Gresham water aerobics instructor gets visit from FOX 12 Surpris - KPTV - FOX 12

FOX 12 Surprise Squad

Gresham water aerobics instructor gets visit from FOX 12 Surprise Squad

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Emmabelle James (KPTV) Emmabelle James (KPTV)

Emmabelle James has dedicated her life to helping senior citizens stay social and active.

Having been a water aerobics instructor at a the Olympic Gym athletic club in Gresham for the last 15 years, James has helped create a friendly and tight-knit community for seniors in the area.

Her daughter, Michelle Spurgeon, said her mother has been a guiding light in many of her students’ lives.

“This is her family,” she said. “She teaches them to keep moving and stay social.”

Spurgeon said social activities are vital for senior citizens who may otherwise be isolated from the rest of the world. James helps her students build friendships and networks all while engaging in physical activity in the pool.

"We come because we care about one another," said James. "This is our family, our aqua family."

“I like to think of her kind of like, all her little ducklings. She just brings them in and has them all in the water and takes care of everybody,” said her daughter.

Outside the pool, James goes above and beyond. From taking her students to lunch to remembering their birthdays, James does her best to brighten the lives of those in her small water aerobics community.

The FOX 12 Surprise Squad recently paid a visit to James and her class during one of their sessions.

For all her efforts, FOX 12 surprised James with 40 new water aerobics kits for her students, plus a $100 gift card for James to spend on herself.

If you know someone in need of having their days brightened by the Fox 12 Surprise Squad, nominate them at

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