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1 737-23361 • March 2016 Vol. 1,(302) Number



Celebrating Life After 50! (302) 737-2336 • • 200 White Chapel Dr. Newark, DE 19713

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200 White Chapel Dr. Newark, DE 19713

(302) 737-2336


TABLE OF CONTENTS Director’s Message


Calendar of Events


Meet our Directors



Meet our Staff


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Board Members- Past & Present


NSC Through the Years


1966 to 2016




The Senior Center Poem






MAIN CENTER HOURS: Monday – Thursday: 7:30am – 8:30pm Friday: 7:30am – 5:00pm

FAX: (302) 737-2636

MEMBERSHIP DUES: $30/year or $300/lifetime

2016 is a GREAT year to turn 50... Join Us! In honor of our 50th Anniversary, NSC is giving away 50 LIFETIME MEMBERSHIPS to people turning 50 in 2016! As a Lifetime Member you will have access to: • Supervised exercises for every ability • Volunteer Opportunities • Enrichment Activities • Freshly Prepared Meals- including Meals on Wheels • Caregiver Resource and much more!

Drawing to be held on September 30th 2016 To be eligible, you must have been born in 1966.

Please visit to enter.

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OUR MISSION: The Newark Senior Center enhances the lives

of the 50+ community by providing resources and opportunities for growth in body, mind and spirit.

Dear Friends, The Newark Senior Center is very proud to be celebrating 50 years of service to the community this year. With more than 4,000 current members and countless past members, we recognize the accomplishments of the past and look to the future and many more years of service. The NSC is still the first and only nationally accredited senior center in the state of Delaware. One of the key components of the accreditation is the relationship to the community. Throughout the past 50 years, the Board and staff have relied on the dedication of community stakeholders to meet the needs of seniors. Under the guidance of hundreds who have served on our volunteer Board of Directors and so many willing volunteers in the community who share their time and talent, the Center has become a national model. Early leadership recognized the importance of providing a comfortable place for members to socialize. As life expectancies increased, there was more emphasis on aging well and the importance of physical activity. The true needs of the community were taken into consideration, as plans for the new facility materialized. It was also very important to provide for our aging community through the Meals on Wheels and transportation programs. As we look to the future, we try to be good stewards of this valuable community resource. We work very hard each day to provide a safe and accessible facility and to be responsive to the needs and desires of our members and the changing needs of our aging population. It has been my honor to serve as the 4th Executive Director of the Center for the past 10 years. It brings me great joy as I see the positive impact the Center has on the lives of our members. I am constantly reminded of the of the quote by Robert Browning, and the title of our Charles Parks sculpture, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be�. So many opportunities, so many resources, the Newark Community is very fortunate to have such a Center. Thank you for all YOU have done to help build a strong foundation for the future. Sincerely,











Executive Director



Carla Grygiel







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CALENDAR OF EVENTS Come Celebrate With Us! APRIL 9: All That Glitters:

SEPTEMBER 14: Housing Fair

APRIL 28-30: Spring Flea Market

SEPTEMBER 30: The Honeycombs Return!

MAY 6: 50th Anniversary Ice Cream Social

OCTOBER: Mayor’s Community Breakfast

MAY 11: Health Fair

OCTOBER 27-29: Fall Flea Market

JUNE - AUGUST: Outdoor Concert Series

DECEMBER 30: New Year’s Celebration

50th Anniversary Celebration- Dinner & Dancing

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Gertrude Johnson

Executive Director: 1967 – 1981 Gertrude Johnson came to the NSC from the Home Economics Department of the University of Delaware; she was also a member of the Soroptomist Club. The entire senior center concept was new, so the Board and staff were free to plan programs and set a course for the future. Gertrude realized the importance of offering a comfortable welcoming center. She also realized the importance of responding to the needs of seniors in the community. Gertrude had a marvelous way with people, she was gentle and kind and listened carefully and always came up with the right way to do something or the best way to get started. She set the tone for the Center; she cared about the people, all the people. During Gertrude’s time as Executive Director, membership reached 500. With growing participation from the community, the Center expanded both its staff and space. A full time secretary was the first to be hired, followed by a social worker, program director, Meals on Wheels coordinator, and many others. A mini bus was purchased to provide transportation to and from the Center, as well as, trips throughout the area. As needs increased, Gertrude led the Center in an effort to develop programs, offer lunch five days a week, and establish a Memorial Fund.

Margaret Catts

Executive Director: 1981 – 1997 Gertrude served as Margaret’s mentor; she adopted the best of what Gertrude brought to the Center. As Executive Director, Margaret Catts, also with a University of Delaware Home Economics background and a member of the Soroptomists, continued to expand the Center programs and services. Margaret had the foresight to prepare for the increasing population of seniors. She, along with the Board and many community stakeholders, raised the funding to build a new building which is still a model senior center today. With Margaret’s leadership, the facility at 200 White Chapel Drive became a reality in 1996. The $3 million building was dedicated on Sunday, May 19th 1996. The new facility offered the capacity for many new programs such as water exercise in the Gore Therapeutic Pool, a wide array programming, support groups, and wellness activities. In 1997, Margaret was honored as a “Local Hero” by MBNA. She received the award for “Excellence in Community Service” for her efforts on behalf of the Newark Senior Center and the Meals on Wheels Delaware Program.

“From the beginning, in the world of senior centers, the government had the idea that the elderly needed to be taken care of. But Newark was lucky to have focused on the social needs. Newark was far ahead of its time.”

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K. Jean Willia ms

Executive Director: 1997-2006 Jean Williams came to the Center with a broad base of experience in the non-profit sector as a supervisor, implementer, planner and fund developer. She previously worked at Family and Workplace Connection and the Chesapeake Bay Girl Scout Council. Jean has a B.S. in Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and attained the Certificate of Non-Profit Management through the Center for Community Research & Service in the School of Public Policy and Administration at University of Delaware. During Jean Williams’ time as Executive Director, she worked to develop a strategic plan for the future. Concerned with increasing awareness in the greater Newark area, Jean developed a Communications and Volunteer Coordinator position, in addition to an Education Council. Dances, birthday parties, art classes and short weekly trips were added to the Center’s schedule of events. A generous bequest by Warner Perry, enabled the Center to expand the newly built facility. Again, responding to the needs of the membership, an education wing, fitness center and additional capacity in the food services area were constructed. Added space allowed for the development of a Computer Club and a new variety of exercise classes. The Center soon surpassed 4,000 members, serving 300 people each day. Jean spearheaded the effort to become the first and only nationally accredited senior center in the state of Delaware. The National Institute of Senior Center accreditation was earned in 2003. The NSC became a model senior center in Delaware, and also gained national recognition.

