Danville Express

Newsfront - December 14, 2007

Chinese stretch out to everyone at senior centers

Check out the stretching, dancing and more

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli

Chinese cultural activities have branched out to be available at the area's senior centers instead of just being offered at Alamo Women's Club.

"It's our mission to serve all ethnicities," said Chia-chia Chien, founder of the Culture to Culture Foundation. "We want to share our culture, to have a cultural exchange."

The group rented the Alamo Women's Club for four years, but Chien said the rent was recently increased from $900 to $1,450 for their programs two days a week. Now classes will be offered at the Danville Senior Center in the downtown Veterans Memorial Building on Wednesdays and Hap Magee Ranch Park on Mondays. On Fridays, they are offered in San Ramon and Lafayette.

"To date, more than 600 seniors have participated in our programs and our numbers are growing," said Chien. "Leaving Alamo Women's Club may be a very good turning point for us as it will give us the opportunity to expand our services though collaboration with other local senior centers by offering cultural classes at their sites."

Chien talked about her programs at Mayor Candace Andersen's first monthly Morning with the Mayor last Friday, and urged everyone to check out the offerings.

"We're helping seniors feel less isolated," said Chien, who has a background in mental health. She said seniors who attend the classes have told her they are happier.

The Wednesday schedule in Danville is as follows:

* 9:30 a.m. Yuan Ji Dance, which teaches body movement, balance control, muscle coordination and stretches.

* 10:40 a.m. Luk Tung Kuen Exercise, which goes through 36 postures, each with its own pattern.

* 11:40 a.m. Dancercise

* 12:45 a.m. Social Dancing

In January, the program at Hap Magee will go from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with Yuan Ji, Culture to Culture Dance, Luk Tung Keun, Mah-Jong, Chinese and English Conversational Class and Social Dance.

"We hope people of all races and ethnicities will benefit from our cultural classes and programs," said Chien.

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