L'Tanya Van Hamersveld: Spirit of Gainesville nominee


Published: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 9:39 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 9:39 a.m.

L'Tanya Van Hamersveld's official job for the past 3.5 years has been as a Zumba Gold instructor, but what she actually does is so much more than that.

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L'Tanya Van Hamersveld

Facts

Category: Community Service

About L'Tanya Van Hamersveld

Occupation: Actor, teacher, choreographer, Zumba instructor

Years in Gainesville: 17

Spouse: Steven Van Hamersveld

Children: 2 children, 5 grandchildren, 1 great grandchild

L'Tanya's lifelong goal has been to inspire and encourage people to think, laugh, follow their dreams, and change their lives for the better. In her enthusiastic leading of Zumba Gold classes L'Tanya does just that, making a significant difference, greatly enhancing the quality of life of Gainesville's senior citizens. She believes individuals have the responsibility to share the gifts they have been given. To the more than one hundred seniors who participate in the twice weekly classes offered by Choices at the Senior Recreation Center, L'Tanya's gifts are evident. She infuses each class with an attitude of acceptance, joy and gratitude, creating an atmosphere in which seniors can unselfconsciously experience the freedom of movement - leading to greater flexibility of both mind and body.

L'Tanya knows that ageing in not for the faint hearted. She is realistic about the many changes experienced by older adults while, at the same time, conveying the message that "it's not over till it's over." Residents of Gainesville retirement complexes and assisted living facilities also benefit from L'Tanya's Zumba Gold classes, including Chair Zumba offered at Pine Grove Apartments for those unable to exercise while standing.

L'Tanya is consistently willing to listen as a senior shares a concern about health or family. Recognizing the need for affection, connection, and warmth, a hug from L'Tanya reverberates throughout the day. She encourages easy socialization generating a sense of well-being and community. Participants leave each class invigorated by her efforts to make each experience memorable.

L'Tanya is also known in Gainesville as an accomplished actor, singer, dancer, and choreographer. In her "free" time she lends her energy to fundraising efforts for Heart Awareness, The American Cancer Society, and Haitian Relief. All of her endeavors reflect the true Spirit of Gainesville.

Nominated by Arlene Bargad

L'Tanya is one of the most inspirational people I have ever met. People (myself included) flock to her Zumba classes that I call the “Church of L'Tanya” because of how her enthusiasm, humility, and love for each person attending is truly transformative for those present. Especially when issues arise during classes, as they must with so many people attending, her masterful leadership infused with love and humor is a wonder to behold. Her infectious vibrancy stirs people to grow younger (she is a grandmother herself) just by attending her classes. She is indeed a blessing to our Gainesville community.

Comment by Dennis Shuman

"The Spirit of Gainesville" describes L'Tanya Van Hamersveld perfectly. She's a remarkable, inspirational, multi-talented lady who makes me laugh and feel good as well as enjoy exercising.

I get quite dejected if for some reason I have to miss a Zumba Gold session at the Senior Center and I can't wait for the next one to come round.

I am sure there are many people in the community who deserve to be rewarded for their service but I doubt very much if any one exudes the SPIRIT as does L'Tanya .

Comment by Toni Ferguson

L'Tanya is such a blessing. She is amazing and so positive. She is so full of life and exudes this spirit throughout her classes. She actually cares about the health of her students. She takes the time to talk with her students individually if needed. She demonstrates a genuine interest in the health of all students. She demonstrates how to get the best work out for the body. The classes are so much fun and is full of laughter. I drive approximately fifteen miles and can't wait to get there. L'Tanya is well deserving of this award. After all, what is better for the community than we having good health? YEAH BABY!!!! Congratulations.

Comment by Hazel Gordon

My mom is one of L'Tanya's biggest fans! And, having been to her class for the first time just recently, now I'm a fan, too! L'Tanya brings a unique energy to her Zumba Gold classes that genuinely uplifts all participants---mind, body and spirit. She goes above and beyond by paying attention both during and after class to participants' individual needs, which clearly makes her a beloved member of the Gainesville community, particularly among Gainesville seniors. Thank you, L'Tanya, for all you do for my mom and the Gainesville senior community. You bring them fitness, joy, laughter, and kindness, and they clearly appreciate all you do! L'Tanya gets my mom's vote---and mine, too!--- for truly representing the Spirit of Gainesville!

Comment by Adena Bargad

I started the Zumba Gold class twice a week (now three times a week) at the Senior Recreation Center. I now plan my schedule around that class time so that I don’t miss it. We are so very lucky to have someone like L’Tanya Van Hamersveld who is very skilled in leading us to be more physically and mentally fit. Her musical talents please those of us who love to dance. Her knowledge of safe exercise techniques benefits the whole body. She brings more than 80 people together at each class to enjoy and share our feelings with each other. She certainly raises our spirits, and I would like her to be awarded the Spirit of Gainesville.

Comment by Jackie Cotter

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