Carla Grygiel

Executive Director: 2006 – Present Carla brings diverse experience to the Center. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as INC. 100 companies. Carla Grygiel has also worked with various non-profits throughout the Newark community. Carla holds a B.A. in Chemistry and Economics from Washington and Jefferson College and a Masters of Administrative Science from Johns Hopkins University. As Executive Director, Carla works diligently to meet the growing needs of the Newark Senior Center. A major focus has been on the stewardship of the facility. During the past 10 years, the Center has: replaced the roof, updated HVAC equipment, replaced furnishing and carpeting, renovated the pool and expanded the food services area. Local foundations, businesses and individuals have invested more than $1.3 million in the facility. With more than 75,000 visits to the Center each year, keeping a welcoming, safe facility is a priority for Carla and her staff. Under Carla’s leadership, the Center developed an Early Memory Loss program in 2015. The NSC offers the 2nd program of this nature in the state of Delaware. In 2016, the program will expand to meet the growing demand in the community. During the past 10 years, the Center has also been re-accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers in 2008 and 2013. This level of achievement has been made possible by a very talented and dedicated staff, committed volunteers and ongoing investment by community stakeholders.

** Carla, Jean and Margaret had a conversation about the history of the center. Quotes from this meeting are highlighted throughout this newsletter **











Hometown: Newark, Delaware Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Wilmington University



Facilities Director



MEET OUR STAFF Wendell Davis




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Wendell has been working at the Newark Senior Center since 2009. As Facilities Director, he has seen a lot of upgrades to the HVAC systems, in- house improvements including new floorings, furniture etc., and the kitchen renovation which vastly improved the efficiency of the Center. Wendell is motivated by fellow staff members whom are energetic, efficient, dedicated. His favorite part about his job is the sense of accomplishment he feels from seeing an idea come to fruition. He often takes advantage of the free time he has to get to know the members. Of his favorite memories is sitting down with a WWII veteran navy pilot who shared his stories of setting a Guinness world record.

Jessica Feinberg

Development Director Hometown: Shamong, New Jersey Education: Bachelor of Arts in Human Services from Elon University, Masters of Public Administration from University of Delaware Jessica has been working at NSC for ten years. One of her proudest accomplishments is establishing the legacy society which started with a few members and has now grown to over forty. She enjoys working with the members, volunteers, and staff and the variety in her work keeps her coming each day. One of her favorite parts of her job is when she finds a position for a new volunteer and sees how they grow, make new friends, and enjoy their time while volunteering. “You’re only as old as you think you are”, is one of the most valuable lessons she has learned while working at the Center.

Katiana Foizen

Early Memory Loss Program Coordinator Hometown: Telford, Pennsylvania Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking from California College of the Arts, Certified in Alzheimer’s Association essentiALZ and Alzheimer’s Association essentiALZ Plus Dementia Advanced Care. Public Allies brought Kat to the Center over a year ago with the purpose of starting Meeting of Minds, an early memory loss program. Now, as a full time staff member, Kat enjoys seeing the program expand and develop. What has not changed is the welcoming and open environment; a part of what keeps her coming to work each day. She enjoys leading a career where she makes a positive impact on others and does not mind working hard because she knows she is making a difference. She treasures her creative freedom and the idea that the professional staff works as a team.

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Mercedia Green Accountant

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Education: Community Accountant from Bucks County Community College, Certificate of Full Charge Bookkeeper Mercedia has been working at the NSC for 10 years. In addition to her accounting duties, she enjoys planning the jitney jaunts for the members and the time she gets to spend with them on those trips. In fact, one of her favorite memories is a love connection that was made during an excursion to the Chesapeake Inn. One thing she has learned during her time at the Center is that a smile can go a long way.

Kate Hajec

Newsletter Coordinator Hometown: Endwell, New York Education: Associates Travel and Tourism from SUNY Broome, Associates of Information Systems from SUNY Broome, Bachelors of Human Resources Management from Binghamton University

Kate has been a staff member since December of 2000, first working on site at the Center and then in 2008 moving back home to upstate New York and she has been working remotely ever since. Her favorite part about working at the Center has been working with great people and helping to enrich lives of others. She enjoyed having the opportunity to bring her daughter to work with her when she was an infant. She has learned a lot from the members at the Center and hopes to see the Center continue to thrive and adapt to the changing times.

Heather Mitchell

Program Coordinator Hometown: Newark, Newark, Delaware Education: Associate in Applied Science in Human Services from Delaware Technical and Community College, Bachelor of Science in Human Services from the University of Delaware Heather has been working at the Center for 8 years. Heather loves what she does at the Center and that keeps her coming back every day. Her favorite part of her job is interacting with the members and learning about their different backgrounds and stories. From her time working here at the Center she has learned that you are in control of your destiny. If you want to live a long, healthy life you need to work hard for it. In the future she hopes to see the Center continue to grow and offer more continued education to the 50+ community.


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Katie Rivera

Program Director Hometown: Clifton Park, New York Education: Bachelor of Science in Human Services from University of Delaware Katie has been working at NSC for sixteen years. During her time working for the Center, she has seen much growth throughout the physical building, increased membership, new programs, and services. She appreciates the way the staff supports one another and works together to make the day to day operation of the Center run smoothly. Her favorite memory is the first Empty Bowls fundraiser. While unsure of how it would turn out, it has grown to be a successful event where the community comes out, enjoys great food and company, all while supporting a worthwhile cause. From working at the Center, she has been inspired from the members and has seen many examples of healthy and positive aging.

