Did you see the picture in the Record-Courier last week of John Wisniewski celebrating his 92nd birthday at the Center of Hope in Ravenna? John is not only a very caring gentleman, but obviously a very ambitious individual, because he chooses to serve his community, rather than just sitting at home.
John works at the center three days a week stacking, sorting and bagging food for the Christian Cupboard. This is not a sit-down job, but a very physically active job.
He is a great example of what we can continue to offer to our community, even though we have passed 90 years old.
We are never too old to continue giving to others. Think about it: Do you still have a skill you can offer? Maybe it's crocheting blankets, visiting with a neighbor who is ill, reading to a child as part of the Foster Grandparent program, playing the piano or organ for a group of friends, or sorting clothes at the County Clothing Center. Or do you have some extra energy, like John, so you could volunteer at a food cupboard, or at a church that provides a free meal for the community?
By becoming a volunteer, you will not only help someone else, but also yourself. It will give you a great positive feeling about yourself, which will make you smile more often. Isn't there something you can do for someone else?
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh has a new "Senior News" letter out. She writes: "In 2012, my office handled 255 cases against victims 60 years and older. These cases ranged from domestic violence and theft from family members to cases involving assault and murder."
This is reality, not a television show. It does happen. Her newsletter goes on to say, "A recurring crime I see in my office against senior citizens is theft by neighbors, caregivers and family members. I suggest regularly checking your bank accounts and hiding your valuables. Be wary of visitors who are in separate rooms in your home. One could be distracting you while the other is taking your valuables."
I am not saying that you have to be suspicious of everyone who comes into your home, but just be careful and aware of what is happening around you. If you have a question about something missing, or something does not seem right, be sure to call 911 and write down details about the offender and "crime" immediately after it happens. Do not become a statistic here in Portage County.
On a much lighter note, the 2013 travel schedule for the Portage County Senior Center is now available.
n On April 30, the group heads out for the yearly excursion to Holmes County. The cost is $25, with the bus leaving at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 4:30 p.m.
n On May 28 and 29, there will be an overnight trip to Seneca Allegany Hotel/Casino. The cost is $135 per person, double occupancy. The comps for the trip will be $70.
n On June 25, the trip is to Presque Isle Casino. The cost is $25; the comps have not been determined yet. (This is always at the discretion of the casino.)
n On July 30, the trip is to Meadows Casino. The cost is $25; the comps have not been determined.
n On Aug. 27, they're off to Rivers Casino. The cost is $25.
n On Sept. 24, it's Thistledown Racino. The cost is $25.
n On Oct. 22, the trip is to Hollywood Casino in Toledo. The cost is $25
n On Nov. 19, it's Scioto Downs Racino in Columbus. The cost is $25.
You can get more details on each of these trips and a complete schedule by calling the Portage County Senior Center at 330-297-3456.
I have periodically talked with a number of you in the community who are looking for bus trips which go to non-casino destinations. I can only write about activities that I hear about, so if you or your organization is scheduling a trip to someplace other than to a casino, be sure to email the information to me so that I can share it with others in the community.
Want to have an opportunity to talk with State Rep. Kathleen Clyde about senior issues? Come join us at 11 a.m. April 8 at the Portage County Senior Center, 705 Oakwood St. in Ravenna.
She has been invited by the Portage County Senior Advocacy Committee to bring the group up to date on the funding trends for senior programs in Ohio. The committee members will also be sharing with her our concerns for the services that have been eliminated because of funding cuts at the local, state and federal levels.
Even though the committee has an agenda for our meeting with Rep. Clyde, we want to invite interested seniors to come share their concerns about senior programs.