National Senior Center Month is September and the Bradley Senior Activity Center will be celebrating its seniors and honoring those who have supported the center over the decades.
On Sept. 19 at 10 a.m., the center will host Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis as they bring a special proclamation to the Bradley Senior Activity Center and join in the celebration with the community.
There will be a special prize for the oldest member of the local senior center and a prize for the best story about the center and/or why local seniors attend the activity center, according to Sharon Westfield, coordinator at the senior center.
“I am so excited about this event because we can showcase our senior center and make more seniors age 55 and over aware of all the programs and activities we have to offer daily five days a week,” Westfield said. “If you ask any one of our seniors who attend every day, they will tell you that it is like a family, being part of the senior center.”
Patsy Presley, administrative assistant, said, “We’re trying to let seniors know this is a good place to come and socialize with others and have fun. We have a lot going on out here. Sharon has turned this program around 200 percent since being the director.”
In addition to making new friends, fellowshipping, singing, dancing, listening to interesting speakers, playing cards, pool and other activities, Westfield said between 500 to 600 seniors come to the Senior Center each week but there is always room for more.
“We’ve had 54 new members from April to August this year,” she said. “In April we had a health fair that was a success. We also had a yard sale as a fundraiser. We honored all 54 of our volunteers with a certificate of appreciation. In May we had a Hawaiian Luau and a Western Day. The seniors loved these activities. We also went on a day trip to the Amish Farm for our monthly mystery trip. In June our mystery trip took us to the Cherokee Removal State Park.”
According to Westfield, the seniors at the center are having a wonderful time with programs that featured members of the Veterans Affairs during the Fourth of July, a fundraiser dance and a night of dancing in August with Jameson Dean from Lookout Mountain.
“We have people from health care who come in every month, we have gospel singing every Monday, line dancing with Judy Rogers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — and we have the Troubadors every first Thursday for a dance at 10 a.m.,” Westfield said. “We also have bridge every Tuesday at 12:30, nutrition education once a month, storytime with Jackie Moore once a month, Tina Baker teaches oil painting twice a month, a CD dance once or twice a month and our puzzle room is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.”
With so many activities going on at the Senior Center, Westfield, Presley and Delois McCleary, the nutrition coordinator, said they embrace the center’s motto: “We don’t quit playing because we get old; we get old because we quit playing.”
In fact, Westfield said the senior activity center’s successful $1 lunch meals has generated a lot of positive buzz in the community, adding, “At present we are in a contest with 10 other counties and we have gone from 680 to 700 meals a month. We hope at the end of August we will have served 800 meals.”
If the Bradley Senior Activity Center wins the contest, the staff from Southeast Tennessee Area on Agency and Disability and grill master Ben Vincent will have a cookout at the center.
Staff at the center said community support and senior participation are a huge part of their success, which is why they are so excited about National Senior Center Month.
“We are very excited and thrilled about National Senior Center Month,” Westfield said. “We’d like to invite the community to come out and celebrate with us on Sept. 19 as we have fun and honor those who made it all possible — our seniors.”
For further information, call the Bradley Senior Activity Center, located at 230 Urbane Road N.W., at 559-2171.