Stephanie Thomas

Director/Meals on Wheels Coordinator Hometown: Newark, Delaware Education: Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware Stefanie has been working for the Newark Senior Center for six years. The addition for Meals on Wheels, built in 2014 has been the biggest change during her time at the Center. The remodel gave her more space and resources to serve those in need. Her favorite part of her job is interacting with staff, volunteers, and clients and knowing that her career is doing something for the greater good. The passion and enthusiasm of the volunteers never ceases to amaze her and she enjoys working with them every day. She is touched when clients call and thank her for the wonderful service offered by the Center.

Anika Turner

Social Services Director Hometown: West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Education: Bachelor of Science in Public Administration from West Chester University, Masters of Science in Gerontological Services Administration from Saint Joseph’s University Anika has been working at the Center for 2 ½ years. Her background in geriatric studies fits well with her desire to give back to the community at the Newark Senior Center. Her enjoyment of helping people keeps her coming to work each day. Her favorite part about her job is talking and interacting with members. From working at the Center, she has learned how to age successfully and she hopes to emulate these qualities when she is older. A goal Anika has for the future of NSC is for the organization to adapt to the changing needs of seniors.


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Raymond Willia ms Food Services Director

Hometown: Orange, New Jersey Education: Bachelor of Science in Work Force Education from Delaware State University, Associate of Occupational Studies from Culinary Institute of America, Retired Army Delaware National Guard Chef Raymond has been hard at work at NSC for 6 ½ years. Throughout his time at the Center, he has seen a change in the variety of meals offered. There are now higher end vegetables, a wider range of options, and many more unique and ethnic choices. He enjoys his creative freedom and his ability to test out new healthy recipes for the members. Each day, he looks forward to interacting with the members, hearing their stories, and helping them in any way he can. During his time working for NSC, he has learned to be patient and in the future, he hopes to reach more people with lunch services.

Margaret Fraser Secretary

Hometown: Newark, Delaware Margaret has been working at the Center for 47 years. From a small room on Main Street to an expanded facility on White Chapel Drive, Margaret has helped the Center adjust to the changing needs of the community. The members of NSC are what keep her motivated to come to work each day as she enjoys talking to people. Since you never know who will walk in the door, each day is new and interesting. She hopes the Center will stay strong for many years to come and be successful as ever. This way, when she retires, she can continue to spend her days here.

A special thank you to the many individuals who have worked at the Center through the years. The staff has worked tirelessly to continually keep the NSC at the forefront of healthy aging.

Food Services Staff Diana Ferrara Rhonda Faison Holly Bovee Angela Suglia

Bus Drivers

Robert Smith Michael Stokes Gabe Woods Jim Dilks

Site Managers

Sterdie Maxwell Mike Teel Bruce Zabel (Not Pictured)

Lynn Balfour, Bertha Ballenger, Fred Barbour, Lucille Berni, Sandy Bond, Joseph Borst, Sandy Boyce, Sandra Burkett, Margaret Catts, Dorothy Christman, Katherine Cook, Henry Cowell, Roberta Emmons, William Fraser, Denise Grawe, Leo Grimes, Shannon Hardee, William Hart, Charles Hicks, Olive Hicks, Erin Hook, Willie Howze, Stacy Hyman, Harry Jackson, Gertrude Johnson, Greg Johnson, Dawn Keane, Donna Kreiger, Karen Lenhoff, Hillegard Long Benefield, Ella Mae Maclary, Christine Maucher, Sadie Meakin, Adreanne Mollett, Lisa Morehart/Bryson, Alexis Morris, Lee Perkins, Bill Phillips, Lou Ann Puff, Mike Rewa, Elwood Roy, Natalie Smith, Wendy Stamm, Gertrude Stansel, Amanda Stevenson, Edward Streets, Kathy Tancredi, Carlton Tappan, Martha Tappan, Wayman Taylor, Eileen Thomas, Jim Tyler, Regina Tyler, Joyce Waller, Virginia White, Jean Williams, Virgil Williams, Stella Wimmer, Joe Zecca


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Thank Y ou for the Ongoing Support of our Past and Present Board Members! The NSC would not be where it is today if it were not for the strong support and dedication provided by all of the individuals who volunteered on the Board of Directors throughout our 50 year history.

