After a year of planning, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Mission Bay’s Bakar Fitness and Recreation Center hosted a pilot community access program that offers free exercise classes and nutritious food for children and seniors who live in underserved communities near the UCSF Mission Bay campus.
The University-Community Partnerships Program formed partnerships with six senior organizations and five youth organizations. For seniors, specially tailored classes in water aerobics, yoga, tai chi and line dancing are offered on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, along with a nutritious lunch. The program also offers seniors, many of whom speak English as a second language, opportunities to make friends, feel good about themselves and have new experiences. For children, this project enhances current after-school programs by offering options such as hip-hop and martial arts classes, as well as healthy snacks, on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Sixty-five seniors and 62 elementary and middle school-aged children signed up for the 14-week pilot program.
Suya Colorado-Caldwell, communications manager for UCSF Fitness and Recreation Programs, has been working to incorporate a community outreach program at Mission Bay since the Bakar Fitness and Recreation Center opened in October 2005.
“It’s not just a fitness club; it’s a community center, so this program fits in with our mission to reach out to the community,” says Colorado-Caldwell. “We are so excited for this program. The reactions of the participants so far have been just delightful.”