A Shamrock Blessing

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner. So, Young at Heart is celebrating all week long! Today we had an awesome Cooking Class!! While participants sipped on Bailey’s Irish Cream samples, the Ginger Chef served up “Sheet Pan Meals” of Meatloaf and Roasted Potatoes, Chicken and Roasted Vegetables, and two Pan Pizzas. We topped it all off with Baileys St. Patrick’s Day Pizza Dessert. I will let the attached pictures, (compliments of Mary Ellen Novakoski), speak for themselves.  

Wednesday, Nancy Patten will be playing an Irish Harp while we enjoy the BirthDay Brunch. This will be a teaser, as Nancy will be back on April 17th at 1:00 to share with YAH, the history of the Irish Harp, playing music from a variety of eras. 

This Wednesday, March 15th at 1:30 is also the first class of the Technology Literacy Workshop. Come, test your knowledge of what you already know, and learn something new. Please RSVP.

Yoga is off to a great start! Come join the new class, (Wednesdays at 12:45), stretch, relax, build core strength and flexibility. Your body may scream at first, but it will say “thank you” next time your step is a little off balance. 

Chair Tai Chi has also been going strong! While you may be seated, you will still experience a wonderful workout and gain a centering practice. Chair Tai Chi meets each Monday and Wednesday at 10:45-11:45. 

NEXT WEEK: Investigating Fires: Monday, March 20th at 12:30, Plainfield District Fire Chief, Kyle Svoboda will be sharing his stories and expertise about fire investigations and fire safety. Chief Svoboda is the local CSI of arson, our own “Chicago Fire,” live and in-person! Fascinating stuff!!!

LOOKING AHEAD: Calvin Nursing Students will be engaging with YAH as they do an Art Therapy Project together on Wednesday, March 29th at 10:00-11:30. It is always fun when we combine the energy of the youth and the sages of today. The Calvin Nursing Students have repeatedly stated YAH is one of their favorite educational sites. Join in the fun. The more the merrier!

There is never a dull moment at YAH. We look forward to each day, learning something new and sharing in the fun with friends of old and new!

“May God grant you always…..  A Sunbeam to warm you,  a Moonbeam to charm you, a Sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.  Laughter to cheer you, Faithful Friends near you. And whenever you pray, Heaven to hear you.”  An Irish Blessing. 


Virginia Scholten


Let the Flowers Bloom

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

The beautiful sun has brought a renewed belief that Spring is right around the corner. As the crocus peek through, I already have “Snowdrops” and “Lenten Rose” Helleborus blooming in my yard!!! 

Sometimes, when YAH starts a new class, program or series, I think of it as a flower, poking through the dirt, hopeful, but unsure of what elements lay ahead during its short existence. Will it be appreciated in its natural state; or passed on as a cut flower to be gifted for another to enjoy? Will it enjoy a singular existence or become a part of a bouquet or field of beauty? Right now, with Yoga starting, The Computer Literacy Workshop starting, Line Dancing starting next month, as well as our regular programming, it feels like a beautiful bouquet. I hope you will be able to join at least a part of this beautiful arrangement and become a part of the garden. I hope you can grow and flourish in whatever the classes/ YAH Program has to offer you.

This week Wednesday at 12:45 starts Yoga and next week Wednesday at 1:30 starts the Technology Literacy Workshops... Please RSVP for the Workshops as soon as possible so we can plan for proper spacing.

Next week, Monday, March 13th is our monthly Cooking Class. The Ginger Chef’s menu will focus on Sheet Pan Dinners for Two. RSVP by this week Friday, March 10th. Cost is $5.00.

Next week, Wednesday, March 15th is also our monthly Birthday Brunch. If you see any of the following people, be sure to wish them a HaPpY BiRtHDaY!!!  Mike Chatel, Alicia Damulakias, Barb Fischer, John Foley, Johnnie Johnson, Lisa Kraemer, Beth Krueger, Connie Kukla, Melissa Kuks, Darla Palazzolo, Br. Leo Patin, Pat Pietrowicz, Marcia Powell, Mary Regan-McNeil, David Snoap, Alejandra Sochanek, Nancy Trewhella, Karmen VanVels, Patrick Watkins, Amy West. This month we will be providing Irish Harp music during Brunch and we will be welcoming back Mime Artist Dawn Day, to depict the life of Christ through song, liturgical dance, and mime. Please join us for this special occasion. Cost for Brunch is $5.00. Cost for the Mime Artist is an additional $5.00. 

