By PHYLLIS HODGES
Not all the folks streaming in the JSA Medical Group clinic (behind Taco Bell in The Marketplace shopping plaza) are going in for medical attention. Many are there to have some group fun while enhancing their physical, mental and social well-being.
JSA, a Division of DaVita Inc., moved to its current location four years ago from a smaller location in the same plaza. When configuring the space, the company included a multipurpose room to accommodate a prototype activity program that would be offered free to participants.
Facility Administrator Jahayra Flores admits she was initially a bit skeptical, but as the program grew, her doubts dissipated. Flores is quick to give kudos to Activities Coordinator Rosie Korfant for developing the concept into a valuable community service.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Flores said. “In my 15 or so years with JSA, I have never seen any facility wanting to get the community involved this way. Rosie’s energy and enthusiasm are infectious.”
Korfant is indeed a force to be reckoned with, and the success of the program is undeniable. About 550 residents of Sun City Center, Ruskin, Riverview, Apollo Beach, Wimauma and other communities are involved in line dancing, square dancing, salsa dancing, non-impact aerobics, Tai Chi, senior coloring, dominoes, keyboard lessons and movies. Another 175 are drawn to the facility through the Silver Sneakers fitness program.
Korfant is selective about activities to add to the schedule and is now considering table tennis, which experts say is an excellent physical and mental workout. She is pleased that so many area residents have enhanced their lifestyle by participating, and beams when recalling specific individuals who have made real progress. A gentleman with COPD, for example, no longer needs to bring his breathing machine to Silver Sneakers sessions; a lady “graduated” from a walker to a cane; and another lady who came in lonely is now happier because of the friends she made in JSA classes.
And there’s more. Special events are held throughout the year such as a Barbeque Bash, Hurricane Expo, Halloween Party, Fall Open House and Christmas Tea and Fashion Show.
At last week’s Christmas Tea and Fashion Show, Ellen Kleinschmidt entertained with a reading and holiday songs. Attendees enjoyed tea and crumpets provided by Shawn Geitner, owner of Beleave Teas, and fashions by SCC’s Nearly New Shop, Ruskin’s Rose Boutique and Angel Attic.
In February, JSA will partner with The Observer News/M&M Printing Company for the fourth annual “Have a Heart Caring Castle” community food drive to benefit local food banks.
The company also supports local charities. A recent $1,000 donation to the Parrish YMCA for its Special Organized Adult Recreation (SOAR) program was announced in December.
Because of JSA’s activity program’s success here, the company has now started similar programs at its clinics in Orlando, Bradenton and Sarasota.
For more information, call Korfant at 813-419-5020, or e-mail R.Korfant@jsahealthcare.com.