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Peak Performance

Evansville’s Sam Rogers thrives at Senior Games
Sam Rogers will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in May to compete at the National Senior Games

No matter your age, it’s never too late to engage in an active, healthy lifestyle.

Sam Rogers, a 60-year-old Evansville resident and senior engagement advisor at Deaconess Health System, first heard of the Senior Games while on the board of directors at the Southwestern Indiana Regional Council on Aging (SWIRCA & More) about seven years ago. A lifelong dedicated athlete, Rogers decided he would give it a shot and compete in the Indiana State Senior Games.

“I’ve always played basketball all these years,” he says. “I never quit playing since high school; I played a lot of intramurals in college (at the University of Missouri) and just never quit playing.”

Each state has its own Senior Games, a 20-sport competition for people over age 50 that anyone can enter even if they don’t live in the state. After competing in Indiana’s Games for several years, Rogers entered Huntsman World Senior Games in St. George, Utah, the largest state games in the country, in early October to participate in basketball and power walking events.

At the Huntsman Games, Rogers won silver and bronze medals, respectively, in 55+ men’s 3-on-3 and 60+ men’s 5-on-5 basketball and took home bronze medals in the 3,000- and 5,000-meter men’s power walking events all in the 60+ age category. He was on track to win the 1,500-meter race but was disqualified.

“I had a gold medal, but I got disqualified because you can get up to three red cards,” he says. “They have judges all over the course and around the track, and they said I got three red cards. They told me 10 minutes after the race that I was disqualified because I was losing contact with the ground. So that means I had to alter my stride and my approach for the next two races.”

Due to his Top 3 placement in the events, Rogers will travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in May to compete in basketball and power walking at the biennial National Senior Games.

Photos provided by Sam Rogers.

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5 Positive Ways to Kick Off Your New Year

The new year is here, and with it comes innumerable attempts at self-improvement. Many resolutions center around getting fit, eating healthier, and trying new things, but what about activities that just plain make you feel good? Evansville Living has selected a few small options that are sure to give you a mood boost during the dreary winter days of 2022.

Reclaim A Favorite Activity

It’s a tale as old as time: As we grow up and acquire more responsibility, some of our favorite pastimes end up falling away. So, why not choose an old favorite to re-engage in 2022?

Former singers can shake the rust from their pipes and audition Jan. 7 — by appointment only — for a spot in the Evansville Philharmonic Chorus, which performs with the philharmonic orchestra and stages its own spring concert in April. Email dhenderson@evansvillephilharmonic.org or call 812-425-5050, extension 310 to make an appointment.

Forgotten how to ride a bike? (Hey, it can happen!) Download and register on Evansville Trails Coalition’s Upgrade Bike Share app at WalkBikeEVV.org/bike-share, choose a plan, find a bike, and hit the open trails. Bicycles are available for rent year-round.

De-Stress with Adoptable Pets

Have you felt decompression and contentedness while petting an animal? Then this activity is for you. Plenty of Tri-State dogs and cats awaiting adoption would love to spend time outside their shelters, and you can lend a hand. This activity’s benefits are many and multi-pronged. For humans, spending quality time with animals has been shown to reduce stress and lower blood pressure, while increasing physical activity and boosting mental well-being according to Johns Hopkins University. For animals in shelters, the interaction helps them socialize and prepare for their forever home.

Treat a pup to a day on the town through It Takes a Village’s Rent-A-Dog program (1417 N. Stockwell Road). If felines are more your speed, snuggle up at the Vanderburgh Humane Society’s cat room (400 Millner Industrial Drive) or its Downtown affiliate, River Kitty Cat Café (226 Main St.). Also consider volunteering your time at a local animal shelter.

Add Adventure to Your Exercise Routine

Getting a new exercise routine off the ground can be tough, especially if it feels arduous. Instead of just going through the motions, try injecting some fun into your fitness, such as balancing yoga while aboard a paddleboard or battling a friend in pickleball. Fitness centers around the Tri-State ramp up their indoor workout offerings in the winter, making it easier than ever to find an exercise routine you’ll actually want to stick with.

Experience the core strengthening of aerial yoga, mental sharpness of boxing fitness, or party-like atmosphere of aqua dance; these classes and more are available at the YMCA of Southern Indiana’s Ascension St. Vincent location at 516 Court St. in Downtown Evansville.