Spring Blessings,

Virginia Scholten


February Traditions

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

As I write this email, the Eagles and Chiefs are engaged in a 57-year American Tradition. It is fun to reflect on “what is “Tradition” when year after year there is always something new added/changed to the Tradition?? The Super Bowl is filled with traditions, within the Tradition. That alone, is an American Tradition. LOL…  Another wonderful American Tradition is Valentine’s Day. Best Wishes for all to have a day of love and joy! ❤

❤  Attached is a flyer announcing the beginning of YOGA

. We are excited to have Pat Pritchard leading this class. Please note, this class will be starting Wednesday, March 8th at 12:45-1:45, NOT March 1st, as I cited earlier. The benefits of yoga are many.  Yoga is known to strengthen the muscles in your core, back arms and legs; increase flexibility, reduce fatigue as it increases energy and cortisol levels; promote relaxation and healthy breathing; improve circulation; reduce chances of falling and other injuries; and helps to manage stress, and stress-related side effects, including improved concentration.  Yoga is gentle for those experiencing arthritis and may reduce joint inflammation. Join your friends for this wonderful opportunity!

❤  Attached is also a flyer for an upcoming Fun Day with St. Alphonsus Friends and Family and the Grand Rapids Gold Basketball Team

. The game is Sunday, February 26th at 3:00. Cost is $10.00. All ages are welcome. See the flyer for more details. 

❤  Lastly, the Kent County Senior Mileage has provided funding to Senior Neighbors to offer Technology Literacy Workshops. Young at Heart is fortunate to be one of the sites Senior Neighbors will be offering the workshops. We are hoping to offer these classes starting in March. Attached is a flyer describing the upcoming workshops. We will keep you posted on the actual start date of this seven-week service. 

Enjoy the February Warm-up and sunshine and a loving Valentines ❤ day!!!

Virginia Scholten



Journeys and New Starts

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

I hope everyone has been enjoying the sun and blue skies. It sure can do the spirit good! 🌞

❤  JOURNEYS:  This week Wednesday starts the YAH film series on Journeying through life and spiritual awakenings. Everyone’s journey is Oh So Different! We start off with “Frisco Kid” on Wednesday, February 8th; and “News of the World” on Monday, February 20th, with two more movies in March: “Molokai: The Story of Fr. Damien” and “The Long Way Home.”   Come and join us in the cozy atmosphere of the lounge at 12:30-2:30. 

❤  This month many of our Birthday Celebrants are in warmer climates. But, here is the February BirthDay list. We hope to see some of you, your friends and guests at the BirthDay Brunch on February 15th. Be sure to wish them a joyful day! Sue Atkinson, MaryAnn Bergevin, Debbie Bradcoski, Ralph Cooper, Barb Farrey, Lynn Jachim, Jo McGavin, Charles Palazzolo, Diane Ritzke, John Yowaish, and Fr. Bernie Carlin. 

❤  A NEW START:  It has been confirmed! YOGA is here!!! Yoga is an ancient discipline, which incorporates stretching with mindfulness and breathing. The word yoga means “union.” It is a union between the body, mind and spirit. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we changed instructors at the last minute. Pat Pritchard will be our new instructor. Due to her schedule, she will be offering the class on Wednesdays after lunch, at 12:45-1:45, starting March 1st.  She will be offering the class in both floor and chair forms. Please RSVP if you are interested or have any questions so we can find the space best suited for the class size. Call 616.913.4419 or email info@youngatheartgr.org.  

❤  The VITA Tax Program is officially underway. If you would like to have your tax forms completed please contact 211 to set up your appointment. If you wish to volunteer to help with this program, contact Michelle at 616-913-4415.

❤  Another NEW START… Keep your eyes open for another fun option coming in April… Line Dancing!!! More on that later… 😉

Looking forward to a milder week!

