Friendships Form in Walking Club

A group gathers to take a walk every Tuesday morning at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio. It starts with exercise, and ends up providing much more.

Every Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m., a group emerges from the big main door of St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio, walks down the front steps, and out into the sunshine for a nice walk.

Except if it’s raining. Then they walk inside.

But the important thing is, they walk. And while they walk, they talk, and while they walk and talk, they form a bond.

That bond is one of the main benefits of the weekly Walking Club at St. Charles Center, said Teresa DiSalvo, manager of Saint Charles Senior Living Center, who organized the club more than two years ago. The club meets every Tuesday year-round; St. Charles, with its wide halls and beautiful grounds, lends itself to either indoor or outdoor walks.

“We do it for the fellowship and the exercise,” said DiSalvo, who walks along with the group. It started out as an activity for Saint Charles residents, but then was opened up to anyone in the community who wanted to join in.

“It’s brought people in, and it’s created a lot of camaraderie,” she said.

Saint Charles resident Maurita Bergman is a regular. She enjoys the exercise and the conversation, she said. “The walking and the talking, that’s all part of it,” she said. Through walking over the years, Maurita said she’s built up her endurance to the point where she can now participate in 5Ks.

“I’m always the last one, but I make it,” she said.

Also joining in the Walking Club each week is Janel Schulte from Briarwood Village in nearby Coldwater. That’s part of Saint Charles’ outreach to local communities, DiSalvo said.

The number of walkers varies, but usually around a dozen people join in for the walk, which starts right after morning Mass in St. Charles’ Assumption Chapel. Once they’ve enjoyed the walk, many stop in for a drink and snack in St. Charles’ coffee shop.

“We catch up on what’s going on in everybody’s family,” said DiSalvo. “For me, it’s a great way to keep a handle on what the people who live here might need from me. And it’s brought me a lot of joy.”