The Grove City Senior Community Center has experienced quite a few changes over the years, but one thing remains the same – it’s a place to meet great people.
“They do a lot of good,” Rick Reedy said.
Reedy is a trustee with the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Grove City, which has donated about $3,000 to the center this year.
He was dropping off another donation on Friday morning. Amy Perrine, the center’s director, thanked him for “playing Santa.”
“They are so wonderful to us,” she said.
Donations help keep costs low, funding things like musical guests, activities, meals and treats.
The center is located on the ground floor of a senior citizen apartment building – College View Towers, 301 S. Broad St., Grove City.
There have been several renovations since it opened in 1976, and it’s part of the Mercer County Area Agency on Aging.
The facility is funded by block grants, contributions from groups like the Eagles, and fees that seniors pay for things like lunch and certain programs.
“And there’s a lot of community support,” Perrine said.
She is grateful for the people who are willing to share their time and talents with center visitors. On Friday, artist Don Gold was leading a watercolor class, and musician Dan Hogan was singing Christmas tunes during lunch.
“I just love it here,” said Mary Gage, who recently moved to the high rise from New York.
She started a Skip-Bo group, and she spends time encouraging others. Her husband, the late Dr. Bob Gage, was a pastor; she feels she is continuing her role as the pastor’s wife.
“I enjoy hearing others’ stories,” she said.
Anyone 60 and older is welcome to visit the center, even if they don’t live in the high rise. The center is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. for a suggested donation of $2.50. It is closed on holidays.
The center can help cover the cost for those who need it, and reservations must be made two days in advance, Perrine added.
There’s a fitness center, beauty shop, games, guest speakers, health screenings, knitting group, community outings and more. The coffee group meets daily at 8:30 a.m., and it’s one of the most popular gatherings.
“They’re waiting for the center to open,” Perrine said of her arrival to the center each morning.
Perrine joined the Agency on Aging in 1996 as an intern and worked as a case manager. She’s been the director for 18 years and loves her job.
“I love the people. That’s what it’s about,” she said.
Everyone at the center is like a family, including her co-workers Ruth Welton, Deb Barlett and Maryann Miller, and volunteers.
Each day is different and special, and she is glad to be able to help local seniors make new friends or get information on resources and programs.
“It makes a difference,” she said.
She’s learned that little things can mean a lot. One center visitor recalled an Andy Griffith radio program from years ago, and she couldn’t stop smiling when Perrine pulled up a recording on her cell phone.
“That made my day,” she said.
She hopes that the center feels like a safe and kind place for visitors.
Perrine walked through the building, stopping at Gold’s art class. He was showing folks how to paint with watercolor pens.
“I take it up a notch,” he said.
Seniors like learning new skills, which helps boost their self-esteem and confidence.
“We all want to belong somewhere,” Gold said.
Deb “Mouse” Wimer, who lives at the high rise, said she likes all of the center’s programs, and she loves Perrine.
Grove City resident Cynthia Wall said that Friday was her third time at the center, and she enjoys meeting new people, especially Perrine.
“She makes you feel welcome,” she said.
Several ladies agreed that the meals are very good, and that there is always something fun to do at the center.
Darlene Wilson has lived at the high rise for seven years, and she looks forward to the musical guests and lunches. She noted that the staff goes above and beyond.
The transit bus provides transportation to and from the center for 50 cents one way, and the center hosts the farm market nutrition program for those who qualify. The center can also help fill out applications for a variety of assistance programs.
Perrine said that the center is always looking for people like Hogan or Gold to perform or lead group instruction or activities.
“They have a lot to offer,” Gold said.
FOR more information about the Grove City Community Senior Center, call 724-458-6844.