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Local residents modifying jobs from fitness to counseling

Photo submitted by Jennifer Deem Jennifer Deem leads a group fitness class at Marietta Boot Camp. The business is currently closed, but she has taken her classes online.

For some local residents, the closing of businesses has led them to re-think how they do their jobs.

Jennifer Deem has owned Marietta Boot Camp for 10 years and is now holding classes through a Facebook private group.

“I am a group fitness instructor and I’ve been teaching some classes online,” she explained. “I’ve transitioned the entire business online.”

She said she’s been doing the classes for free and will run a free boot camp online in April. She knows people may not have exercise equipment, so she is trying to make it home-friendly.

“I’m trying to make it accessible if you have stairs or if you’re using cans. Your dining room chair is a great piece of equipment,” she said. “I’m trying to make this as positive as possible.”

Her boot camp is a progressive four-week workout with accountability. There is a different theme each month and participants spend 30 days progressing through the activities. She said one month, they’ll work on their arms. They also can work on leg strength, running or building endurance.

“There is accountability and support. It’s a very supportive atmosphere,” Deem said, noting the next boot camp will start Monday.

She tries to keep it basic, breaking it down for beginners or take it to an advanced level.

“I make it as best as I can to fit someone’s fitness level,” she added.

While her classes in the Pike Street studio are held at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., the online classes are pre-recorded and will be uploaded by 5 a.m. each day.

“They’ll be ready at 5 a.m. to accommodate early morning exercisers,” Deem said. “I have some fun challenges to keep people motivated. I’m trying to incorporate getting outside.”

Desiree Kerns, owner of Ohio Redwood Restaurant in Belpre, is now delivering food to local residents, which is something she didn’t expect to do when she and her husband bought the restaurant in October.

“We closed at 3 p.m. (March 15) and the governor closed everybody,” she said.

She said people heard restaurants were closed, so they stopped visiting, but the Redwood is now doing take-outs and deliveries since their dining room is closed.

“We’ve lost business. I would say significantly, the difference,” Kerns said.

The restaurant’s core customer group are seniors, who now have nowhere to congregate, drink coffee and socialize.

“We’ve done curbside (delivery) for them,” she said. “We’ll take it out to them.”

She said for some senior customers, it was their only way to socialize.

“It’s heartbreaking to think they’re cooped up in their house, so we’ll call and check on them,” Kerns said.

It isn’t just physical fitness and food needs to be taken care of while being in isolation. For those in recovery, being alone and socially distant can be difficult.

Brandi Beaver, an Ohio Certified Peer Supporter for Americorps, said with the temporary closing of House of Hope and limited hours at Brandi’s Legacy, she and other peer supporters have had to find a way to put in required hours with the program.

She said in a meeting last week, the fear for people in the recovery community was discussed.

“You have to have a mental health illness or substance experience to be a peer supporter,” Beaver explained. “We have our own demons, so that makes peer support important because we’ve all been there.”

She said the supporters know how hard it is for them, not being able to do what keeps them healthy, but for those in recovery, they also have the loss of support.

“They depend on meetings and their face-to-face contact with counselors and going to church,” she said. “There’s a lot going on and being isolated can lead to depression.”

Beaver and other peer supporters are trying to bring awareness to let the recovery community know there are options while isolated. They started a podcast called Recovery.Now, where they talk about everything they can think of so those in recovery can hear them and let them know they are not alone.

They also started a Facebook page called Recovery.Now on March 21 so people can share their stories and get help. The page will have an online forum where people can get insight from the peer support without the face-to-face interaction.

“We’re trying to reach the recovery community and help them any way we can,” Beaver said. “We’re trying to give as much information as we can. There will be a couple of licensed counselors on the page.”

She said she enjoys being a peer supporter and being online is just another way to help those in recovery or dealing with a mental illness.

“People need to hear from their peers because they’ve gone through the same things they are,” Beaver noted.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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