Dancing with the seniors

Dancing with the seniors

April 24th, 2009 by Karen Nazor Hill in Health

Joe Downs can cut a rug.

The retired IBM worker began ballroom dance classes in high school. Today, the suave 80-year-old still has the moves.

Mr. Downs, along with fellow members from his weekly ballroom dancing class at Alexian Brothers Senior Neighbors, will showcase his talent tonight at The Ginny Power Ball at The Mill on the Southside.

The second annual event raises money for programs at Senior Neighbors, said Executive Director Dawn Webber. The public is invited.

"It's not considered a major source of income for us, but it does contribute," Ms. Webber said. "The ball is more of a fun event to showcase the senior citizens."

The event also recognizes Senior Neighbors founder, the late Ginny Power. Ms. Power served as its first president after it was incorporated in 1960. Since then, Senior Neighbors has advocated for seniors and tried to help them live fuller lives by providing vocational, social, mental, spiritual and physical opportunities.

If you go

* What: The Ginny Power Ball

* When: 6 p.m. today

* Where: The Mill, 1601 Gulf St., Suite 100, Chattanooga

* Admission: $75 per person

* Contact: 755-6100

* Web site: www.alexianseniorneighbors.com

"One of our roles is to create more awareness of contributions to society by senior citizens," said Senior Neighbors consultant Jayme Upton. "We're hoping children and families of senior citizens will come to the ball to see what their parents are doing. I think they will be amazed."

Ballroom dancing has become increasingly popular thanks to the TV hit "Dancing With the Stars."

"It's really taken off, especially with people ages 50 to 60," said Dennis Mullis, 55 who has been teaching a senior dance class since January.