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Temporary senior center opens at Girls Inc. in Hagerstown

September 03, 2008|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN -- Senior citizens in Washington County finally have a place to gather.

Girls Inc., at 626 Washington St. in Hagerstown, on Tuesday began serving as a temporary senior center.

The site will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., except on holidays, and "active and vibrant persons 55 and older" are welcome to participate in the programs offered, said Susan MacDonald, executive director for the Washington County Commission on Aging.

Kathy Fisher will serve as the senior center manager and will be assisted by a "multitude of volunteers," MacDonald said.

A monthly schedule will be posted at the center and on the Commission on Aging's Web site at www.wccoaging.org.

"The kinds of things range from specific dance and exercise classes, a walking program, art and computer classes, education and health-related programs," MacDonald said.

Book clubs and card clubs also will be offered. MacDonald said this will be a traditional senior center in that it will offer resources such as income tax preparation, health insurance counseling and a wealth of other information of interest to seniors.

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"We're trying to help people access what's already available," MacDonald said.

Some classes will require participants to sign up in advance, and there will be a nominal charge for art classes to cover the cost of supplies.

Seniors can look forward to a regular schedule of activities, such as Breakfast for the Brain on Mondays, when a light breakfast is offered along with an educational program.

"It's essentially a special place for older people to come," MacDonald said. "They know it's their space. It's a place to go to have fun and to give back to the community."

While the Girls Inc. site is a temporary location until a permanent site can be developed, MacDonald hopes seniors will be open to after-school volunteer opportunities with Girls Inc.

There is plenty of parking at Girls Inc., and the County Commuter bus has a route that passes the Girls Inc. building.

MacDonald said one plan is for local restaurants to bring in light lunch items -- salads, fruit and sandwiches -- that would be sold at cost. She said they're trying the café approach because other counties have had success with that and have found that seniors seem to prefer that to a traditional lunch program. Coffee will be available at no charge.

"The senior citizens of Washington County really deserve a place to call their own," MacDonald said.

An official grand opening will be at a later date.

For information, call Kathy Fisher at 301-790-0275, ext. 212, or go to www.wccoaging.org.

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