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Contact Community Services strikes a chord with free harmonica lessons for seniors

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Contact Community Services in South Simcoe provides free harmonica lessons for seniors as a fun way for older individuals to step out of the house and acquire new skills, blending leisure with learning.

"We were just looking at something fun and different for seniors to come together and enjoy and become a sense of community," said Contact Community Services Engagement & Development officer Brenda Pufek.

For some in attendance, picking up the harmonica was a first.

"I have never ever played a harmonica in my life and was petrified to even attempt it because it looked so complicated. And I am so impressed with one class that I can actually play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," said Alliston resident Kim Passero.

Instructor Randy Greenman has been playing since high school and said there are many benefits to playing the harmonica, especially for seniors.

"Harmonica playing is really good for the lungs because we're using our diaphragm, we're exhaling, inhaling, and people with CPOD or any type of breathing compromised situations can benefit from harmonica playing. It's also good for our minds because we're coordinating our minds, our lips, our hands," Greenman explained.

The free program is part of the Senior Living Well program put on by Contact and funded by the Ontario Seniors Community Grant.

"We also do crafts. Coming up in December, we'll be doing Christmas cards that you can mail out to your family and friends," said Pufek.

Passero said she enjoys having a place to be social, meet new people and be creative.

"The pandemic was very hard. Mentally and physically, and now we're finally out and able to socialize again and see people and learn, and it's been a lot of fun," said Passero.

The Seniors Living Well program will run throughout the fall and winter. Two more harmonica lessons will be held in Tottenham later this month.

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