Senior Center,Inc: Charlottesville, Part I

The October 23, 2009 meeting of the Senior Services Coalition of Greater Williamsburg featured a spokesperson for the Jefferson Area Board On Aging (JABA) located in Charlottesville.  Curious about what else is working for the older-Americans in that area, I decided to take an explorative trip to that area in early November.

I found and visited the dynamic Senior Center, Inc located at 1180 Pepsi Place in Charlottesville.

During my visit, I spoke with volunteers at the front desk who gave me LOTS of energetic, positive, and valuable information about the Center, its members, staff, numerous activities, and community involvements.

With over 2,000 members (about 1,000 are really ACTIVE), the daily mood is vibrant, exhilorating, and expectant of things to do and to look forward to!!!

The Center was founded in 1960.  (Several members have proudly announced that they celebrate their 50th anniversary in 2010.)  It is a volunteer-run organization that does not receive any Federal funding.  Supporters are local businesses and individuals, as well as paid members.  The Center is the first nationally accredited senior center in Virginia and the 84th nationally.

To keep members ACTIVE and interested, the Center provides over 100 on-going programs and services in a wide variety of topics included in these categories:

Lifelong Learning;  Creative Arts;  Benefits;  Recreational and Social;  Health and Fitness; and Partner Organizations

Member Elise K. Brigham, an energetic 76, shared that she has volunteered at the Center for over 10 years.  Currently, she answers phones in the office when she’s not playing Bridge, exercising in either the arthritis program or three-times-a-week in another program, volunteering at a hospital, or interacting with Kindergarteners in their reading program.   She said, “the children read to ME, then take the book home to read to their parents.” 

Elise also told me that her involvement with school children is coordinated by JABA through a special program: Friends in Schools Helping (FISH).  The program places seniors in schools to provide tutoring, or the senior spends time with students in question and answer sessions where the senior shares what is happening or happened in their life.  She sees where the students develop an understanding of the older person’s lives and it helps the young people to communicate better with the seniors.  Elise says that she loves this opportunity to interact with the younger people.

I also learned that high school students in the Culinary Arts program at Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) cater the Center’s monthly luncheon.  The seniors I spoke with all believe that the Seniors, as well as the students, benefit a great deal from this cooperative endeavor.  I HAD to look into this arrangement and the CATEC Culinary Arts program, so I decided to attend the next luncheon on November 19, which will be in a separate post.

Well, as you can see, my explorative trip was productive.  I learned about an active and strong, well-organized and focused organization that is extremely successful in providing on-going services and programs for their older-American community.  Among their extensive objectives is to keep the senior population interactive with the overall community – including the school age citizens.  As I learn more about this organization, I will share with you so that you may use some of this information to perhaps integrate what is being done that is successful.

Thank you.

To get more information on Senior Center, Inc. in Charlottesville, Virginia refer to:

To get more information on Jefferson Area Board on Aging, refer to:

To get more information on the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) at 434-973-4461.

Please let me know if you have any questions that you would like me to research.  More information on these organizations will be in future posts, as well as my observations and comments, along with interviews with members, staff, or students of each.

Explore posts in the same categories: LifeLong Learning, Senior Centers, Senior Living

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