God Bless you all,


Many Thanks

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

Yesterday we finished up the last of the January Series which featured Ken Jennings, of Jeopardy fame. It sure was nice to see so many of you join us as we watched these fascinating presentations/interviews live streamed from Calvin College. We are so fortunate in Grand Rapids to have such easy access to so many amazing people and their stories. 

UPDATES: Next week already starts February! I have attached the February Calendar with a few updates to the menu. Also, please note, Mary K, the instructor for Tai Chi, will be headed on vacation in mid-February. She will return for classes on March 6th. So, catch her while you can, now, through February 13th. 

THANK YOUS: It is wonderful to see our Exercise and Tai Chi classes have a strong core group of attendees. The more, the merrier! Many attendees sing the praises of the instructors and how much the classes have helped them in a variety of ways. We are very blessed to have the expertise and dedication of both instructors! Be sure to thank Colleen and Mary. 

We have also had a few new volunteers join the ranks. Join me in welcoming Amy West, who will help make coffee, help with Senior Meals, and BirthDay Brunch. Ricki Frey will also be helping with BirthDay Brunches. Deb Weatherbee will be helping with clean-up. More hands make light work. THANK YOU! There’s always room for more! If you like to work behind the scenes, we have jobs for you too. Did you know Kathy McCumber helps to maintain the Lending Library in the Lounge? Check it out if you haven’t. Some great books await you!

Next week I will be sending the annual YAH Year in Review Report. As I write the report, I am excited to see the growth, and satisfaction that so many of you are benefitting from the Young at Heart Program. Recently one of the Board Members of the Kent County Senior Millage stated YAH represented a wonderful grassroots organization, and another stated, “We get a lot of bang for our bucks with the YAH Program.” You all make it happen! So, THANK YOU to you all!!

Have a Blessed and Thanks-filled week!

Virginia Scholten 


Keeping you Young and Informed

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

It was nice to see so many back at YAH today, after a two-week holiday break. Sadly we lost two participants recently. Euchre player, Mary Phyllis Centilli passed in early December; and Tai Chi participant, Bob Krueger passed on January 1st. May They Rest in Peace.🕊

  • Today was the first session of the Calvin College January Series. As usual, it was yet another fascinating presenter. I encourage everyone to go on-line,  check out the list of presenters, and listen in!  https://calvin.edu/january-series/speakers/.  Next Monday we will be live-streaming “O STICK WITH LOVE: KING’S VISION FOR TODAY’S MOVEMENT.” Gregory Thompson is a pastor, scholar, writer, producer, and amateur cook whose work focuses on racial healing in America. He currently serves as the executive director of Voices Underground, an initiative to build a national memorial to the Underground Railroad in southeast Pennsylvania. Thompson is also a research fellow in African American Cultural Heritage at Lincoln University and the visiting theologian for mission at Grace Mosaic Church in Washington, D.C.

This week I am passing along several newsletters, just to keep you informed of events and programs that serve our Northeast Neighborhood. 

  1. Northend Wellness Coalition January Newsletter featuring Wellness Programs in the Northeast Neighborhood. 
  2. Creston Neighborhood Association 2023 Goals
  3. New Development December Newsletter
  4. MSU-Ext Virtual Winter Health Classes

I hope you find these resources helpful and informative.
Last but not least, here are our January Birthday Celebrants. If you see any of the following people, be sure to wish them a 🎉HaPpY BiRtHDaY!  Harry Balicki, Brenda Bennett, Faye Chulski, Bill Cunningham, Fran Damskey, Marlene Downes, Etta Gaddis, Ann Geer, Fran Gilhoran, Estelita Guerrero, Mary Kaiser, Patty Madura, Ray Novakoski, Bonnie Randall, and Yolanda Rubio. 

Hoping we grow and learn together!




HaPpY New Year


Happy New Year Young at Heart Friends and Family:❄

  I hope each one of you had a safe, healthy and wonderful Christmas with your family and friends, even if it was a bit delayed. 

My apologies for a delayed email. Vacation had me a little off balance.  As we start a new year, I have included two attachments to help us get back on track for a healthy New Year:

  • Revised January Calendar with updated menus.
  • Walking Club schedule for January-February. Come join the Winter Fun!!!



