Senior Center Grand Opening fosters a sense of belonging

by Joan Tucker

The Stockbridge Area Senior Center celebrated its Grand Opening on August 27. The crowd assembled at the Center’s new location on 219 W. Elm—the site of the old Stockbridge firehouse—to welcome seniors with a picnic lunch and a lovely sense of community. Gary Hicks was on hand to provide music for the event. Folks greeted each other and introduced themselves with smiles on their faces, truly a happy occasion.

Jodelle Sparks, president of the SASC board, shared that a Senior Center has been in the works for years. A founding group of many local people, along with the 5 Healthy Towns Foundation, Stockbridge Wellness Coalition, and The Faith and Other Community Leaders Committee were thrilled to see their ideas, planning, and work come to fruition.

As Dana Blaszkowski, director of the SASC, noted in her speech after the ribbon cutting, the health of our aging adults depends on the following factors: 10% genes, 10% medication, and 80% socialization and a sense of belonging, according to the National Council on Aging. The importance of socialization was clearly recognized by member Diane Carpenter of Munith, who described the Senior Center as a nice place to gather with friends for activities and lunch.

An engaging Vaughn Russell touted the benefits of the Chair Yoga and Chair Fit strength training classes as well as the chair massages. He couldn’t believe the improved flexibility and balance he achieved from both classes. Stockbridge Area Senior Center also offers activities such as soap-making, art classes, book club and daily Bingo—to name a few. Coffee hour is at 9 a.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays and walking starts at 10 a.m. in front of the Senior Center building. Lunch follows at 12 noon, providing an opportunity to visit with other members.

During the Grand Opening, the founding members as well as the attendees clearly displayed their pride in this new resource. In her address to those in attendance, Blaszkowski remembered to thank many individuals and organizations in the community for assisting in making this new senior center into a reality.

The time and hard work from all have paid off. The benefits to the community will be invaluable in promoting the well-being of our seniors.

Dana Blaszkowski, director of SASC, welcomes all and shares her appreciation for all the groups involved. Photo credit: James Clark-Swalla

Betti Wetherell and Jodelle Sparks cut the ribbon for the Grand Opening of the Stockbridge Area Senior Center. Photo credit: James Clark-Swalla

Vaughn Russell (left) with his Chair Fit instructor Mark Blackman. Photo credit:
Joan Tucker

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