Join EVPL’s First Year-Long Reading Challenge

Reading contests are nothing new at Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, but EVPL’s inaugural reading challenge is. Starting in 2022, participants can log the titles they dive into throughout the entire year — whether in a traditional book format or as digital or audio versions — on a tracker and return each month’s tracking slip to any EVPL branch for a chance to be entered in a monthly drawing for prizes. All ages are welcome, and at the end of 2022, EVPL will announce how many books its participants logged this year.

Jump into a Club or Trivia Night

Tri-State residents have their pick when it comes to community activity nights. Whether its trivia and gaming competitions or chats over cocktails about murder mystery books, these events are perfect for meeting area residents with similar interests.

Test yourself in trivia on Mondays at Jennings Street Public House (330 W. Jennings St., Newburgh) and Tuesdays at Prime Time Pub & Grill (8177 Bell Oaks Drive, Newburgh). Enjoy a regular assortment of food truck pop-ups at Myriad Brewing Company (101 S.E. First St., Suite 1) and join Haynie’s Corner Brewing Co. for book discussions.

Feel like kicking things up a notch? Grab the mic at karaoke night on Tuesdays at Tiki on Main (524 Main St.) or Thursdays at Lamasco Bar & Grill (1331 W. Franklin St.)

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The Importance of Traditions

Grace Stevens

Traditions enrich the holiday season by allowing loved ones to recognize the culture and history that has shaped their identities. They add meaning to our experiences and enhance a sense of belonging with others. In an uncertain world, we find security in something remaining the same over time that can also be passed down through the generations. When we move from one phase of life to the next, the traditions we cherish and our values can remain a constant. The smells, tastes, and sounds we look forward to each year are predictable, familiar, and comforting.

Traditions do not have to be about what religion a person practices or the specific cultural beliefs they hold. Traditions are about creating and holding meaning with the people who are important to us. Family is not always nuclear, but it is where love and connection are cherished. Tradition recognizes what we hold sacred, whether it be a recipe, a song, a game, or an order of doing things. These rituals nurture our relationships and foster positive memories that we hold dear and keep with us over time.

The holidays — no matter how they are celebrated — allow the community to take a much-needed pause. People step away from work with the expectation that friends, families, neighbors, and community become the priority. During this time, we call more attention to the things that really matter to us. We feel grateful for the opportunity to spend time, to share in a meal, to support one another, and to give. We count our blessings, instead of focusing on what is lacking, missing, or not good enough. This recognition and appreciation elevate our state of mind, mood, and spirit.

Though holidays can bring stress and imperfection, take the time this season to recognize and appreciate how your traditions can connect you to what you love most.

To learn more about psychotherapy and Grace Stevens, check out Growing through Grace at growingthroughgrace.info.

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Staying Safe for the Holidays

Nearly two years into the pandemic, most people are eager to move on from the days of mask wearing and vaccine appointments, but COVID-19 still is a central topic, especially as we move into the holiday season.

On Sept. 13, the Vanderburgh County Board of Health released a statement about the state of COVID-19 in the county, and on Oct. 25, vaccine updates were posted to the Vanderburgh County Health Department’s Facebook page. Evansville Living recently spoke with Health Department Administrator Joe Gries about everything you need to know as activities move indoors and families gather for the holidays.

Gries joined the health department in 2016 and works closely with Health Officer Robert K. Spear, M.D, the Board of Health, and department staff to improve public health services across the county.

What is the state of COVID-19 in Vanderburgh County since the September updates?

In Vanderburgh County and the city of Evansville, the numbers (of positive cases) over the last several weeks have been improving and continue to improve. The numbers have dropped dramatically. And since the Board of Health sent the press release out (in September) — and talked about asking people to get vaccinated, to wear masks, things of that nature — we were pretty much at the peak of the Delta variant surge that has waned over the last several weeks, and the numbers look a lot better.

How should people balance celebrating the holidays and maintaining safe COVID-19 protocols?

Obviously, people are going to be around family and friends during the holidays. There's really no reason not to; that's something that everybody, I think, needs. It’s part of what we do here in our community, in this country, is we celebrate the holidays with family, with friends. But I would say the biggest thing is if you're feeling ill, try not to be around people. Whether it be a cold, or maybe you even have allergy symptoms, all these types of things — the flu, COVID —have similar types of symptoms.

