Congratulations, Eliot Perez
Harriet and Joe Foster Family YMCA and M.D. Anderson Family YMCA
High-energy, generous and one-of-a-kind are some of the top ways Eliot was described by his nominees. Eliot is based in Houston, TX, and loves teaching his SilverSneakers classes. He brings smiles, laughter and unmatched enthusiasm to class every day.
One of his stand-out qualities is the level of care and attention he offers his members, which extends beyond teaching. He organizes monthly potluck lunches, sends get well cards to ailing members and even assembles a photo album when a member passes away and presents it to the family. He regularly encourages members to connect with each other outside of class. With class sizes averaging 50 to 60 members, Eliot still takes time to learn each member’s name.
As one member said, “Eliot is absolutely exceptional through not only the classes he teaches, but participation in community events. He goes way beyond the call of duty and sees every class as an opportunity to lift people up.” Eliot helped create close-knit communities at Harriet and Joe Foster YMCA and M.D. Anderson Family YMCA and credits his SilverSneakers “family” for supporting him over the years.
Without a doubt, Eliot Perez has inspired and brightened the lives of hundreds of members. With heartfelt appreciation, we congratulate Eliot for being our 2020 Instructor of the year.
We’re excited to share this video that Eliot created celebrating this accomplishment.
Congratulations to our finalists
Gold’s Gym and Longmont Senior Center
Humorous. Inspirational. Energetic. Jennine’s class participants say “she embodies what SilverSneakers is all about.” Along with being a fitness instructor, Jennine is a stand-up comedian. A skill, her members say, that she incorporates into her instruction which “makes our classes so much fun we forget how hard we’re working.” Other members say how they leave class and their faces hurt from smiling and that she’s the most inspirational person they’ve ever met.
Oak Street Health
The two words that nominees used most often to describe Toccara were energetic and patient. A bubbly instructor who always has a smile on her face, Toccara leads classes out of Chicago’s Oak Street Health. She said her two passions are music and movement, and she’s known for a joyful personality that makes fitness more fun. Her members say “she is the best of the best. She is very patient and shows us moves with an incredible joy and laughter.”
The Groove Fitness Studio
Five years ago, Jen’s dream was realized when she opened a gym that strived to be a place where everyone felt welcome. Starting small, she began to add classes for seniors, kids and the special needs community to give everyone a place to feel comfortable. These days, her SilverSneakers classes have 50+ participants, with a community of close-knit members who call themselves “the Goldies.” Jen’s passion for her community, charity drives and ability to teach “love and kindness” has made her a 2020 Instructor of the Year Finalist.
Melanie “Coach Mel” Knox
Coach Mel’s Group Fitness
“She is one in a million,” her class participant said. Coach Mel doesn’t just teach, she motivates members to change their lives for the better. Many of the nominations submitted paint a similar story: members who were new to fitness or attending classes 1-2 times a week were inspired by Coach Mel’s leadership. As one member states, “within six months, I was [attending] a minimum of 12 classes a week.” Mel’s personal motto is “Be healthy before you need to be,” which has become a guiding inspiration for her members.