Margaret C. Alden, Arthur Amick, Shirley Anderson, Robert Anderson, Katherine Angell, Sandy Ashby, Clarence Bader, David Bailey, Mrs. Robert Bauseman, Keia Benefield, James Bent, Horace Bomar, Catherine Bonney, Timothy Boulden, Joe Brady, Pat Brill, Fern Brown, Mary Ann Brown, Dorothea Bryson, Kay Bugbee, G. Wallace Butterworth, Ben Campagna, Connie Cecil, Ethelyn Chambers, Elbert Chance, Steve Chantler, Meredith Chapman, Gail Chickersky, Eugene Christmann, Jerry Clifton, Bessie Collins, Judith Cook, Annette Cornish, Connie Cox, Dr. Donald Crossan, Guy Cunningham, Lynda Daring, Linda Debski, Michelle DeSantis, William Dierks, Fred Dingle, Robert Dutton, Melissa Eissner, Joseph Farina, Carolyn Fausnaugh, Kelvin Floyd, Shane Flynn, Robert Foard Jr., Cyril Fowble, Margaret Fraps, Frederick Funk, Vance Funk III, J. Gordon Gaddis, David Gallo, Richard Gays, Robert R. Geisler, Harold Godwin, Genevieve Gore, Barbara Habermann, Barry Haldeman, James Hall, David Hall, Jack Handloff, George Haney, James B. Hardwicke, Robert J. Harrison, Anne Hatfield, Pat Hauty, Lyn Henshaw, Fred Herald, Jeanette Herman, Florence Hester, Treva Hewlett, Dale Hewlett, Janice Holton, Dorothy Hood, Dorothy Hood, Fred C. Houghton, Wallace Johnson, Nathaniel Johnson, Greg Johnson, Fal V. Jones, Carl Jones, Kathleen Kaminski, Eileen Keely, Dr. Gordon Keppel, Robert G. Kerr, James P. Krapf Jr., Ed Kurtz, Dorothy Kutz, Maxine LaPlace, William Latham, Thomas Lilley, J. Merritt Lynch, Turner Madden, William Maley, Pam Maxwell, Frank C. Mayer, John Mayer, Beth Mayer, Eric Mayer, Arthur P. Mayer Jr. DVM, Naomi McCann, Eva Jane McCreary, Harry McKenry, David McKeon, Michael Middaugh, Robert Milkovics, Mrs. Ronald Miller, Sally Miller, Marilyn Minster, O’Neal Montgomery, Cornelius Montgomery, Corina Montgomery, Cornelius Morgan, Lucy Morgan, Coral Morris, Emma Morris, Carrol Mumford Jr., Anne Munyan, Ted Murphy, John Murray, Conlyn Noland, Jean Novotny, Ed Osienski, Helen Parker, Dorothy Patterson, Joy Pellicciaro, Monty Perkins, Dr. Susan Pfeifer, Virginia Phillips, Rebekah Pinto, George Pinto, Amy Plante, Gertrude Priestley, Kenneth Rash, Dorothy Raymond, Veronica Rempusheski, Leo J. Renzette, Nancy Rich, Noble Riedy, Donald Rittenhouse, Alvin B. Roberson, Leisa Ryan, Sabra Saindon, Robert Saunders, Judith Scarborough, Sheila Schroeder, Dr. Joseph Seibold, John Sellers, Wilbert Shanor, Norma Shaw, Joseph Shields, Polly Sierer, Mark Sisk, John Slack, Allen Smith, Michael Smith, Glenn Smoot, Richard Snyder, Shirley Sorantino, Sara Jane Spaulding, Racine Stafford, Joan Stone, James Streit, John Suchanec, Scott Sukeena, Robert Suppe, Judith Taggart, Meredith Thomas, Virginia Thomas, Tim Thompson, Bert Tosh, Paul Trahan, Jesse Tressler, Jane Tripp, O. Eugene Trivits, Henry Usner, Marty Valania, Dr. Connie Vickery, Gilbert Volmi, Irene Volmi, Alexander vonKoch, Debra vonKoch, William Waggaman, Fred Wakefield, Rob Walters, Arswell Watson, Robert Wescott, Steve Wheat, Harlan G. Williams, Joseph Williams, Robert Williams, Beverly Wise, Laura Wolfe, Robert Wollaston, Irene Zych

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NSC through the years... PROGRAMS AT THE CENTER

What started as a small group of older adults socializing in the Meeting Room of the Newark Department store more than 50 years ago has blossomed to become a model of healthy aging. Original programming, both at the New Century Club and at the Center on Main Street was born from a desire of retirees to maintain social connections with their peers in their later years. Activities included cards and games, a theatre group, chorus, arts and crafts including crocheting, knitting, Bible Study, a discussion group, and travel program. Many of these activities remain today, but on a larger scale.

A game of checkers.

The Beginning


THE NEWARK SOROPTIMISTS A BUSINESS women’s service organization part of the Soroptimist Federation of the Americas, recognized the growing need for senior citizen activities and adopted it as their long range service project. A survey revealed many of the City’s older residents needed help, not so much financially but, they missed the friendship of people their age. “They found men and women living alone or in unfamiliar locations with no chance of companionship…” (Thomas L. Lilley, Founding Member)

1957: AS A RESULT OF THE SOROPTIMIST’S SURVEY, forty-four older men and women began to gather in the Meeting Room of the Newark Department Store in the Newark Shopping Center. The group grew and the Newark New Century Club kindly offered to provide a larger room for their meetings. “… we were able to have more games of interest to the members. Also there was a sewing group who made hospital gowns for the Red Cross. On special occasions we were able to have speakers and picnics. In the summer we would take a bus trip to some interesting place. There were no dues… everyone dropped a little money in a dish inside the door……..Mrs. Charles Eissner, a Century Club member, did an outstanding job of leadership. She spent many hours… visiting the sick, remembering birthdays and arranging transportation for members to and from club meetings, and arranging for programs to interest the members and make their visits more enjoyable. Mr. and Mrs. Francis McCann gave much time to securing donations of materials, money and volunteer labor…”



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FITNESS CENTER When designing the facility at 200 White Chapel Drive, there was an increased focus on health & wellness. The Gore Therapeutic Pool was a major draw of the new facility. The warm waters offered a new, fun way to exercise as well as relief and comfort to those suffering from arthritis and painful joints. The original fitness center included free weights, a treadmill and stationary bike in what is now a storage closet next to our Social Services Office. That is hard to imagine when you look at our present fitness center that has 7 treadmills, recumbent & Airdyne Bikes, ellipticals, stretching machines, full body Nautilus Resistance Training Machines, and more. In 2015, the Fitness Center saw an average of 50 visits each day.



Exercise classes, limited by the available space, were offered just a few mornings a week in the Evergreen Room. The addition that came in April 2000 included a dedicated Exercise Room & the fitness K SENIOR C AR EN offerings expanded EW to include activities for every level of ability: Armchair Exercise, Jazzercise, Strength Training, R AL Pilates, Yoga & more. ES R



Spinning in the library.

1966: DOORS ARE OPENED May 9, 1966 - The Newark Senior Center was incorporated by the State of Delaware. Jean Anthes was hired as a full time Director. September 6, 1966 – The Newark Senior Center opened its doors at 300 East Main Street. After nearly ten years of meeting at the Newark Department Store Community Room and the Newark New Century Club, the Newark Senior Center has a place to call home.





1965: A HOME OF THEIR OWN November 8, 1965 - The seniors moved closer to a home of their own when Mayor Norma Handloff and the City Council of Newark granted permission for the use of the unused city owned Water Works Building at 300 East Main Street. Through the cooperative efforts of the City, the Soroptimists, Newark Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs work was done on the building to make it a comfortable gathering place. Building contractors and interested individuals donated the substantial sum of $12,000 to help offset the costs. The City contributed an additional $20,800 for renovations.


Yoga class.


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Progra ms at the Center Continued CLUBS & EDUCATION CLASSES While seniors were interested in keeping fit through exercise, they were also eager to become knowledgeable about computers and wanted more educational opportunities. The Warner Perry Education wing allowed for these additional enrichment opportunities. We are fortunate to have an eager membership who has ideas, interests and hobbies that they want to share with others. The most successful programming is developed and led by volunteer members – Discussion Groups, Bible Study, … While no formal arrangement has been made with professors at the University of Delaware, many have come and offered lectures and classes to our members as volunteers.

