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West Oak Lane Senior Health Expo offers participants activities …

WEST OAK LANE Line dancing, game show type giveaways, and wellness information galore were the hallmarks of the Community Enrichment Fitness Network’s annual Senior Health Expo. For four hours, hundreds of mature adults and even a few younger attendees gathered at the H7H Community Development Center, 2036 E. Haines St. in West Oak Lane on Friday, Sept. 22.

Sherry Hill, the coordinator of the program, could not have been more pleased with the enthusiastic turnout. She said that this year’s expo had an especially high energy factor.

“We just had a really good time,” Hill said. “This is really about giving the seniors the information and facts that they need to know to have a healthier life. But, we also just had fun with the line dancing, the raffles and the prizes. We want all to walk away feeling good while getting empowered to take charge of their health.”

“This was just wonderful,” said Catherine Williams of North Philadelphia. “This was my first time coming to this and I have so much to take with me. Though it was my first time here, many just welcomed me. The information and the energy was just fantastic. Everyone was really pleasant, no one was stuffy, and it was just great fun.”

Vanderlyn Neal, a Helping Hand nurse, said that she was manning one of the raffles for the day. Dipika Uppal, the director of nursing, added that older adults need to have information about getting health care at home if that is where they feel most comfortable. ”We provide services that makes our clients feel comfortable,” she said.

The physician and herbalist known as “Dr. Sunlight” said that most people “live to eat rather than eat to live.” He said that when one makes the shift to realizing that food is for nourishment first, they can still find a wide range of enjoyable choices “that bring life to the body.”

Among those who enjoyed dancing to classics like “Cool Jerk” and “Boogie on Reggae Woman” was Carrie Raysor of Mt. Airy. Raysor won the money tree giveaway. “I am so excited about this,” Raysor said.

Sponsors included AARP’s local chapter, the Library for the Blind, Aetna, Lincoln Financial, Bankers Life, Keystone VIP, City Life, Brown’s Shop-Rite, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, the American Heart Association, Germantown Life Enrichment Center, Health Partners and many more. The disk jockey was Gary Cowlay of DJ DMS Entertainment.

The event concluded with all in attendance being asked to fill out evaluations. They rated the facility, boxed lunch, disc jockey, performances, Zumba demonstration, and line dancing. Many gave high marks to these as well as the cooking demonstrations by Vicky Mines and Zeli Colon, according to Hill.

“We are a nonprofit that is dedicated to empowering individuals to make a permanent health lifestyle change,” Hill said. “We encourage them to do this by healthy eating and increased physical activity. Since our inception in May 2007, we have developed programs that connect the body, soul and spirit.

“I know that I had one of the best times at this expo. Obviously from the evaluations the people present also did. It is our hope and prayer that this event was exciting, informative, and entertaining for all in attendance,” Hill said.

The next CEFN fundraising event will be its “21st Annual Senior Holiday Gala.” This will be held at the Marriott Grand Ballroom, 1201 Market St. in Center City. It will be co-sponsored by the Philadelphia Parks Recreation departments as well as Helping Hand Home Health Hospice. The event includes a luncheon, dancing, live music, and more prizes. Tickets are $20. For ticket information contact or visit

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