Senior Center News
After 16 years, our coordinator of senior activities, Lizabeth Doty, is leaving the senior center this month. There will be a farewell celebration on Thursday, July 19, from noon to 2, where a light lunch will be served. RSVP by July 16 to Debbie Wolyniec at 203-834-6238 or Deborah.firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz is leaving to work in the optometry practice of her brother, Dr. William T. Doty, in Ridgefield. She will also continue teaching knitting and computer skills in the Ridgefield Continuing Education program as she has done for the past 15 years. As her time here comes to a close, Liz was gracious enough to answer some questions about her time here at Wilton Senior Center.
When did you start as senior center director?
Hired by First Selectman Paul Hannah, I began working at the senior center as the first full-time coordinator of senior activities in 2002. Jan MacEwen had been the part-time coordinator for 10 years prior to that. When I was hired, the town was moving forward to expanding the senior center to be run as a fulltime entity. I was hired for 30 hours a week, and within a few years, the position expanded to 35 hours a week.
What has changed the most during your time here?
Probably the biggest change has been the growth of the senior center from one room (which is now the café) with five weekly programs and about 1,000 visits per year to the current senior center space which encompasses two floors with five meeting spaces and a technology room, 16 weekly programs and over 10,500 visits a year.
What are you most proud of from your time here?
I am proud of many things which we have accomplished over the years with the direction and support of the Senior Center Advisory Council, the Social Services Commission, the Board of Selectmen and the many dedicated volunteers and staff who worked with me to accomplish our goals. The town made it their mission to see to it that Wilton seniors had a state-of-the-art, attractive, and comfortable space to enjoy and call their own. With the understanding that social experiences, appropriate exercise, and mentally stimulating programs help to promote positive aging and ongoing health of the mind and body, the town has fully funded the senior center and thus has made it possible for us to offer a robust array of programming. The increasing participation in these programs over the years is evidence of their attractiveness and value to our older citizens.
I am also especially proud of the welcoming atmosphere created at the senior center. I have a genuine sense that seniors enjoy coming to the programs and enjoy meeting up with their friends. The new café space provides the perfect venue for meeting people or just have a cup of the best coffee in town! This welcoming atmosphere was supported and promoted by all three social services directors: Suzanne Van Vechten, Cathy Pierce, and Sarah Heath.
What will you miss the most?
I’ll miss my colleagues in the social services department. Their expertise has certainly benefited the seniors and me. The proximity of the social services department has made it easy for seniors who are attending a program to stop in for help with Medicare questions, housing, and other issues. The ready availability of the social workers is a blessing. I’ll miss the stories which permeate the halls of the senior center each day, the many volunteers who help to make the senior activities run smoothly, and of course, the senior themselves (of which I am one!).
What has been the biggest challenge? What has been the biggest joy?
My biggest challenge and joy has been being instrumental in the development and expansion of the senior center over the years. It has also been a great joy and gift to meet so many wonderful senior citizens who have been a blessing in my life.
Friday, July 13 , 10, Feldenkrais with Cathy Paine; 11 to 2, Free Senior Swim at the Y; 12, Bridge with Eleanor Mihailidis.
Monday, July 16, 10:30, Line Dance Fusion with Beatriz Araujo; 12, Movie; 1, Bridge
Tuesday, July 17, 9:45, NO BeMoved with Phyllis Hirschfield; 10, Oil and Acrylics with Althea Erickkson; 11, Yoga with Denise O’Hearn; 12:30, Five Crowns with Nerina Klobas; 1, Studio Knitting; 2, Chair Yoga at Ogden House.
Wednesday, July 18, 10, Open Bridge with Mike Hess; 10:30, Tai Chi with Joe Alampi; 12 to 5, Framer’s Market at the Wilton Historical Society; 1, American Mah Jongg.
Thursday, July 19, 10, Yoga with Denise O’Hearn; 12 to 2, Farewell Celebration for Lizabeth Doty.