Proposed senior center to be luncheon topic


GREENVILLE — Leading the way to establishing an activity center for senior citizens as well as providing information about area Senior Assistance Programs, Lauren Henry, executive director of the Wayne Health Care Foundation, and Mindy Stebbins, president of the Darke County Senior Outreach program, will be the guest speakers at the Public Employee Retirees (PERI) luncheon meeting.

The meeting will be June 6, 11:30 a.m., at the VFW on Ohio Street in Greenville. The cost of lunch is $9 per person.

Because Henry and Stebbins will be discussing topics that have generated considerable public interest both in the past and the present, PERI is inviting seniors, who are not members of their group, to attend as well. Their reservations must be made by June 2 by calling Vivian Nieport, PERI attendance and contact chairman, at 548-3961. As usual, PERI members will be contacted directly by the PERI calling committee and are encouraged to bring guests.

Statistics show that Darke County is a naturally occurring retirement community. This means it has more retirees per capita than any other group. Although nursing homes and medical centers are plentiful in the area, statistics also show that Darke is one of only a few counties in the state of Ohio that does not have a Senior Activity Center. This is a center where active seniors, retired or not, can socialize and form new friendships while participating in organized activities that are not only beneficial to their health and welfare but which are enjoyable and fun as well.

According to Anne Vehre, years ago, she was a member of another group who had tried to establish an Activity Center with the support of Jay Montgomery, former director of Family Health in Greenville. He wanted to include the center as part of plans that were under way for the construction of a new and expanded health facility, which has since been built. After several months of meeting with the group and much discussion, he had an architect design plans for the center. However, in spite of his efforts and enthusiasm for the project, the center was never built.

Now, it remains to be seen if the Darke County Senior Outreach Committee can succeed where the past group failed. According to Henry and Stebbins, they are off to an excellent start with a recent donation of more than $1,000 from Village Green. Nevertheless, they say, it will take considerably more money and county-wide support if they are to succeed. So far, their efforts and the efforts of their committee have been impressive.

As one senior, who wishes to remain anonymous said, “One point is evident in this naturally occurring retirement area. Seniors have tremendous power if they will only realize it and use it. IF they want that center, they CAN get it. Senior power, especially in overwhelming numbers and particularly at voting time, is not to be under estimated.”

Henry and Stebbins, will conclude their program by discussing existing Senior Assistance Programs that are currently available in the area which can provide much needed help if and when it is needed. These programs, they say, are often not taken advantage of because seniors might not be aware they are readily available or how they might apply for them.

After their presentation, a discussion period will follow.

Staff report

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