1967: THE CENTER’S PROGRAM ACTIVITIES included a Senior Citizens Club, Men’s Club, bingo, crafts, bridge, bowling teams, and an art class. Many parties and social events were given and hosted by local organizations such as, Newark Kindergarten Association, Home Economics Extension Clubs, sororities, garden clubs, University of Delaware dormitory students, Church Women United and the Tri-Hi-Y of Newark High School. Transportation for those needing it was begun by volunteers and staff and later by a mini-bus. AUGUST 1967 - GERTRUDE JOHNSON became Executive Director. She was soon joined by Margaret Fraser as Secretary. Through writings left by Gertrude who died in September 2004, we have these memories, “The idea of the Senior Center was a new concept to me, it was an exciting challenge. We were free to plan programs and the direction for the center, always with the goal of meeting the needs of Newark’s elderly. We had wonderful volunteers to help serve it”.


1970: MARGARET (PEGGY CRONIN) ALDE, Soroptimist, and President of the Board of Directors, remarked to the Center’s members, “…It seems remarkable to me that in a comparatively short time, less than four years, the Newark Senior Center has the largest membership of any similar community institution in the state. This statistic implies that someone is doing something right. I would be remiss if I were to forget persons and organizations who have given so generously of their resources to make the Center possible. I believe much of the credit for the progress of the Center belongs to its membership – to you ladies and gentlemen… I am continually amazed when I hear of the voluntary services you perform…” • Choral group and theatre groups begin at the Center.


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COMPUTER EDUCATION & CLUB Computer classes began in January 1998 when NSC was chosen to be a part of the AmeriCorps “KickStart” Program. Classes in Word Processing, Beginner Internet & Beginner E-Mail were taught on 5 donated computers by AmeriCorps members. The Computer Club, now known as the NSC Senior Surfers held their first meeting in September 1998 and is now one of the largest groups of its kind in the US. The Senior Surfers, started by just a few NSC members, was interested in expanding and sharing computer knowledge with other seniors. Today, the club provides opportunities for all to appreciate and have fun with today’s technology in a state of the art computer center. EXPLORING DIFFERENT HORIZONS The NSC not only offers a variety of programs and services within the facility, but also gives members the opportunity to get out and see the world. Day trips, overnight trips and local jitney jaunts are all offered through the Center. Through travel members are able to experience new cultures, learn new things, meet new people and stay active. Members have traveled to places like Egypt, the Caribbean, New York on Your Own, Canada, Washington D.C., Philadelphia Flower Show, Atlantic City Casinos, many of Delaware’s most popular restaurants and much, much more.

HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY! Call This Long-Time Member To Market Your Home In DE, PA, or Nearby MD Pam Rybinski, GRI, REALTOR Emeritus

Members explore destinations near and far.

1972: A MAJOR ADDITION OF A LARGE Activity Room and three staff offices were added and the kitchen was also enlarged. The addition nearly doubled the size of the building at 300 East Main Street. The Food Program was started when the Center began to offer lunch.


BHHS Fox & Roach REALTORS 88 Lantana Square Hockessin, DE 19707 CELL: 302-981-SOLD FAX: 302-999-0578 OFFICE: 302-999-9999 EMAIL:

1973: MEMBERSHIP REACHES 500. Dues are $2.00 for City Residents and $3.00 for those outside the City limits.


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MORE THAN JUST A MEAL‌ The Meals on Wheels program ensures that the homebound elderly, infirm and/or disabled residents of the area, whose circumstances put them in nutritional jeopardy, whether for health, financial or other reasons, will be assured of receiving a nutritious meal at least once a day. The meals are delivered by dedicated volunteers from our community. Some of our meal recipients receive meals during a brief recovery while others have received meals for 15 – 20 years, extending economic resources and allowing them to age in the community that they love.

MORE THAN JUST A LUNCH The Newark Senior Center is one of the few centers throughout Delaware where food is freshly prepared in our kitchen each day. The kitchen crew, led by Chef Raymond Williams, a Culinary Institute of America trained chef, and his dedicated staff take great pride in using fresh ingredients to prepare a wonderful selection for members and Meals on Wheels clients. Members gather in the Evergreen room each day for lively conversation, laughter, and a wonderful freshly prepared lunch. The Newark Senior Center takes great pride in providing healthy options each day. Arriving at 6 am each morning the staff begins preparation for the Meals on Wheels program as well as the lunch served at the NSC. More than 60,000 meals are prepared each year, providing nutritious meals and helping individuals stretch their resources by providing affordable options. For 50 years the NSC leadership has taken pride in being able to maintain a privately funded congregate meal program. This level of independence allows the NSC to serve everyone in the community providing options that are rarely seen in other senior centers.




1979: MARGARET CATTS JOINS THE staff as a part- time Program and Food Services Director.


SOCIAL SERVICES: THE EARLY YEARS The founders of NSC had the foresight to support and encourage meeting the needs of the community and its members in multiple ways. Not only were there trips and card games from the earliest days, but problems of daily living were also addressed. Individuals were and continue to be guided through paperwork and red tape, be it Social Security or Medicare, finding an affordable place to live, or joining a support group for those with a similar problem. Groceries were delivered to the homebound, rides to doctor’s appointments were procured from volunteers. NSC even had its own Blood Bank membership group to match donors to those who could not afford the fees. As times changed, so did the problems with which NSC helped its members cope. It was and continues to be the Center’s mission to address as many issues of aging as possible so that members could live productive and healthy lives.

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During the 1980’s NSC increased its emphasis on health and wellness as people were beginning to live longer healthier lives than their parents had. Most of the health related programs emanated from the social services desk. Screening for vision and hearing, blood pressure and breast cancer became regular events. Monthly programs on wellness, a wellness fair, and support groups for caregivers filled the calendar. There were lip reading classes, sign language classes and a support group for the hearing impaired. Several hundred flu shots a year were given yearly at NSC. An arthritis group was also formed. Alzheimer’s disease was increasingly recognized and diagnosed in the 1990s. The Center found a great need for caregiver support, both for families and other professionals. Center staff became known for their expertise and were often asked to share that knowledge with social service, medical and

The other thing that was started was the social services position, a dedicated person that did not rely on a grant funded position. We funded that position so I think that was a real caring, a community caring, that I don’t know if it is as much other places.

