Recruiting Leaders and Instructors


AF Massachusetts Chapter Partners with Community College to Train Students as AF Exercise Program Instructors
Nebraska Expands AF Programs Through Professional Groups and Systems


AF Massachusetts Chapter Partners with Community College to Train Students as AF Exercise Program Instructors


  • Funding for the project came from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts.
  • A chapter program trainer who is also an adjunct professor at the Holyoke Community College spearheaded the partnership. A letter of understanding was developed between the school and faculty person.
  • She taught a one-credit course in AF Exercise Program to students who already had the credentials to become AF Exercise Program instructors. The Foundation Grant paid for their materials and provided a small stipend ($200 per course) for them to teach their first course of classes.  The grant also paid for the faculty person to oversee the students.
  • Twelve students were trained, and many were already exercise leaders or had some experience in health and fitness. 
  • Trained students taught at sites that were known to the chapter. Students did not have to find their own sites to teach.  There were seven or eight program sites such as a fitness club, Council on Aging, etc.




  • The program reached mostly seniors.
  • It raised arthritis awareness among people who are in related careers/fields such as nursing, health and fitness, etc.
  • The trained instructors are continuing to teach at original sites or other places.
  • The school wants to keep offering the AF Exercise Program as a one-credit course and possibly begin offering the AF Aquatic Program.


Key Learnings/ Tips


  • Build partner relationships through someone well -known and respected by both partners.
  • Have someone who is local to the area manage the partnership program.
  • Make stipend money available to compensate the student teachers.
  • Find students who were already experienced and credentialed, and make sure the potential instructors have adequate experience prior to teaching.
  • Remain flexible with the plan.
  • Train people affiliated with a particular partner site, like a community college to begin a partnership. The community college was a good site because the students tended to be older and remain in the communities where they live and go to school.
  • Schedule periodic progress report calls with partners and keep constant communications and updates with partners.
  • If you are compensating people, work out what 24 class sessions will be in terms of money.
  • Expect unforeseen circumstances, especially for a first time project.


Contact – Judith Levine/ Massachusetts Chapter/ 617-219-8218/


Nebraska Expands AF Programs Through Professional Groups and Systems


  • The AF Nebraska Chapter and the Nebraska Health and Human Services Nebraska Arthritis Program (NAP) have used both a mass mailing and a systems approach to recruitment.
  • For the mass mailing, they purchased professional group’s mailing lists, including those for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and occupational and physical therapists.
  • They sent out letters, signed by the Nebraska Department of Public Health and the chapter, inviting these health professionals to become AF Self-Help Program leaders. Three hundred health professionals responded. Initially, the leaders were trained as AF Self-Help Program leaders. Later, some were trained to be AF Exercise Program instructors.
  • In 2006, the Nebraska Arthritis Program in partnership with the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) and Nebraska State Unit on Aging (NSUA) contracted with the AF to offer the AF Exercise Program to older adults in Nebraska through the eight regional Area Agencies on Aging  (AAA) and their related senior centers. The AAA recruited individuals to be trained.
  • The OWH program “Every Woman Mattershas identified about 4000 participants appropriate for the AF classes who will receive mailings to notify them about classes being offered in their area. 




  • Recruitment via the mass mailing resulted in health professionals being trained in new areas and expanded the reach of the AF throughout the state. Some of the trained health professionals were later trained as trainers for the AF Self-Help and AF Exercise Program.
  • As of October 2006, 14 leaders, representing each of the 8 regional AAAs, had been trained to lead the AF Exercise Program or AF Self-Help Program in senior centers in their region.  In the future, some of these regional staff will be trained as trainers so they can train additional senior center instructors. 
  • The partnership with the AAAs has achieved the capacity to provide the AF programs in all 93 counties in Nebraska. 


Key Learnings/ Tips


  • The partnership between the AF Nebraska Chapter and the Nebraska Arthritis Program was key.
  • Doing something basic like a mailing to recruit leaders enabled the state to spend indirect costs of the grant in an effective way.
  • Ultimately, recruiting through the regional AAA and their related senior centers resulted in the AF programs being offered routinely in local community settings; thereby, enhancing both reach and maintenance of the programs.


 Contact – Bruce Rowe/Nebraska Arthritis Program/402-471-6439/



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