In recent years, individuals have referred to the Portage County Senior Center as "just a place for parties," implying that nothing significant to a person's well-being occurred there. Having been the director for 16 years, I can strongly argue that point.
Since I retired, Dee Lynn, the new director, is doing an admirable job in offering our senior neighbors opportunities to socialize, exercise, and volunteer to contribute to the operation of the center, as well as an opportunity to learn about new health issues and to develop hidden talents.
The fine arts program at the center was created more than eight years ago by Doreen List. She had actually started at the center as a mature services worker. When that opportunity ran out, she volunteered to continue as "the art teacher" (she has degree from the Chicago School of Art). Every Friday for the past eight years, Doreen has taught an art class. The class is open, free of charge, to all Portage County senior citizens.
The high point of all of their efforts (students and Doreen) was a recent exhibit in the lobby of Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna.
Ten of the students contributed 21 different paintings to the exhibit. The works that were exhibited were done in various media, including acrylic and oil paints, as well as watercolor. The students not only have had the opportunity to "discover" their talents in painting, but also have learned how to mount and frame their works. And some students have even been able to sell their creations. (We have two of their pieces in our home.)
The artists on display were Norma Brillhart, Sandra McElwain and John Monegan of Ravenna; Dolores Wiand and Jeanne Johnson of Kent; Bill and Nancy Laing of Shalersville; Alan Kaptain of Brimfield; and Lucy Harrison of Mantua. Doreen, a resident of Randolph, also had one of her paintings exhibited (a marvelous picture of Mogadore Reservoir).
The subjects of the paintings varied from a portrait of Eddie Mae Prisby to a portrait of Mister Peanut, as well as landscapes, flowers and family pets.
This fine arts program reflects how the Portage County Senior Center serves all of Portage County. It is this kind of program that greatly improves an individual's quality of life. Can you imagine how proud these folks are of their work? Being older does not mean that you are not capable of learning something new or discovering a hidden talent. If it were not for Doreen and the Senior Center, these folks would not have been exhibitors at Robinson Memorial Hospital.
Doreen is always willing to include someone new in her program. Call the Senior Center to find out more information about becoming involved: 330-297-3456.
Looking for a new place to play bingo? The Kent American Legion Post is the location of a Sunday evening game. It costs just $12 to play for the evening.
Doors open at 4 p.m. for early birds, with the regular games starting at 5 p.m. Food is available.
If you are not interested in playing bingo but you belong to a group who would like to earn some extra money, call Ravenna City Council member Amy Michael for more information. The proceeds from the games go toward Ravenna's youth sports program. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Ravenna residents Deanna and Jack Kline. Next week they will be inducted into the Area Agency on Aging's Senior Citizen Hall of Fame.
They were nominated by Anne Marie Mann Noble of Family & Community Services because of their volunteer commitment to her agency's programs.
On Dec. 14 they will attend a luncheon in Canton and be given a plaque recognizing their volunteer work. Their names will also go on another plaque, to be displayed at the Area Agency's office in Uniontown.
The Klines are the kind of people who make it worth living in Portage County!
Sherri Bevan Walsh, Summit County prosecutor, periodically distributes The Senior News, a newsletter focused on her concerns for senior citizens. The latest issue has some pointers on how to be safe during the holidays.;
1. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings, and try to plan errands for early in the day.
2. When you are shopping, make sure you lock your doors and have all valuables hidden from sight.
3. Keep the doors and windows of your homes locked.
4. During the night, leave a light on if you will not be returning home until after dark.
5. Keep your purse tucked close to you and never let phones or money hang out of pockets.
6. Never give out your personal information to anyone.
Happy holidays to all, and remember: Keep moving and doing in the coming year!