Get tested to see if you do have COVID, but if you're sick, try to stay away from folks. And that's going to be the biggest key. Then whatever you have, whether it's cold or flu or COVID, you're not going to be spreading that. People can wear masks to protect themselves as well and protect people around them and, obviously, washing your hands frequently.

If you have the opportunity to meet outside, well-ventilated areas are better. We know that those types of things can reduce the risk when we do get together with family and friends. With the numbers continuing to improve here over the last several weeks — and we hope that continues into the holiday season — hopefully this isn't too much of an issue and won't be a situation where numbers would start to climb again.

If someone displays COVID-19 symptoms during or after the holidays, how can they get tested in Vanderburgh County?

The health department actually doesn't do testing as far as COVID is concerned. The hospitals are still testing, both Deaconess Health System and Ascension St. Vincent. You can get on their websites and set up an appointment. It's limited timing, so it is a better idea to set an appointment (than try to walk in).

You also can go to some local pharmacies to be tested. I believe, for the most part, they have the rapid test where it's more of a screening.

Obviously, people who are vaccinated have some protection, people who have had (COVID-19) in the past have some protection, but we do know that both groups can still contract the virus. So again, doing everything you can to protect yourself, getting vaccinated, and trying to stay home when you're not feeling well or when you have symptoms, is going to be a key as we get into the winter months.

A majority of recent national COVID-19 conversation has been focused on booster shots of the vaccine. While the CDC only recently declared the Pfizer vaccine safe for children ages 5-11, many adults in Vanderburgh County are already eligible for boosters. What is the status of boosters in Evansville?

We do have the booster shot: We have the Moderna version and the Pfizer version. We do not have Johnson & Johnson; Johnson & Johnson is limited in where you can receive that right now. But we do have the other two vaccines on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have clinics here at the health department. We are starting to book those in advance.

We do recommend that people make an appointment. They can call our office, or they can go onto our website and contact us to make an appointment. That’s going to be the easiest way, because you're going to be able to know what time your appointment is, and when you show up, we're going to be able to get you in and out pretty quickly.

Pfizer and Moderna (boosters are intended for) if you're 65 years old and older, or if you're 18 years to 65 years old and you have higher risks. So, it's (determined by) where you work, where you live. If you have health issues that put you at higher risk for contracting and having more severe outcomes from COVID, those are the people who are eligible for the boosters.

There has been guidance that we've received that if you've received the Johnson & Johnson (vaccine), you can receive the Pfizer or Moderna booster as long as you’re two months past receiving the Johnson & Johnson shot.

If you are immuno-compromised, you can receive a third shot, which is different from the booster. If you are immuno-compromised, you can receive a third shot of Pfizer and be able to increase your immune response to COVID.

What is the difference between a booster shot and a third dose of vaccine?

I think it actually comes down to just how they define it. The people who are immuno-compromised may have issues with their immune system anyway, so that (third shot) definition is basically we're trying to increase their immune response to COVID, whereas a booster shot is the person has some immunity, but maybe it has waned, or it has lessened over time.

You have to be six months after the initial two-dose series of your Pfizer or Moderna shots to receive that booster. Again, both are trying to increase the immune response in everybody.

vanderburghhealth.org

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Pedal to the Metal

Cycling Solutions keeps the chains moving
Ben Moll, owner of Cycling Solutions, performs maintenance on a customer’s bike toward the back of his shop in Newburgh, Indiana

Ben Moll never had any intention of opening a bicycle shop when he started Cycling Solutions in 2017, but it was clear to him that entrepreneurship was his destiny.

Moll’s grandfather opened a business selling packaged ice shortly after World War II. Growing up, Moll would often go to work with his father, sweeping floors and doing deliveries.

“It was just kind of in my blood to start businesses. I saw how my dad ran it and put his heart and soul (in it) and took care of his employees over the years,” he says. “I had some pretty good teachers and some pretty good examples.”

After leaving the now-closed Dan’s Comp Shop in Evansville in 2017, Moll, a Newburgh, Indiana, native, looked to put his own stamp on the local biking market. He began servicing bikes out of his garage later that year and even bought a van to go house to house for mobile repair services. In 2018, he and his wife Rachael opened a storefront in the Fruitwood Lane shopping center in Newburgh. A short while later, they moved into a larger space next door, where they remain today.