  • Some of you have been asking… St. Alphonsus’ Indoor Walking Program has started with the new year. You may walk in the warmth and safety of indoors on Mondays-Thursdays 9:00-1:00. Walkers must remain on the gym/cafe level, and respect other programming. 
  • We had two $50.00 Winners of the YAH Christmas Drawing to support the People in Ukraine: Mary Ramirez and Allie Nawrocki. Congratulations ladies! But, guess what? Everyone’s a winner… together we raised $300.00 to send to the Redemptorists in Ukraine to help support the various needs of the people. A BIG “THANK YOU!!”
  • Technology Drop In  will resume on Monday, January 9th at 1:00-2:00. Call or email to reserve your 15-30 minute time slot. 
  • Deb’s Lunch menu for Monday, January 9th: Cheeseburger Soup, Layered Salad, Homemade Dinner Rolls, and Dessert. Cost is $5.00. Please RSVP ASAP.  Lunch will be followed by the first Calvin College January Series 2023. See the attached calendar for more information. 

Sincere Wishes for Safety, Health and Blessings all Year Long!!!

Home for the Holidays

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

No need to dream, it’s going to be a White Christmas

 for sure! 

❄ Today we had a wonderful lunch as Mime Artist Dawn Day helped us celebrate the Reason for the Season. On Wednesday, this month’s BirthDay Celebrants and their friends will be treated to Christmas music and a sing-a-long with the Mother Singers, directed by Michele Ogren. This month BirthDay Celebrants are: Pat Adams, Carol Bos, Paula Broek, Joan Doyle, Bob Dragan, Kathy Edington, JoAnne Gensler, Pat Gietzen, Arlene Hummel, Fred Kraemer, Julie LaPorte, Sandy Miles, Judy Nawrocki, Lee Oppenheimer, Madelyne Mellema, Mary Powell, Aggie Stuart-Ruster, Clare Woodard, and Kathy Ybarra. If you see any of them, wish them a HaPpY BiRthDaY. 

❄ Wednesday Morning will be your last opportunity to participate in our Christmas Drawing. Two winners will receive $50.00, donated by an Anonymous Donor. Proceeds from the drawing will support the people in Ukraine. Tickets can be purchased through the Young at Heart. Cost is $1.00 per ticket or 6 tickets for $5.00. 

⛄ If you have not completed our Annual Survey, please take a few minutes to do so. (See the attachment.)Your feedback is very helpful as we plan for 2023. Are you pleased with what we are currently offering? Would you like to see a specific class or an educational presentation? Would you like evening programming? Please complete the survey and email it back, or drop it off at the Parish Office. We greatly appreciate any feedback. 

❄ Lastly, attached is the January Calendar. As I take a lesson from Calvin College, YAH will have its normal programming, but we are taking a break from special presentations as we take the time to Live Stream three presentations from the Calvin College January Series. Avoid the crowd, and come watch it with your friends in the comfort of the cozy lounge at St. Alphonsus’ Parish Center. We will be live streaming the presentations on Monday, January 9th, 16th and 23rd at 12:30-1:30. Please RSVP to help us plan for space. 


Safe travels, healthy visits with family and friends, and celebrate ALL things good!


Virginia Scholten


Young at Heart Senior Enrichment Program



Give the Gift that Gives

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family,

It is definitely beginning to feel like Christmas with all the festivities happening. One of the events YAH will be doing this year is a small drawing to benefit the people of the Ukraine. This drawing is available to all YAH participants, and their friends and family. However, tickets must be purchased from YAH on a Monday or Wednesday between 9:30-2:00. The drawing will be held on Wednesday, December 21st at 11:00 AM. 

image.pngChristmas Drawing

WHEN/ WHERE: Wednesday, December 21st at  the December Birthday Brunch, at 11:00am.

WHAT: two $50.00 winners. Purchase a ticket for $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00 to enter.

WHY: Anonymous Donor donated the winnings. Proceeds from the drawing will help support the people in Ukraine. 

  • Tickets can be purchased at the Young at Heart Program in advance or at the Birthday Brunch. 

