June 12, 2014

Last Friday we had our first Community Advisory Board meeting and it was a huge success. We had 18 people attend, from nearly all of the 11 sites as well as geriatricians and professionals working in public housing. Many best practices were shared and ideas for moving things forward. A few specifics: 1) we will be testing Band Together Express, a 30 minute workout for workplaces, 2) we will be using an automated timer, so no one has to be left out of the conversation and 3) a student will be going site to site this summer testing everyone’s strength on two portable devices, so we can better understand the impact of participating. Overall, many people shared stories about how much they love being involved, how much it has helped people’s back pain, neck pain, energy and – most of all – how they’ve made new friends. In addition, last night we also trained our 12th site, the Marietta Senior Apartments, with the help of two medical students (Barrett Richard and Kate Berry) who are helping us this summer.


May 15, 2014

We trained our 11th site today. The Maple Street Senior Center will be our first official senior center to participate, the first with its own sponsor. We are thankful to the the Penn State Trauma Center has offered to fund the cost of the bands for this site.  The site is enormous – it’s  in a re-purposed Elementary School, so we are excited to see how big a group we can get in the room. Thanks so much to Trish Palubinsky, Sue Lampariello, Dean Mease and many others for making this happen.

April 1, 2014

We trained our 9th site today. Juniper Village in Lebanon will be our first personal senior living community to host a BT group. Juniper Village has an apartment complex and cottages for independent living. They have a wonderful facility and, at least to start, employees will be the group leaders. A 91-year old resident came to be trained to be a peer leader – which was great to see.tracker

Also, we have purchased software to automate the tracking of Band Together Sites. The software, Form Return, allows the tracking sheet and all surveys, to be machine-readable. Just like standardized tests, where you color in the bubbles – as in the picture. This will allow us to let each site know how they are doing and answer the two key questions for each site: 1) Are people getting strong enough here? and 2) Are people coming often enough? This software will make it MUCH easier to scale up Band Together, without needing to visit each site very often.

March 11, 2014

We have our 8th site planned – the largest. It will be in the Maple Street Senior Center in downtown Lebanon. The site is housed in an old elementary school, so the sessions will be in a a gymnasium. We are excited and indebted to Dean Mease and Carol Davies at the Area Agency on Aging for helping this to make this a reality.

March 8

This week Dr. Sciamanna presented to over 40 site directors from the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Association, as the request of Ms. Martha McGraw. A main goal of Band Together is to be in senior housing units, which often have the people with the greatest number disabilities and the least ability to go to a fitness center. The Hershey Plaza apartments will likely be our first senior housing unit, thanks to the work of Shannon Lifka, the site director there.

February 13, 2014

We are active at 7 sites now. Last night, I trained 4 members of St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Schaefferstown.

Earlier in the week I met with leaders of the Lebanon County Senior Centers and they have agreed to be our 8th site. Their Maple Street Senior Center is housed in a repurposed elementary school, they it has a huge auditorium. Our goal there is to see how large a group we can get together at one time.

January 1, 2014

bt demog 3

We are active at 5 sites in Central PA with 161 participants! We are training the 6th site (Hershey Free Evangelical Church) today, so they can start recruiting participants in the next few weeks. Each week we get more calls from churches and community locations who are interested in hosting a Band Together site. The response has overwhelmed us, though this is a good problem to have.

As you can see from the table, the people who are interested are exactly the type of people who can benefit. BT participants are older, most have chronic illnesses and many already have difficulty doing common activities.


1. The Rail: 200 S. Hanover St, Hummelstown, PA: Tues and Fri 12-1pm (Site leader: Pastor Bryan Hoke)
2. St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church: 2826 Herr St, Harrisburg, PA: Tues and Thurs 11:30-12:30 (Site Leader: Margie Slyman)
3. Covenant United Methodist Church: 346 N. Ninth St Lebanon, PA: Tues and Thurs 11-12 (Site Leader: Pastor Brian Albert)
4. Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church: 599 W. Center St Elysburg, PA: Tues and Thurs 1-2 (Site Leader: Dave Joseph)
5. University Fitness Center: 500 University Dr Hershey, PA: Tues and Thurs 12:30-1:30 (Site Leader: Deb Tregea)
6. Hershey Free Church: 330 Hilltop Rd Hummelstown: Times TBD (Site Leader: Pastor Omar Zook)


1. St. Luke Lutheran Church: 107 E Main St, Schaefferstown, PA (Contact: Delores Lesher)
2. Shiloh Baptist Church: 740 W Locust St, York, PA (Contact: Minister Linda Dickerson)
3. Trinity United Church of Christ: 200 E Market St, Hallam, PA (Contact: Reverend Kelly Shiflett)
4. St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church: 4200 Londonderry Rd, Harrisburg, PA (Contact: Cathy Betz)
5. St. Stephen’s United Church of Christ: 1569 W. Market St, York, PA (Contact: Sandra Darantany)
6. Ruhl’s United Methodist Church: 4810 Elizabethtown Rd, Manheim, PA (Contact: Kris Gray)
7. Faith United Church of Christ: 509 Pacific Ave, York, PA (Contact: Lee Anne Strine)
8. St. John’s United Church of Christ: 120 W Market St, Jonestown, PA (Contact: Kaye Miller)
9. St. Mark’s United Church of Christ: 426 N 8th St, Lebanon, PA (Contact: Ginny)
10. Grace United Church of Christ: 22 Church St, Richland, PA (Contact: Pastor Johnnie Lengel)
11. Tulpehocken Trinity United Church of Christ: 961 Tulpehocken Rd, Richland, PA (Contact: Lynette Ondo)
12. Faith United Church of Christ: 509 Pacific Ave, York, PA (Contact: Lee Anne Strine)
13. Lancaster General: Lancaster, PA (Contact: Connie Metzler)
14. Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ: 450 W Main St, Mountville, PA (Contact: Shirley Shertzer)
15. New Covenant United Church of Christ: 202 E 3rd St, Williamsport, PA (Contact: Gail Landers)
16. Mount Wilson Church of the Brethren: 1261 Mt. Wilson Rd, Lebanon, PA (Contact: John Brenneman)
17. Freeburg United Methodist: Church St & Freeburg Rd, Freeburg, PA (Contact: Reverend Patricia Bennet)
18. Lincoln Towers: 201 W Mulberry St, Shamokin, PA (Contact: Monica Pahira)
19. Mt. Wilson Church of the Brethren: 1261 Mt Wilson Rd, Lebanon, PA (Contact: Joan Huston)
20. Shiloh United Church: 500 Bloom St, Danville, PA (Contact: Kathy Spancake)
21. Palm Lutheran Church: 101 W Cherry St, Palmyra, PA (Contact: Rosalea Wooley)
22. Christ Church United Church of Christ: 247 S Market St, Elizabethtown, PA (Contact: The Reverend Laura Lee Kent)
23. Holy Spirit Catholic Church: 245 W Pine St, Palmyra, PA (Contact: Maureen Rudy)
24. First Christian Church: 442 Hummel Ave, Lemoyne, PA (Contact: Pastor Diana)
25. StoneRidge Retirement Living: 440 E Lincoln Ave, Myerstown, PA (Contact: Sherry Heim)
26. St. Paul’s United Church of Christ: 205 W Main St, Dallastown, PA (Contact: Chris Rafensberger)