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Exposures: I Care: Volunteer brings vigor, and Bubbles

Joe Miguel, 82, leads a class in Strength and Balance, Friday, January 9, 2015, at the Hart Senior Center. He and his wife Bubbles have been volunteering there for 20 years.
Joe Miguel, 82, leads a class in Strength and Balance, Friday, January 9, 2015, at the Hart Senior Center. He and his wife Bubbles have been volunteering there for 20 years.

Silver and gold stars swing from the ballroom ceiling at Sacramento’s Hart Senior Center from a recent holiday bash. Joe Miguel could pass for a fit Santa Claus in street clothes as he balances on the edge of two stacked chairs, leading a class in strength and balance. Encircled by nearly 60 older adults, he takes them through an exercise routine using hand weights, resistance bands and a sarcastic sense of humor.

At 82, he and his wife Bubbles, 80, have volunteered at the center for the past 20 years, logging more than 30 hours a week. As well as leading the popular exercise class three days a week, the pair facilitates the weekly life history writing group.

“If the senior center were like high school, Joe and Bubbles would be our prom king and queen,” said Alicia Black, the volunteer program coordinator at the Hart Senior Center. Married 61 years, Joe says he took Bubbles to their high school prom at Sacramento High School.

Maintaining an active social life is key to staying healthy, says Joe, and why he and Bubbles can be found most days at the senior center. “It’s like a family,” he said.

To suggest a community volunteer for the I Care column, contact Lezlie Sterling at lsterling@sacbee.com

PHOTOGRAPHER’S BLOG: View additional photographs and stories here.

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