But why bikes?

“When I was about 23, I had my first child, and I needed a positive and healthy way to alleviate stress and get a little more energy, and (cycling) was something that I’d always done growing up,” says Moll.

Cycling Solutions is a dealer of seven bike brands, including industry leaders Giant and Kona, as well as accessories such as helmets, gloves, tools, and hydration equipment. It also functions as a full-service bike repair shop, servicing all brands and any type of bike as long as it doesn’t have a gas tank. Moll says the shop has customers come from more than two hours away to get their bikes repaired.

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020 and people were finding new methods of exercise and entertainment, bikes were suddenly flying off the shelves at Cycling Solutions. Moll says they had about a 400 percent increase in interest from consumers, and within three weeks, they sold every bike in the store.

“It injected so much into our business, it was crazy,” he says. “And then all of a sudden, as soon as COVID hit and the lockdowns began, basically every bike under a thousand dollars was gone.”

Now having to purchase bikes from vendors a year in advance, Moll says Cycling Solutions has become the largest bike shop in Southern Indiana and is well known in the Midwest region. Open year round, the shop services thousands of bikes each year, and Moll insists they make it easy for all customers, whether it’s their first time riding a bike or they’re an avid cyclist.

“No matter if you’re five or 50, we’re going to treat you the same,” he says.

If you’re interested in finding riding partners for your new bike, the shop has a solution for that, too. Every Tuesday, Cycling Solutions hosts a bike ride at Scales Lake Park in Boonville, Indiana, on its mountain bike trails that include beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses. On Thursdays, Cycling Solutions also spearheads a 20-mile trek throughout Newburgh, starting at the shop.

cyclingsolutionsmbs.com

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Cycling Serenity

Bicycle group enjoys peace and safety of country lanes

When Lewis Browning retired as a special education administrator at Evansville Vanderburgh Public Schools and the University of Southern Indiana, he rode off into the sunset — perched atop a bicycle and surrounded by a group of fellow bicycling enthusiasts.

An earlier group of cycling buddies disbanded around 2000. Eight years later, a conversation with a passerby sparked Browning’s interest in reviving the group. But threading his way through city streets didn’t appeal to him; he wanted an enduring and challenging route, but away from vehicles. So Browning ventured out of town, and more than 20 years later, the new bicycle club has up to a dozen members and a detailed book of its routes, “Biking the Backroads,” published by Browning this spring.

“People would say to me, ‘You should map these routes,’” Browning says. “For the cyclists riding in town, I know that if they knew they could get out to Poseyville or Elberfeld or Rockport, they’d never encounter any busy traffic. It’s just that they don’t know where to go.”

50 county routes — 32 in southern Indiana, 18 in western Kentucky — are plotted out. Each course’s ease, terrain, vehicle traffic volume, and resting points are meticulously logged. Browning personally tests each route, assessing its difficulty and safety two or three times before deciding whether to add it to the group’s list. Cyclists often gather monthly, driving to a meeting spot outside of Evansville and then beginning their ride, with a meal break slotted into each itinerary.

Browning says the camaraderie is in large part what makes each trip enjoyable, but cutting through rolling hills and forests is also tough to beat.

“One of the most fun things I do in my life is ride my bicycle. You get to see scenery, old buildings,” he says.

Browning’s book of bicycle routes can be purchased at Scheller’s Fitness & Cycling in Evansville, Cycling Solutions Bicycle Shop in Newburgh, Indiana, and the Henderson Tourist Commission in Henderson, Kentucky.

Staying a Step Ahead

Meditation gives the mind a break

By Grace Stevens

The deprivation of social outlets throughout the pandemic has shed light on the importance of human connection and its relationship to the way that people think, feel, and behave.

Connecting to others is the root of our species’ survival. It has allowed us to reproduce, share our gifts and talents within our community, and provide necessary support for others during their life span.

Not only do we collectively benefit from our connection to others, we are able to improve our own physical, emotional, and mental well-being through it. Research shows social connection boosts self-esteem, helps regulate emotions, and expands empathy and understanding, while isolation and loneliness negatively impact physical health more than smoking, high blood pressure, or obesity. A lack of social connection also increases the likelihood of experiencing anxiety and depression.