1981: A COMMERCIAL KITCHEN WAS ADDED to the Main Street Center to meet the growing demand for Meals to the homebound. The Center added additional staff: bus driver, book keeper, Social Services, Food and Program Services Director. AUGUST 1981 – AFTER 14 YEARS AS EXECUTIVE Director Gertrude Johnson retires, and Margaret Catts takes her place.



1985: WISE OWL SHOP OPENS UNDER the guidance of the Soroptomists. Seniors age 60+ fill the gift shop with their creative work.


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other community organizations both locally and throughout the state. They helped organize and launch the Delaware Alzheimer’s Association and provided leadership for statewide conferences on the disease. NSC’s goal was ensuring quality care for both patients and families. The Social Services Director was recognized by both the Alzheimer’s Association and the Delaware Gerontological Society for her work furthering awareness and helping caregivers cope. When volunteer tax preparers from AARP recognized that a number of their clients were being taken advantage of, classes on basic investing were offered. These classes led to the development of three investment clubs, one of which continues today. Computers became

more affordable and more common and seniors wanted to learn how to use them. Thus the seeds were born of NSC’s Senior Surfers. All of these services began in the building on Main Street. Programming, members and volunteers filled that building beyond its capacity. The new building on White Chapel Drive increased the possibilities for additional areas of programming, brought new members and volunteers, new challenges and new problems to solve. Social Services continues to be a core component of NSC, one of the few senior centers in the state to have a full time social services director, a free service open to the whole community specializing in meeting the needs of its older citizens.

1988: MEMBERSHIP REACHED 1,600. A new term, “wellness”, turned attention to enabling older adults to have as much of an active and fulfilling a life as possible. The scope of programs offered included health, exercise, energy conservation, insurance coverage, and fire prevention. Resource professionals came to monitor blood pressure, help with tax forms and answer questions on legal aid, Social Security, insurance and finances. A series of classes attended to the problems of hearing impairment. The monthly newsletter contained nutrition tips and job opportunities. THE WISE OWL GIFT SHOP BEGAN CONTRIBUTING to the Center. Sales between 2007 and 2015 exceeded $200,000.


1989: TWO SUPPORT GROUPS STARTED for those with arthritis and caregivers of family members with Alzheimer’s disease, which was one of the first such groups in Delaware. The hospitality desk began operation and for everyone’s good health a monumental decision was made to make the Center smoke free!! Once again the Center was shown to be in the forefront of a movement.

1990: A NEW COMPUTER ARRIVES, a gift from the Lion’s Club. Bookkeeper, Martha Tappan helps staff learn the process. Flu & pneumonia vaccines are administered by Public Health Nurses.



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1991: AN OPPORTUNITY TO BEGIN EXPANDING During the 25th Anniversary year, a very special gift was given to the Center. The late Margaret Cronin Alden, first president of the Center’s board, donated $430,000. This provided the impetus for the Center’s board to begin studying how an expansion might occur. Director, Margaret Catts said, “Peggy’s bequest is especially timely because the Center is bulging at the seams and we urgently need to expand to meet the community’s needs. More than that, she understood what we are doing and believed in it.” Elbert Chance, former board member, credits John Suchanec, then president of the board, for catching “a vision of what an ideal facility should be and transmitting his enthusiasm to his fellow directors”. A Building Campaign was born! Mr. Chance wrote several articles in the Newark Post in which he highlighted the fundraising venture. Tom McFalls, resident of Newark and a professional fundraising executive, was engaged to guide the campaign. Over the next several years he devoted many additional hours as a volunteer to make the project a success. In order to construct the desired building a location needed to be found. Attorney and former Board President, Vance Funk identified some land, a portion of which was owned by the University of Delaware and the other portion by the City of Newark. University President, David Roselle, along with the Vice Presidents, David Hollowell, John Brook, and former Dean Donald Crossan supported leasing the land to the Center for one dollar a year and the City followed suit with the same arrangement. The Center now had a place to build their dream. ELBERT CHANCE WROTE IN THE NEWARK POST,

It’s a project that has received the blessing and tangible support of Center members, campaign volunteers, local businesses and corporations, several foundations, the City Council and the University of Delaware. In a rare display of total cooperation, these diverse groups began a fund drive. The community, corporations, charitable foundations and governmental entities recognized the great need and helped the volunteers raise the total amount needed of $2.6 million. Board member John Mayer supervised the actual building project and spent many hours ensuring the Center members were getting the facility they so richly deserved. Members, Will and Georgia Shanor, instilled an excitement about the new home for Center participants and raised over $135,000 from members. Warner Perry, Stamp Club enthusiast, provided a surprise for the new Center. Wanting to ensure that the entry to the new building would be unique, he purchased a Charles Parks statue of three people dancing to the joy of life. The title of the statue comes from a phrase in a Browning poem. “Grow old along with me… The best is yet to be”.



1966 to 2016


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Met at Newark New Century Club. Membership totaled 44. No dues, but donations were made for activities. 2 Paid Staff (in 1968).


Membership Totaled 500. Dues: $2.00 for residents of the City of Newark or $3.00 for those outside of city limits. Average Daily Attendance was 48. Operating Budget in 1974 was $52,179.


Membership totaled 1,863. Dues were increased to $3.00 for Newark residents and $4.00 for non-residents in 1984. Average Daily Attendance was 116. Operating Budget was $120,500. In 1986 there were 5 professional staff


Membership totaled 1,908. Average daily attendance was 129. In 1991, a $100 lifetime membership was offered for the first time, 81 people took the offer in the first month.

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Moved to new building. Membership totaled 1,700. Dues were $10 annually.











Membership totaled 2,400. Operating budget was $582,650.

2000 HAPPY 50th


Membership totaled 1,908. Average daily attendance was 250. Operating budget was $985,582. 16 full and part-time staff. Membership fee was $12 per year. Membership age was changed to 50 years old.


