Diane first heard about the CATCH Healthy Habits Program at the Lou Walker Senior Center in Atlanta, where she was already involved and having fun.
“I have always believed in the wholesomeness of intergenerational interaction. And I needed more to fulfill my life,” she said.
The opportunity to volunteer with CATCH Healthy Habits came along at just the right time in 2011, Diane said. “I had just lost my job. Once I heard what the program offered, I was on board!” Volunteering with CATCH, Diane said, was a great way to get involved and connected.
But her introduction to the program wasn’t all smooth. Diane came to the first training after having had knee surgery just six weeks before. “She slipped while playing ‘See Ya Later Alligator,’ ” said Atlanta CATCH Healthy Habits coordinator, Mary Newton, “but she popped right back up, laughed and kept on going – to me, it was an indication of the type of person she is.”
For Diane, the program is in line with her own beliefs about exercise and healthy eating. “After hearing the dismal statistics about child obesity, and having two grandchildren whom I raised with the concept and example of healthy eating and exercise, I knew this was the right platform for me to share my beliefs.”
As a CATCH volunteer, Diane says the kids always surprise her. “When we share the nutritional lessons, I think they are not listening, but surprisingly they get the CATCH concepts.” It’s been gratifying, she says, to see the kids’ faces turn from “yuck” to delight when they taste the snacks that are prepared. “They have developed an excitement about eating healthy and sharing ideas with their families.”
In addition to seeing her young charges excited about CATCH Healthy Habits -- “They love the physical activities!” she says -- working with them in the program has reinforced her own resolve to stay active and not be sedentary.
“Not only has Diane worked at four different clubs during her tenure with CATCH,” Mary said, “she has filled in when volunteers did not show up, and has participated in just about every special CATCH event. She is solid and reliable, a true ambassador for the program and we are grateful to have her serve with us.”
For anyone pondering their next phase in life, Diane says she would encourage them to get involved with CATCH Healthy Habits. “They and the program are really needed.”