Social connection is the feeling of closeness and belonging to others. It is not achieved through a specific number of friends or likes on social platforms, but is instead found through the meaningfulness and consistency of social interaction. We experience connection when we feel heard, supported, and understood. A moment, a meal, and laughter all feel deeper and more important when shared with another person.

In psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, he explains that basic needs are primary, followed by the need of safety and security. The next level, and the root of human psychological needs, is relationships and a sense of belonging. When these needs are not met, we are unable to function at our highest potential. The perception that wealth, success, or power will give us a sense of fulfillment is actually masking a true eagerness for belonging and acceptance. Therefore, recognizing the importance of relationships and integrating more social connection into your life will support you in feeling your best and achieving your goals.

To learn more about psychotherapy and Grace Stevens, check out Growing through Grace at growingthrough
grace.info.

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Engaged Enlightenment

Group enjoys connection, health benefits from daily meditation at Vann Park
Friends and neighbors gather each morning to meditate at Vann Park, an idea originated by Lorenzo Minor.

Each morning, Vann Park on Evansville’s East Side welcomes a flurry of activity. Walkers trot their dogs across the lawn. Runners stretch their legs by tracing the park’s perimeter. Families converge on the playground, children ambling across the jungle gyms and slides. Pairs sit at picnic tables for a friendly game of chess.

Amidst the bustle, just before 9 a.m. — weather permitting — a small clutch of people congregates on a patch of grass on the far west end of the park. Setting up camp under a broad canopy of trees, they settle into lawn chairs and greet each morning by freeing their minds. Through 20-minute sessions, the group practices meditation, quietly communing with themselves and stilling their thoughts and breathing. They’ve found that the sessions start their day on a positive note.

Meditation itself is not a new practice. Its history traces back to sixth-century BCE Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist traditions. Its earliest purpose is less clear: Historical studies show it could have been a tool for contemplation or socialization. Meditation took root in early Eastern religions as a way to commune with God and oneself, and the practice has since moved to the western world. In the past 20 years, it has gained a more mainstream following for its research-supported healthbenefits, but for the group of friends gathered each morning at Vann Park, the daily sessions have provided a much-need grounding after a tumultuous year.

A ray of light in a pandemic

Meditation was a path Lorenzo Minor had already embarked on before the group formed. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Minor, a longtime local baker and namesake of the former Lorenzo’s Bistro on south Hebron Avenue, began practicing meditation each morning at the park. After a few sessions of solo meditation, he invited friends and neighbors to join in — something they were eager to do since it naturally allowed for social distancing.

The group enjoys a smattering of conversation before and after the sessions. Minor chooses a meditation topic via the app Headspace; although the sessions are mostly silent, they are themed around certain affirmations or goals. A woman’s soothing British accent — the app offers a small collection of voices to choose from — softly narrates the sessions, leading participants through breathing exercises and silent recitations for about 20 minutes.

The group usually consists of about a half-dozen friends and neighbors. Most are retired from a wide variety of professions — accounting, psychiatry, social work — and have time to devote to morning meditation sessions. Participant Patricia Harralson says many in the group already were meeting for dinner parties two or three times a week, so daily meditation became a way to stay connected to one another during state-mandated stay-at-home measures.

“There’s a basic group,” Minor says. “The little group we have is extremely comfortable together, and very loyal.”

Improved health

Research conducted by the University of California Los Angeles’ Mindful Awareness Research Center has found that meditation can stimulate a person’s socialization, reduce loneliness, and significantly improve sleep quality.

In the year since beginning daily meditation, Minor says his sleep habits have improved and his blood pressure has lowered. He’s also observed an overall sense of calm permeate his demeanor.

“Not much bothers me anymore,” he says.

Minor says the meditation sessions have produced such a stillness in him that it now translates into other parts of his life. He notes that meditation isn’t confined to dedicated sessions, but rather produces the opportunity to connect with oneself anywhere and at any time.

“You can meditate even while washing dishes,” he says.

▲ As the group practices meditation, its members have become more in tune with the surrounding nature, particularly a family of hawks that calls Vann Park home.
A connection to nature 

The meditations sessions also help the group members commune more deeply with their natural surroundings. They observe squirrels playfully chattering, listen to the wind softly rustling the grass, and can easily identify bird songs.