Membership totaled 4,185. Average daily attendance is 300. Operating budget is $1,594,700. 22 full and part-time staff. Membership fee is $17 per year.



3,700 Members Average daily attendance is 300. Operating budget is $1,700,000. 29 full and part-time staff. Membership fee is $30 per year.


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- Margaret Catts



volunteers got into the backhoe and did the first shovel of dirt for our new building.”


“The highlight was when one of our wonderful












1996: MAY- A GOODBYE PARTY took place at 300 East Main Street, our home for thirty years. Members reminisced about the many good time that were had there. Understandably, those that lived close by the Center were very sad, but most members looked forward to moving on to make new memories. MAY 6- THE MOVE TO 200 WHITE CHAPEL DR. Longtime friends and volunteers, Filomena Budani and Maude Dennison, cut the ribbon of the new center at 200 White Chapel Drive. MAY 19- THE BUILDING WAS DEDICATED and many City residents came, along with the Governor of Delaware, city officials and people from the aging network. It was an exciting time for the staff, Board of Directors, and membership. “It is so big” and “It is more beautiful than I ever expected” was heard over and over.

1994: SEPTEMBER 24 Groundbreaking at 200 White Chapel Drive.


May 20- 1,700 MEMBERS SET UP SHOP at 200 White Chapel Drive. The new facility with a dining room that could seat over 300, space for exercise classes and arts and crafts, a dedicated library, an enlarged Gift Shoppe, swimming pool and shower rooms attracted many new participants. The Center membership increased to 1,900 during the first year of operation.



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The NSC has been the recipient of bequests throughout the years that have enabled the Center to expand and continue to meet the needs of the community. Individuals who have chosen to recognize the Center through a bequest or other planned gift have made a tremendous difference to the NSC. Gifts of this nature have allowed the Center to expand, providing adequate space for education, enrichment, fitness and service to the homebound through our Meals on Wheels program. It is very gratifying that individuals from throughout the community continue to put their trust in the center to insure ongoing success.

Warner Perry

In 2008 The NSC Legacy Society was established to show our gratitude to individuals who have notified the Center of their plans to recognize the Center in their estate plans or have made contributions to the NSC Endowment Fund. Members of the society receive a pin when they join and are invited each year to a private luncheon hosted by the President of the Board of Directors. They are also recognized on a plaque in the Education Wing and at various special events throughout the year.

1997: AFTER SERVING THE CENTER for sixteen years, Margaret Catts retired as Executive Director. K. Jean Williams, also a Newark resident, ably took over the reins, managing a building that was serving 200 people a day. WARNER PERRY’S LEGACY Sadly, at this time Warner Perry passed away. However, he left a legacy to the Center that would live for many years in the form of his estate of approximately one million dollars. His only request was that when there was a need, the Center should be expanded to meet the needs of the older people of the community.


1999: PLANS CALLED FOR A WARNER PERRY Education Wing and a Fitness Center. Ground was broken for a 7,000 square foot addition that would include: three classrooms, a computer center, offices for more staff, expansion for the Meals on Wheels program, a lounge, a fitness center and exercise room.


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ACCREDITATION 2003, 2008, 2013 In 2003 under the leadership of Jean Williams, the NSC began the process of seeking accreditation from the National Institute of Senior Centers. To this day, the NSC remains the first and only nationally accredited senior center in the state of Delaware.

The accreditation process involves a commitment by Board, staff and volunteers from throughout the community. The Greater Newark Area is fortunate to have willing volunteers from many walks of life: educators, bankers, finance professionals, entrepreneurs, health care professionals and community stakeholders all participate in the process. An in depth assessment is conducted in 9 areas: Purpose, Community Connections, Governance, Administration and Human Resources, Program Development, Evaluation, Fiscal, Records, and Facility. These subject areas are then reviewed and evaluated by community volunteers with expertise in each area. During the accreditation process the Center validates the existence of the appropriate policies, procedures and practices and looks at recommendations to continually go from good to great. The accreditation process is conducted every 5 years. Subsequent accreditations were completed in 2008 and 2013. This level of achievement is a great source of community pride and is a reminder of the importance of constantly trying to improve.

2003: AUGUST- THE CENTER’S VAST PROGRAM Center participants attend the ribbon cutting ceremony.

2000: APRIL- THE COMMUNITY AND Center participants gathered around the Perry Education Wing for the ribbon cutting of the $1.6 million expansion.


opportunities, volunteer involvement, fiscal procedures, community involvement and quality administration were recognized when Newark Senior Center became the first senior center in Delaware to be accredited by the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC). This recognition came to fruition after a committee of volunteers helped the Center do a selfassessment based on the standards set by NISC.


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The Senior Center

Written by James L. Manniso – 2006 The “Senior Center” is the building’s name, but the life inside is its heart. The love of so many years well lived is its most important part. “Welcome to all” is the Center’s call – its doors open wide… to provide the best for its honored guests – to serve – with dignity and pride. Each day is a gift of memories that gather in gracious form in this “House of Happiness” Where wisdom is ever born. Fun and play and learning, too and a good meal… the fare of the day. But, there is something more that’s in store for those who come this way… It’s the sharing of life, love and memories – sprinkled with wisdom, too, that is fresh and bright – filled with light as the spirit is renewed. To ‘wear out’ not ‘rust out’ Is the creed of these hardy guests, Who are the “Seniors” gathered here in this “Center of Happiness.”

2006: JUNE- JEAN WILLIAMS RETIRES and Carla Grygiel becomes the new Executive Director. NSC celebrates their 40th Anniversary. JULY– THE NSC AWARDED WISDOM WORKS grant from the National Council on Aging and the MetLife Foundation focusing on developing self-directed teams of baby boomer volunteers. Ten years later, the volunteer group known as Project Consultants for Nonprofits still meets every other week working in small teams as volunteer consultants for local nonprofits, helping with projects that include volunteer recruitment and development, marketing plans, focus groups and much more.



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and talented local potters who donate handmade works of art. Attendees enjoy a simple soup supper on a Sunday afternoon in February with all proceeds benefiting our Meals on Wheels program.

