Prime Time programs hit the road

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A new life-enhancement program for Allegheny County residents older than 60 will kick off at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at Bethel Park Public Library.

Called "Allegheny Roots, A Festival of Community Connections," the free two-hour program will feature poetry readings, dance movements, and healthy food preparation and tasting.

Bethel Park is one of four libraries staging the program. The others are Northland Public Library, June 3; William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills, June 8; and Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Homewood, June 10. Each session begins at 1:30 p.m.

Attendance is limited to 40 at each location. Those who want to participate must register in person at the library they wish to attend. Deadline for registration is the Friday preceding the event.

Allegheny Roots is sponsored by the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging and Community College of Allegheny County in partnership with the Allegheny County Library Association and the four host libraries.

The program is part of the new Prime Time Health To Go, which is the county's addition to the state Department of Aging's 15-year-old Prime Time Health program.

"The Prime Time Health wellness atmosphere is created through the senior community centers' physical environment, fitness equipment, program offerings, communication with participants and staff knowledge," said Shirley A. Hanley, a project manager for the aging agency.

"Prime Time Health and Prime Time Health To Go have the same goals of enhancing the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of wellness,'' Ms. Hanley said.

The difference is the venues.

Prime Time Health programs are held in senior centers; Prime Time Health To Go can be held anywhere.

"They can be portable, regional venues that help bring together seniors from multiple centers to meet one another and other adults who normally do not attend senior centers,'' Ms. Hanley said.

The Allegheny Roots program is the first Prime Time Health To Go program.

It will include Pittsburgh native Romella Kitchens reading her poems and those of other poets of Autumn House Press, a local publisher.

Next, Gurney Bolster, who teaches fitness and wellness classes for fit and frail older adults through Prime Time Health at CCAC, will demonstrate a version of the poems with dance.

Following a sampling of healthy food and cooking, Ms. Bolster will interpret, via dance, additional poems read by Ms. Kitchens.

Ms. Hanley said the limited venues and audiences allow the programs to be innovative.

"We are not trying to replicate something in senior centers," she said.

Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: .


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