Premier Team Highlight: Joyce Baker
We would like to close the year out by celebrating one of our own, Joyce Baker, because we are all so incredibly grateful for all that she does. Joyce has been teaching group fitness classes at Premier for over 10 years, but aerobics and Pilates are not her only passions. She also spends significant time giving back to her community, especially so this year. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joyce, with the help of a few sewing machines, has single-handedly made over two thousand masks for people in our community. With a year full of unprecedented challenges, community support has become more necessary than ever. Joyce Baker has stepped up in this department in a big way, giving us a sense of inspiration and hope.
In the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic here in the US, Joyce decided to help by creating masks for the public. She became a part of a group called the Mask Marvels, and put her sewing machine to work. Her goal has been to make 100 masks per week, every week, and she has been consistently hitting that mark. The Mask Marvels have created thousands of masks for healthcare workers, hospice workers, and pretty much anyone who expresses a need for masks. Joyce even made themed masks for someone’s 90th birthday party. During the peak of all this mask making, Joyce’s sewing machine broke down. She contacted a company called SewingMachineParts.com to buy a new pedal, and by the end of the phone call, the company had been so excited about the work that Joyce was doing that they offered her over $1200 off of a brand new sewing machine, which she humbly accepted.
Beyond being a Mask Marvel, Joyce works at an animal hospital, bakes cakes, teaches Pilates and water aerobics at Premier, and is a general advocate for health and wellness. Joyce admits that she was never a particularly athletic young person. In fact, her fitness journey, beyond the occasional hula hooping, didn’t start until she turned 40, which was coincidentally around the time she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Joyce’s husband gifted her a gym membership for her 40th birthday and Joyce fit right in; within just 4 months of attending she actually became a fitness instructor at her gym! Joyce fell in love with Pilates, spin, and water aerobics, but more importantly, she fell in love with the community. It is clear that Joyce teaches group fitness classes for the people. She enjoys teaching things that the average person can do every day that help them feel good about themselves. She says, “I don’t teach to show people what I can do, I teach to show them what they can do”. Joyce admits that she gets a lot of joy from helping people build their confidence and realize their potential. If you haven’t yet taken a class with Joyce, we highly recommend them! (Group Fitness Schedule)
In particular, Joyce loves showing others with chronic illnesses such as diabetes that it is possible to have an active, healthy, and happy life. She notes that “a lot of people think that because they have a chronic illness, they can’t work out”. She does not believe this to be true. As someone with type 1 diabetes, Joyce wears a glucose monitor. She chooses to wear it on her arm, clearly visible to others, to not only normalize it, but also to show people that one can be active and do things like Pilates, water aerobics, or cycling with a chronic illness. Joyce welcomes the conversation and uses it as an opportunity to inspire others to take control of their health. When asked if her diabetes hinders her from doing the things she wants to do, she said, “No. I don’t think it hinders me from doing anything… I can let it hinder my life, but I’m not going to”.
Beyond making masks, baking cakes, grooming at the veterinary hospital, and teaching at Premier Health & Fitness Center, Joyce somehow also finds time to train her poodle puppy, Banff, to be a diabetes alert dog. Banff is learning to detect distinct odors indicating Joyce’s low blood sugar levels in their early stages, before they become too dangerous. He is also objectively adorable.
We at Premier are so proud to have Joyce as a part of our community. For 10 years, she has inspired others, helped them build and maintain their confidence, and guided them through fun and active classes; now she is serving the community in a different, and very important way via her mask making. When asked about what Joyce likes to do for herself, she referred to what she does for others, claiming “This is what I do for myself because it makes me feel good”.