“The park adds a lot of meditation,” Minor says.

“Mornings are the best time,” adds David Wilson, a neighbor who is sometimes joined at meditation by his visiting grandchildren. “With your eyes closed, you can actually hear the birds,” Harralson says. “I really like listening to the sound of rain.”

Of particular interest is a family of hawks residing in the neighborhood. After spotting the hawks mid-flight, the group now keeps an eye on the avian family — an opportunity they perhaps would not have had if not for their daily meditation sessions.

Amongst the people frequenting Vann Park, the meditation group has become a reliable fixture each morning. Regular passersby know what time the sessions start and, therefore, when the best time is for chatting with participants. Neighbors enjoying a cup of coffee on their front stoop wave hello. Over time, the City of Evansville’s groundskeeping crew learned the group’s routine and has now started its morning mowing at the other end of the park.

Sometimes, nearby children will quietly wander into the group’s circle, curious about its activity. A set of grandparents once brought their 2-year-old grandchildren over, an experience Minor calls “really magical. They wanted to see everything.”

Daily meditation at Vann Park is open to anyone who wishes to join, Minor says — no reservation or fee required. Group members are skilled at guiding newcomers into the practice of meditation, since they too were once beginners.

“It’s so good for people with anxiety,” Harralson says. “You don’t have to just sit silently. You could commune with God if you want to. Every experience is different.”

Staying a Step Ahead

Meditation gives the mind a break

By Grace Stevens

Now, more than ever, mental health is at the forefront of conversation and concern.

No stage of life is exempt from the importance of mental hygiene. Living in the digital era of today, constant messaging regularly triggers the fear response system in the brain. After a few minutes of scrolling through a device, a person is bound to feel triggered by inadequacy, anxiety, or stress. Once overloaded with content, the typical person is left without many strategies to effectively cope. What we are now seeing is a society plagued with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Meditation is a scientifically proven and practical solution for a person of any age to cope with the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings of daily life. It has long been used to improve our mental, physical, and emotional processes. There’s also evidence from the clinical practice of meditation that it can reduce anxiety and pain and improve the quality of life for people suffering from illnesses such as cancer.

The goal of the practice is to turn off the racing mind, bring awareness to the breath, and access one’s inner state of calmness within being in the moment. Through meditation, a person is able to ground the nervous system from becoming over activated. Similar to the oldest trick of fixing a device, in which you turn it off and reboot, meditation is like a reboot for the brain. When you are anxious, stressed, or worried, meditation allows the brain to take a necessary and helpful pause.

Meditation is referred to as a practice because it is not something that can be achieved or mastered, but is simply a process that needs consistency and nurturing. The challenge is that it is way too simple. Stop thinking and breathe. Notice the thoughts that arise, and instead of judging them, resisting them, or dwelling on them, simply let them go. Make your mental health a priority, and give it a try.

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New Name, Same Mission

Cancer Pathways Midwest Provides hope to Tri-State residents
Opened originally as Gilda’s Club in 2014, the organization changed its name to Cancer Pathways Midwest in April.

Cancer is a far-reaching illness, affecting nearly every person in the Tri-State in some way. Cancer Pathways Midwest, recently recognized with the Health and Social Services award at Leadership Everyone’s Celebration of Leadership, delivers individualized support and resources to anyone impacted by the deadly disease.

“We were thrilled to be recognized for the work that we’ve done and feel like it kind of validated the work that we’ve been doing,” says Melanie Atwood, Cancer Pathways’ executive director. “Our main goal is that someone will recognize us and what we do and tell someone else so that they don’t have to go through this journey alone. Everything we do is driven around that.”

Opened originally as Gilda’s Club in 2014, the organization changed its name to Cancer Pathways Midwest in April, in an effort to maintain more control over its own programming and avoid paying rising fees.

A Gilda’s Club in Seattle also moved away from the network about four years ago and became the original Cancer Pathways. The local group gained the rights to use the name and became Cancer Pathways Midwest but is completely independent and in charge of its own programming.

Since changing the name, Atwood says the group has seen a 950 percent increase in walk-in visits and referrals.

This community funded organization offers free programs that take place in a clubhouse setting away from medical facilities and are overseen by licensed mental health professionals.

Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, Atwood says the organization will be onsite more at hospitals and schools, teaching prevention techniques against high-risk behaviors like vaping.

Cancer Pathways provides educational and nutritional workshops, along with a wellness program offering yoga and Tai Chi classes. It is also expanding programming specific for youth and families in collaboration with organizations like cMoe, Wesselman Woods, and the YMCA.

The nonprofit has about 4,500 visits to its programming and activities, serving 400-500 people each year in the Tri-State.

“Our goal is to reach them in a number of ways and to help them right in the middle of their most devastating time,” says Atwood. “If you’re newly diagnosed, then you need something different than if you’re done with treatment or if you’ve just lost a loved one. We have a program for all of them.”

Award-Winning Support
cancerpathwaysmidwest.org

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Z is for Zen

Looking to relax this summer? The River City has you covered. From recreation to meditation, the best place to chill out is outdoors. Here are some ideas.

Nature Trails

Enjoy a quiet stroll through Howell Wetlands, 1400 S. Tekoppel Ave., only one of five urban wetland parks in Indiana. Walking trails and boardwalks wind through its 35 acres of natural beauty, including marshland, lowland hardwood forest and upland meadow.

Amble through Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve, 551 N. Boeke Road, which at 200 acres boasts one of the largest tracts of old-growth forest in an urban setting in the country. View animals’ natural habitats and take in the many varieties of native flora.

Outdoor Yoga and Pilates

Aiming to rejuvenate your body and soul in the great outdoors? Look no further than these summer yoga seriestaking place outside. For updates on weather-related cancelations or relocations, be sure to check each event’s social media before attending.

Practice your downward dog on the picturesque roof of the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana at 212 Main St. Sessions are led by instructor Ashley Kiefer and held at 5:30 p.m. each Thursday this summer. A suggested $10 donation goes toward funding the arts council’s programming.

The Franklin Street Bazaar holds a yoga session featuring a rotation of instructors on Saturdays at 9 a.m. in the courtyard of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s West Branch. The Post House at 215 Vine St. in Downtown Evansville also frequently invites residents and the public to practice yoga at 9 a.m. Saturdays in its courtyard.

Join Club Pilates one Saturday a month at the Allen Family Amphitheater in Newburgh for a free morning Pilates class with a river view. Participants should reserve their spot via the Club Pilates app or by calling (812) 618-2499.

Attendees to each event should bring their own mat and towel.

Meditation at Vann Park

Clear your mind and get in touch with nature each morning at Vann Park, at the corner of Vann Avenue and Bayard Park Drive. Precisely at 9 a.m., a group of friends and neighbors meets for a 20-minute meditation session. No reservation is necessary — just show up and bring your own chair. Check out our story on this group of friends in the July/August issue of Evansville Living, on newsstands soon!

Yoga on the Roof photo provided.
 

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Planking with a Purpose

Weekday plank breaks keep April Nading refreshed and rejuvenated
April Nading, an instructor at Yoga 101, streams her “plank breaks” each day Monday through Friday as a way to motivate others.

It’s 11 a.m. in the Tri-State. Most people are finishing up tasks before heading to lunch, but if you head to Yoga 101’s Facebook page, you can join in on an exercise that takes no movement and only five minutes.

April Nading, an instructor at Yoga 101, streams her “plank breaks” each day Monday through Friday as a way to motivate others and encourage them to get simple, daily exercise. She started in April 2020, when many were staying home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody was stuck at home, and the studio was closed, and I was just kind of in a funk one day, and I remembered I had admin privileges to our Facebook page, and so I thought, ‘I think I’m going to do a plank and stream it on our page,’” she says.

Nading held it for one minute her first time, but kept at it. She added on time for each plank, working her way up to five minutes. She had her hip replaced last May and had to start all over with planking, but eventually worked her way back up to five minutes.

“It just became a fun thing, and now I don’t want to quit doing it,” she says. “I don’t know why I would stop now.”

Nading insists you don’t have to be in tip-top shape, or even have workout attire, to plank. She herself has planked in a variety of places, including in her dining room, on a beach, in offices, and even on a rooftop.

“My real goal here to try to motivate people to do a little more and try,” she says. “A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I just can’t do it.’ I’ve had people tell me they thought they could only hold it 10 seconds and they held it 30.”

Taking a Break
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