Steve Saling (left), a resident of the Leonard Florence Center in Chelsea and cofounder of the ALS Residence Initiative, was joined by former professional football player O.J.Brigance (right) and his wife, Chanda, who recently visited the center.
Steve Saling (left), a resident of the Leonard Florence Center in Chelsea and cofounder of the ALS Residence Initiative, was joined by former professional football player O.J.Brigance (right) and his wife, Chanda, who recently visited the center.

EMPOWERING WOMEN: The YWCA Greater Newburyport recently honored Charlene Dolan and Nancy McCarthy as Community Champions.

Each year, the Y recognizes individuals who exemplify the organization’s mission of enhancing the quality of life for women and their families in extraordinary ways.

Dolan, owner of Dolan Financial Services in Amesbury and Newburyport, was recognized for helping many women achieve financial literacy, stability, and independence.

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For more than 10 years, she has been a volunteer mentor of people living at the YWCA women’s residence and women escaping domestic abuse through the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in Newburyport.

“Charlene empowers our residents not only through her financial training but also through her caring spirit,” said John Feehan, executive director of the Y. “Her volunteer work with the YWCA since 2002 has helped residents get back on their feet and empowered them to live better, more secure lives.”

McCarthy, co-owner of Natural High Fitness Club in Newburyport, was recognized for empowering women by providing the inspiration they need to achieve improved physical strength, endurance, and self-esteem.

She has mentored women who think they do not have what it takes to be an athlete. Through her popular Couch to 5K program, boot camp, and personal training, she has changed attitudes and transformed the lives of many women.

“Nancy is an amazing human being,” said Ilene Harnch-Grady, the Y’s health and wellness director. “She inspires everybody to believe that they can be successful in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.”

LOOKING FOR GUIDANCE: Former football star O.J. Brigance and his wife, Chanda, recently toured the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea in the hope of developing a similar center in Baltimore.

Brigance, 43, played for the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, St. Louis Rams, and one year with the New England Patriots before retiring from football in 2002. The next year, he returned to the Ravens as director of player development, a job he still holds.

In 2007, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a debilitating disease that weakens and then kills motor neurons in the brain, which means they cannot send signals to the body’s muscles. Functions such as speaking, limb movement, and breathing eventually shut down.

The Leonard Florence Center for Living, part of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, was the first urban Green House residence in the country. As such, it is different from traditional skilled nursing homes in architecture, size, and organization, and designed to give the home character and its residents autonomy.

The model of care features state-of-the-art technology, accommodations, and amenities.

There are two areas of the center that serve specialized populations, one for those living with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and another serving those with multiple sclerosis.

Last May, former New Orleans Saints football player Steve Gleason visited the center to plan a similar facility in New Orleans. The Team Gleason House of Innovative Living is scheduled to open next month.

Visit www.chelseajewish.org for more information.

FRIENDLY FEUD: People who live at Brooksby Village in Peabody recently teamed with students who work at the retirement community to play “Family Feud.”

More than 240 people attended the event and $1,700 was raised through ticket sales to benefit the village’s scholarship fund.

Student employees become eligible for the scholarships — for college or an accredited trade school — by completing 1,000 hours of work at the village during a consecutive two-year period.

For the “Family Feud” competition, 18 residents and 22 students were mixed into eight teams of five people each.

The winning team included John and Sue Evans, Andrew Zucco, Leah Bolduc, and Kim Jones .

Visit www.ericksonliving.com.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Susan and Ken Weinstein are being honored at a brunch hosted the Friends of the Hillel Library at 10:45 a.m. Sunday at Cohen Hillel Academy in Marblehead. The Weinsteins are the 2013 recipients of the Edith Bloch Award, which has been given annually since 1987 to recognize a member of the community for his or her commitment to learning and the pursuit of knowledge. . . . Middlesex Community College student Gabrielle Davis of Dracut has been named one of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s “29 Who Shine,” an annual program to recognize outstanding students representing each of the state’s 29 public campuses. A mother of three, Davis was chosen because of her academic achievement, student leadership, and community service. She and the other students are being recognized in a ceremony at the State House May 2.