Dancers work on their health at the community center workshop

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GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) – Careful attention to health has been on the minds of many East Carolina residents since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday nights, Joy Community Center tackled her community’s most pressing health issues in a fun way.

Helping dancers of all ages, races and skill levels, instructor Kimberly Ward makes Pitt County sweat for good reason.

“I dance. I’ve always danced. It’s my passion. I’ve been dancing for many years,” Ward said. “It helps with weight loss, stress management, relationship building, and working with different people.”

Ward and his fellow Nulook Steppaz dancers enjoyed running the community center so much that they agreed to a monthly commitment.

“It’s a rainy night tonight. People would be sitting at home bored, but instead dancing here. I even danced a little tonight,” said owner Tom Quigley.

Quigley said his vision for the center was to break the stigma of West Greenville.

“It’s normal that I don’t look like him, maybe I don’t talk like him,” Quigley said. “But I just had fun with these people and we can all get together.”

It takes a village to bring the community together to solve urgent health problems.

Quigley uses local resources such as the West Greenville Health Council which runs classes on some of these concerns, such as diabetes support.

“COVID has certainly focused a lot of attention on health. It’s also focused a lot of attention on health disparities,” Dr. Nancy Winterbauer said. illnesses.”

Winterbauer and her team encourage group health education to erase some of the stigma around improving health.

“It’s the only way for us to come together and be one, if we make each other stronger,” said Shay Whitlock, a dancer.

The community center hosts classes and interactive opportunities for all ages. When the space isn’t a dance studio or science lab, it provides hot meals to the Pitt County community as the Joy Soup Kitchen.

Quigley cooks to bring the flavors of the Northeast and his hometown of Boston to residents of the East. He opens the door every day of the week for anyone in need of a hot meal.

Through community center events, the West Greenville Health Council hopes to further address some of the health disparities that black residents face, such as stroke, obesity, heart disease and depression.

More information on future Community Center events can be found here.

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