Since the beginning, the Center has received support from the community through donations, participation in special event fundraisers and bequests. Each source of funding provides a valuable piece of the puzzle that enables the NSC to provide programs and services that are affordable and accessible by all. The NSC relies on support by individuals for about 18% of the operating budget each year. Investment in our facility in the form of expansions, renovations and replacements is an ongoing challenge. Local foundations have provided over $1,000,000 in the past 7 years alone, the majority of which was spent on capital projects.


Empty Bowls

Special event fundraisers also contribute to the success of the Center. A very broad base of community support is required for their success.

Flea Market

The semi-annual Flea Markets involve the entire community. Literally hundreds of individuals donate a variety of household items, jewelry, clothing, antiques and more. Volunteers sort, display and sell the items at a 3 day event that now results in over $40,000 of revenue to the Center. It is truly a community effort.

The Empty Bowls event to support Meals on Wheels relies on local restaurants to provide delicious soup

2008: THE NSC IS RE-ACCREDITED BY the National Institute of Senior Centers remaining the 1st and only Senior Center in the State to receive accreditation. SUMMER- A MAJOR POOL RENOVATION was completed, updating interior and mechanical systems. The parking lots were also expanded, increasing parking capacity by 33%. SEPTEMBER- THE NSC HOLDS ITS FIRST

Before & After Renovation

annual reception to honor center donors. THE NSC LEGACY SOCIETY is started and members are recognized at an annual luncheon.


2009: ROOF REPLACEMENT AND HVAC upgrades are done to improve energy efficiency and extend the life of the building.


FLEA MARKET ANNUAL SALES $60,000 $45,000 $30,000


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Each spring the Center hosts a Silent Auction event – with an always changing theme. This event provides an opportunity for many local merchants to support the Center by providing an unbelievable selection of silent auction items. Community members enjoy a fun low key event with delicious food provided by our many great local restaurants to supports all of the Center programs and services.

$15,000 $0

1982 1988 1992 1999 2003 2007 2011 2015

Funding streams for the Center have changed significantly over its 50 year history. These two pie charts demonstrate those changes.

Casino Night & Silent Auction

Golf Tournament

2010: ANNUAL APPEAL reaches $50,000 for the first time.


A Golf Tournament has been held for many years. Originally run by local bankers and businessmen the event has evolved into the Buffalo Wild Wings tournament to benefit the Newark Senior Center. This is a win-win for all involved as the BWW staff does an amazing job hosting the event while raising awareness in the community of all that the Center provides.




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The State of Delaware makes a significant commitment to the center. Unlike many states, Delaware has made a commitment to senior centers throughout the state by providing general operating support. This source of funding through the Grant in Aid process enables the Center to keep programs affordable or free of charge to members and provide valuable social services at no cost to the entire community. This investment in senior centers becomes increasingly important as more Delawareans are reaching their senior years and choosing to age in community. Resources and opportunities for socialization, physical activity and intellectual stimulation enable individuals to remain active, vibrant contributors of society.




the National Institute of Senior Centers for a 3rd time remaining the 1st and only Senior Center in the State to receive accreditation.


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Meeting of Minds

Congratulations to the Newark Senior Center for serving the Newark Community for 50 years

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Chef Raymond, working in his new kitchen.

2014: A $470,000 RENOVATION and expansion of the Food Services area is completed to accommodate the growing demand for Meals on Wheels. The project received generous support from members, local corporations and foundations. The project doubled prep, storage and refrigeration space to increase capacity.


“Meeting of Minds� was started to meet the growing need for programing designed to meet the needs of those in the early stages of memory loss. This program also provides much needed respite for caregivers.

2016: MEETING OF MINDS PROGRAM expands to meet the growing demand for the program.

2015 2016


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VOLUNTEERS ARE ESSENTIAL Volunteers were, and are today, indispensable in all aspects of NSC. They have contributed thousands of hours delivering Meals on Wheels, serving as Board of Directors, drivers, teachers, discussion leaders, craftsmen, reception desk volunteers, musicians, actors, food and dessert makers and much more. Each year from 1966 on, one day is set aside to honor and give thanks to these very special people. Our annual volunteer reception is an opportunity to recognize our volunteers for all of the hard work they put in at the Center. Since 2000, we have been recognizing five volunteers at each reception with a Jefferson Award. The Jefferson Awards are a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. The Jefferson Awards are presented on two levels; national and local. They began in 1972 to create a Nobel Prize for public service. Today, their primary purpose is to serve as a “call to Action for Volunteers” in local communities. The NSC has been recognized on several occasions for its use of self-directed volunteer teams to get

things done. The NSC Senior Surfers Computer Club is an organization that was established at by the Center my members of the Center with an interest in computers. It has developed into a group of over 400 members with its own board of directors. Our Gift Shoppe is also managed completely by a group of volunteers from picking out items for sale to scheduling volunteers in the shop and paying the consignors. In 2006 the NSC was awarded a grant from the NCOA Wisdom Works program to start a self-directed team of baby boomer volunteers. From this grant, Project Consultants for Nonprofits was established. Project Consultants for Nonprofits (PCN) is a group of 50+ volunteers with various professional backgrounds who serve as consultants to local nonprofit organizations. They work on short term projects such as conducting and presenting volunteer satisfaction surveys, revising bylaws and procedures manuals, advising on board relations and policies and much more. Volunteers are also crucial to making the NSC’s events happen. Fundraising events such as the two flea markets, the annual auction night, and Empty Bowls use volunteers in all aspects from planning to day of tasks. Volunteers for these events come from various sources, some are













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members of the Center, family to our members, students from local colleges and high schools, and corporate groups. The Meals on Wheels program uses volunteers on a daily basis to deliver meals to the homebound. Not only is the staff grateful for their dedication to delivering meals, but so are the clients and their families. A new program that uses volunteers is our early memory loss program, Meeting of Minds. This program uses volunteers to assist participants with various tasks and activities throughout the day.

For that moment when time stands still

We are looking forward to this program expanding in 2016 and getting even more volunteers involved making more people aware of our programs and services.

Thank you to everyone who has served the Center in its 50 year history!

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NSC 50th Anniversary  
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