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Gloria Alvino brings positive energy, laughter to Linden Ponds

Created date

July 23rd, 2013

When faced with unforeseen obstacles from traffic jams to chronic illness Gloria Alvino responds with a conscious decision to be positive. It s happening anyway, so you can look at it as a curse, or you can look at it as a challenge, says Gloria, who lives at Linden Ponds. Gloria graduated with a bachelor s degree in pharmacy in 1955; she was one of the few women permitted in the class. She later received a master s degree in health and human services, owned a prescription business with her late sister Barbara Fitzpatrick, and lectured on drug abuse. But in 1984, when Gloria was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and given three years to live, she began to expand her deep-rooted expertise in pharmacy to alternative therapies and spirituality.

Sharing and healing

I always believed in the body s power to heal using its own immune system, she says. More than 30 years later, Gloria s condition is in remission with help from a strict diet of natural foods and a positive, healthful lifestyle. Gloria is sharing her positivity, knowledge, and philosophies of the body s healing power with her neighbors at Linden Ponds by leading a monthly group and hosting related programs on the community s TV station and in its theater. The fourth Thursday of each month, Gloria leads meetings of Heart to Heart on Health Mind, Body, Spirit, an hour meeting open to people who live and work at Linden Ponds. Gloria speaks about a particular topic, opens the discussion to the group, and ends with a laugh-in exercise. All group activities are aimed to educate, inform, inspire, and motivate. During the laugh-in, group members begin by forcing laughter, which becomes genuine. The human body doesn t know the difference, Gloria says. The importance of laughter transcends Gloria s other community contributions, as she encourages the airing of additional comedic programming on Linden Ponds TV6, and invites guest speakers and performers to the community, including comedian Loretta Laroche, who visited Linden Ponds this spring, performing to a full house.

Joyful gatherings

More than 130 people are connected to the growing group, which formed over the last year. Most meetings attract more than 40 members, and those involved say the Heart to Heart meetings leave them feeling good, like I ve done something, plus just the feeling of being happy and kind of joyous, says Marion Ricca, who participates with her husband Paul. Marion describes the meetings as doing things to really make you laugh and feel good about yourself, she says. Everything is done in such a beautiful way. Adds Barbara Ireland, who is also involved in the group s organization, It s an hour, and it s amazing what you can do in an hour. Of Gloria, Barbara says, She s a remarkable lady. She has a lot of knowledge in how to care for the body through not just food, but little things that you can do to make your life better. The monthly meetings are an extension of a nonprofit organization Gloria founded in 1992. She has revived work for the organization, Heart to Heart Associates, Inc., which is dedicated to education and the advocacy of research in the fields of personal development, empowerment, integrative medicine, and optimal health. From the serenity of her Linden Ponds apartment home, where calming music plays and houseplants thrive, Gloria explains how she empowers herself and others to make the choice to be happy. When you choose to laugh, when you choose to smile, you choose to be happy, she says. Gloria and the group s members recognize the importance of bringing happiness to the community as well as to themselves. We want to be a positive force in the community, and we want people to want to be around us. That s what it s all about, Barbara says. Sometimes the positive energy is more tangible. I do a lot of hugging, too, says Gloria, who is accustomed to being stopped in the hallways for hugs. For more information about Gloria Alvino and Heart to Heart Associates, visit hearttoheartassociates.com.

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