In the meantime, please plan to join us Monday, December 19th for our Christmas Party. We will be serving Ribs, Turkey, Salad, Cheesy Potatoes, and many goodies. Cost $5.00. Must RSVP. Dawn Day, Mime Artist

 will be our featured entertainment. Cost for entertainment is $5.00.  

On Wednesday, December 21st we will be celebrating December Birthdays.

 Please join us as Michelle Ogren and the Mother Singers lead us in Christmas Carols. Brunch menu includes Egg/Ham/Cheese Breakfast Casserole, fruit and pastries. Please RSVP. Cost is $5.00. 

LAST CALL for anyone interested in participating in the FREE HEARING TESTS,

 offered by Beltone on Monday, December 19th 9:00-1:00. Must RSVP for a 30 minute time slot. 

We hope to see you at one of our Holiday Festivities.

****  Please note that December 19th is the first day of Hanukkah. Wish all your Jewish Friends a Hanukkah Blessing.*****

Blessings to all,




In Between the Holidays

Hello Young at Heart Friends and Family;

My oh my! A week sure goes fast when you have a long holiday weekend in between. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, enjoying family, mild weather, and all things good!  Now it is time to slowly gear up for the Christmas Holiday Season. Let’s savor the journey, and not rush it.



  • Good News for all you Exercise Participants!!! Collen just cannot stand missing you for a week! LOL… She will be holding class in room 303 on December 5th and 7th. The Christmas Store will take over the gym and cafeteria, but that is NO EXCUSE to not get out and stretch!!! HaHa.  Meet the rest of your class in Room 303 at 9:30 on both Monday and Wednesday. If you have any questions, feel free to ask Colleen this Wednesday, email (info@youngatheartgr.org) or call the YAH Program (616.913.4419). 
  • Sadly, Pickleball will still need to take a break. No class on Tuesday, December 6th. 
  • Next week, YAH will be taking up a “Thank you” collection for Deb Anderson. Deb and her husband Dale are the wonderful cooks that provide us a meal the first Monday of each month. While YAH reimburses the Anderson’s for their food costs, Deb and Dale donate their time. As you know their meals are DEEE-LISH and the time spent picking a menu, preparing the entree, salad and dessert, the packaging of each meal and the kitchen clean-up is a lot of work!!! We will provide Deb and Dale with a gift card reflecting the amount of donations received. Please drop your donation off at YAH on Monday or Wednesday, or leave in a labeled envelope at the Parish Office.  
  • Don’t forget to get in your RSVP for Deb’s last meal of 2022. On Monday December 5th, she will be serving Scalloped Potatoes with Smoked Sausage, homemade applesauce, dinner rolls and a dessert. Cost is $5.00.



  • Due to its popularity, starting Wednesday, December 14th, Pickleball will begin a second class. We will meet in the gym each Wednesday at 10:45-Noon. This is a great class if you wish to learn the sport, get a little exercise,or play for fun. Equipment is available if you do not have your own paddle. 
  • On Wednesday, December 14th, we will be holding a Sweet-Treat Exchange. If you like Cookie Exchanges, this is for you. Participants are encouraged to bring in Cookies, Candies or Dessert Breads to exchange with others. 
  • On the same day, Wednesday December 14th after lunch, we will also be playing a variety of Christmas Games, enjoying Christmas Music, and cheerful socialization. Bring one small gift to exchange. Festive fun for all! Lunch will be served by Senior Meals. Menu: Ground Beef Tacos, Sweet Corn, Refried Beans, and Dessert. Cost for lunch is $5.00. RSVP. 


LASTLY,  check out the website for: 

  • The Calendar of Events for December.
  • Information regarding the Christmas Concert by the Schubert Male Chorus on Saturday, December 10th at 7:30. This is the longest running all Male Chorus in the Country. They are a fun-loving group of Men who will share the “Flavors of the Season.”   Cost: $20.00/ticket.   If YAH sells 20 tickets, half of the proceeds are returned to help fund our own fun programming. This is a win-win for everyone! Tickets are available through YAH or at the Parish Office.  For more information about this great group: http://www.schubertmalechorus.org/