New accessible arts and aerobics programs launched

Next month will see the launch of two new programs at The J: “Accessible Art” and “Accessible Water Zumba.” Both programs will cater to anyone with a disability and will be free for members. The cost for non-members will be only $5.

  • Accessible Art” will be taught by Joe Carter at The J on November 7 at 10 a.m.
  • For “Accessible Water Zumba” on November 10 at 10 a.m., instructor Heather Weston will be joined by ShinShimin (service-year emissaries from Israel) Maayan Elisha and Zohar Shemesh, who will help incorporate Israeli music into the program.

“I am excited about these new initiatives,” says Elizabeth Patton, the director of programming at The J who is a certified ADA trainer and holds a degree in signed language interpreting. “And if we see enough interest, we’re hoping to continue and even expand these offerings.

“As far as we can tell, including people with disabilities in community center programming is unique in Birmingham.” she says. “But everyone needs programs, so it makes a lot of sense — especially in our case, since as a community center we have a responsibility to serve as many people as we can.”

Joe Carter retired as vice president of adult services at Glenwood after 35 years there, and is a strong advocate within the autism community. He has led various art classes and workshops for several organizations.

In addition to aqua aerobics, Heather Weston enjoys teaching freestyle strength and cardio classes at The J.