St. Augustine, Florida - Winter 2019
"101 Ways To Be Young At Any Age"
"I can't imagine waking up in the morning and having nothing to do," Bob German pondered recently over lunch at the Andaman Asian Bistro in St Augustine. Bob and his wife, Fran, volunteer together for Council on Aging's Meals-on-Wheels program, and also for a Meals-on-Wheels program in Hendersonville, NC where they live most of the year. Bob and Fran retired from the real estate industry in South Florida years ago - but "retired" is not an accurate word to describe this dynamic duo. Their retired activities include practicing and teaching the martial art, Qigong, leading classes on healthy aging, and running an organization that combats child trafficking in Thailand.
Bob and Fran founded the non-profit, "Bob & Fran's ACT Project" to Abolish Child Trafficking, after spending nine winters in Thailand and witnessing first-hand the ravaging effects of a combination of extreme poverty and a booming international sex tourism industry. Since then, they have been overseeing the organization year-round from home.
"Refugees there have no rights and live in situations of extreme poverty," Fran explained. "These children are really slaves." Through the organization, the couple raises awareness of the problem and raises funds to prevent it. "The only way to stop it is through providing education to the children, especially in speaking and reading English," Fran explained. Receiving an education creates career opportunities for the children that help them find a way out of poverty and escape the grip of those who would exploit them.
When they have free time in St Augustine, Bob and Fran have taught classes at the River House, COA's lifelong learning center. "It's like a beautiful clubhouse at an exclusive country club," Fran remarked. "It's a jewel," Bob concurred. "You don't have to be old to benefit from COA."
Bob & Fran German, Speakers. Authors.
Council On Aging Volunteers.
Years ago, Bob and Fran each dealt with serious, life-threatening illnesses - Bob with cancer and Fran with myasthenia gravis. Even though 11 doctors told Fran that she would never get better, would always be on medication and that her life expectancy would be shortened, she was determined to prove them wrong. Fran and Bob both regained good health again by making serious lifestyle changes. These include practicing Qigong, meditation, and, most important to them, switching to a whole-food, plant-based diet.
These experiences inspired them to help others not just survive, but thrive, no matter what their age. They teach Qigong, present their Power of Food workshops, and authored the book, "101 Ways To Be Young At Any Age. "The book is a compilation of articles they have written over the years, and offers "practical wisdom to reverse your aging, starting now." Look for excerpts of the book to be published in COA's newsletter in coming months courtesy of the authors, and CLICK HERE TO ORDER one or more. All proceeds from the book go directly to support Bob & Fran's ACT Project in Thailand.
Bob summarized some simple ways to stay young: "You can reverse your age by being involved, giving back, service to others, and also taking care of yourself - body and mind." Both Fran and Bob highly recommend volunteering for COA as part of that practice. As Bob said it so well, "You will be rewarded more than you can imagine - satisfaction guaranteed!"
To learn more about volunteering for COA in St. Augustine, call 904-209-3700.