindstaff said he was “amazed” with the progress the seniors have made. He also said he has seen changes in them already because of the hard work they are putting into the workouts. He said one participant has lost weight every week of the program, and another participant required a cane to stand up, but can now stand up without assistance.