Staff and Instructor’s Bios

Instructors and Always Active staff at Functional Aging Institute Training.
November 9, 2019

STAFF

Genny Pinzon, Health Promotion Program Manager at Always Active

“If you want to travel fast go alone, if you want to travel far go together” African Proverb.

Genny began her career as an instructor in 2010. She started by teaching Zumba Gold to older adults and felt in love with the possibility she had to impact their lives through movement.
Now that she leads the Always Active program, she has the opportunity to incorporate movement, strength, cardio and flexibility in one class. For her it is rewarding and powerful to see participants who could not move well, regain their independence, build a community and continue live their lives to their full capacity. Genny invites you to try a free class! Please visit: www.alwaysactive.org

AFAA -Group Exercise Instructor 2015, Personal trainer 2017, Zumba instructor since 2010, Licensed to teach Zumba® Toning, Aqua Zumba®, Zumba Sentao®, Zumba Gold®, Zumba® Kids & Kids Jr., Zumba® Step, Zumba in Circuit. AED/CPR 2018

Luz Villaneuva, Always Active Program Specialist and Instructor

“San Francisco is my hometown and I am honored to be able to serve its communities.”

Luz has been involved in sports her whole life. She began her career in Nutrition, graduating from the California Culinary Academy in 2004, before transitioning into Fitness. At 19, Luz suffered a spinal injury and spent five years recovering. During that time, she worked in the first multi-disciplinary wellness center in the country; where participants integrated nutrition, yoga, medical lectures and art classes into their comprehensive physical therapy. Aiding her own recovery, Luz studied to become a yoga teacher while working. In 2012, she received her first fitness certification from Yoga To The People SF, which is a donation-based school.  From there, making wellness programs accessible to everyone became her primary focus. She began teaching all levels- from fit to frail. Eventually, her ability to modify exercises became her specialty. She returned to San Francisco and found that Always Active was the perfect fit. She enjoys teaching classes bilingually and for all abilities.

Certifications: Nutrition, Yoga, Senior Fitness, Tai-Chi, Group Exercise, Functional Aging Specialist, CPR/AED/First Aid

Diana Lara,  Health Promotion Program Assistant and Instructor.

You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop”. –Rumi

Diana Lara is a dancer, performer, and educator. She started dancing ballet when she was 8 years old in her native country Honduras. She studied contemporary dance in Mexico for 15 years, and graduated from the choreography program of the Center for Research and Choreography at the Mexican National Institute of Fine Arts in 2003. Diana has taught dance and somatic classes for 20 years in English and Spanish with different populations including older adults, professional dancers, and women recovering from domestic violence and trauma. She loves to teach skills to increase body awareness, coordination, and balance; and to get people comfortable with going in and out of the floor. Diana is currently studying a master in science in Kinesiology at San Francisco State University. Diana lives in San Francisco, and she enjoys taking walks in nature with her husband and dog Tino.

Certifications: M.S. in population and health, 200-hour yoga certification, Body-Mind Centering® certification on Developmental movement and yoga, group exercise leader by the Functional Aging institute, CPR/AED.
Visit: www.dianalara-somatics.com

Kevin Cordero, Health Promotion Program Assistant and Instructor.

“The moment you stop learning is the moment you start dying.” – Albert Einstein

Kevin graduated as a Kinesiology major focused on therapeutic studies.  As a student, he began working with older adults as part of an internship to educate them on fall prevention methods and help them strengthen their bodies in order to maintain their independence.  Throughout the time he spent training older adults, he witnessed all the progress they achieved not just physically, but also their emotional and social health which overall improved their self-confidence. Working with this population challenges him to think outside the box and consider how the body works as we age and how I can help them adapt to the needs that comes with age. For Kevin, every day is different when it comes to working with older adults.  Each has their own capabilities and piece of knowledge to share which is something he can take with him in life.

Certifications: BS Kinesiology, NASM, CPR/First Aid/AED, ASFA, FAI

Sue Mittelman, Always Active Regional Coordinator and Instructor

Sue wanted to work with seniors around fitness and active aging after watching her mother struggle with severe osteoporosis in her final years.  Fortunately, she discovered that the Always Active program was looking for volunteers and willing to train.  The timing was perfect.  Dr. Christian Thompson (USF) and Jim Spinelli trained her to lead general group strength and flexibility classes.  Sue received additional training to lead Fall Prevention classes. That was nine years ago.  For the past 7 years she has been on the staff of the Aquatic Park Senior Center and the Always Active Program as a regional coordinator and exercise leader. 

Certifications: I am certified through the American Senior Fitness Association and the Functional Aging Institute.

Christian J. Thompson, Fall Prevention Program Director

 “If it is to be, it is up to me” ~ Frank H.T. Rhodes

Dr. Chris is an Associate Professor at the Kinesiology Department at University of San Francisco. He has been teaching with Always Active since its inception in 2007, and he created the Fall Prevention Program that is offered at 30th Street Senior Center and Aquatic Park Senior Center.  Reducing fall risk and improving fitness in older adults is his career passion.

Dr. Chris holds a Ph.D. in Physical Therapy.

INSTRUCTORS

Mara Surel, Always Active instructor

“If you see yourself in others, then whom can you harm?” ~The Buddha

Mara Surel is a health care professional, movement specialist, interdisciplinary artist, and educator whose training in somatics has taken place in many areas of dance as well as in the origins of movement through Body-Mind Centering®, Feldenkrais®, and Axis Syllabus. Working in Integrative Medicine, which incorporates Natural Medicine and Western Medicine together, and seeking to expand her work outside of the health care setting, teaching fitness to older adults was a natural next step. Mara loves empowering individuals to take command of their own Wellness. Dancing since the age of five, she has had the privilege of performing on five continents. Mara loves exploring through travel and adventure and can often be found taking class wherever she may be. She has been teaching movement in San Francisco since 2011. Students describe Mara’s classes as “Active”, “Enthusiastic”, “All-Encompassing”, “Versatile”.

Certifications: Functional Aging Institute Group Fitness Instructor, Meditation, Energy Medicine, Alternative Therapies, Mind-Body Medicine, Holistic Diet

Susie Tyner, Always Active instructor

Susie is a very dynamic and vibrant exercise instructor. She is a community leader who brought Always Active program to the George W. Davis Senior Center at in the Bayview neighborhood.  She teaches regularly there and also at other Always Active sites around the city.   She also loves drumming and leads a drumming group at George W. Davis Senior Center as well as other recreational activities there. 

Susan Sullivan, Fall Prevention Program Instructor

Susan has been teaching fitness for over 17 years and works as a personal trainer and group fitness leader.  Prior to her work in fitness, Susan danced professionally for many years & still occasionally performs. Movement has been her life for 50 years, and she loves to inspire others to experience health & fitness.

Certifications: She holds certifications in personal training, senior fitness, yoga & Pilates. Certified ukulele teacher for seniors in San Francisco and Emeryville.

Certifications: ACSM Exercise Physiologist Certified. FAI Functional Aging Specialist