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OAKFIELD – A Health Equity Award form Univera Healthcare will allow Warrior House of WNY to bring an Aging Strong Program to its community center at 33 South Main St.

Aging Strong, which promotes physical health among senior adults age 55 and older, will begin this month with the start of yoga classes at the venue. The Univera award will allow the classes to be offered for free.

“Aging Strong is a community-based fitness and nutrition program that informs and empowers older adults to make healthy choices about eating, and safely increase their level of physical activity,” says Warrior House co-founder and treasurer Susan Zeliff.

The goal of the Aging Strong program is to promote physical health among senior adults through a community-based fitness and nutrition program that informs and empowers participants. Additional goals include cultivating supportive networks among older community members, promoting health education and literacy through fitness and nutrition workshops, and create awareness of available assistance from local health service providers and the Warrior House food pantry.

Grant funds will be used for program evaluation, materials, food and an exercise instructor.

“We are hoping the program will help participants Age Strong,” Zeliff said.

Denise Glidden will be the yoga instructor at Warrior House. She will host a chair yoga at 10 a.m. Thursday mornings beginning March 16 and a Vinyasa-style yoga at 6 p.m. Wednesdays beginning March 22.

There is no limit on class size. Those interested in learning more about the program can visit www.warriorhouseofwny.com, visit The Goose Facebook page, or call (315) 730-0606.

“In our part of Genesee County, the need for this type of program is great, but existing resources were few. That is, until Univera stepped in with underwriting support.”

Buffalo-based Univera Healthcare, a nonprofit health plan that serves members across eight counties of Western New York, invited nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations serving Western New York to apply for Health Equity Awards of up to $30,000, to help fund health and wellness programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities. Health Equity categories included but were not limited to: reducing health disparities in racial, ethnic, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, people living in rural or urban communities, or other groups that may be at higher health risk for medical issues and conditions (chronic or acute), behavioral health or mental health conditions, and negative outcomes from the above, including death or suicide.

“Working together with organizations such as Warrior House, we are confronting the crisis in health disparities, and addressing long-standing gaps in care and services in underserved communities,” said Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter.

Six nonprofit organizations received Health Equity Awards. The recipients were chosen following a review process. Recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities in health care, and ensuring access to health care services, said Olivia Linke, community affairs director for Univera Healthcare.

Univera presented Warrior House with its grant award on Feb. 2. The amount of the award was not announced.

Warrior House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of veterans and families throughout Western New York through supported services that promote social and emotional development for overall health and wellbeing.

The organization is housed in a building known to the community as The Goose, from its days as a Yellow Goose Market. “Goose” has not only been embraced as a nod to the site’s former use, but also as an acronym for the Warrior House motto, God is On Our Side Every day.

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