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Making a difference in their community

I recently had the opportunity to tour the five senior community centers Diakon operates in Schuylkill County, Pa., under contract with the county Office of Senior Services.

These community centers offer a variety of programs and services geared to people who are 60 and older, though lots of programs are open to those of all ages. In addition to daily programs and services, the centers offer nutritionally balanced lunch-time meals at each location, as well as delivered via the Diakon-sponsored Meals on Wheels program to people in the community who have difficulty leaving their homes.

My main objective during my visit was to take photos that would be used on the Diakon Community Services micro-website and on social media, but I discovered some really fascinating people in the process. My “tour guide” for the day, Kathy, oversees all the senior centers. I was impressed that she acknowledged every employee, volunteer and member at each of the five locations. I watched her and seniors Skype with an elementary-school class in Dillsburg, York County, admired homemade crafts, helped a lovely lady with her Facebook account and heard tales of making hundreds of quarts of pot pie…Amish style…for fundraisers. While many of these wonderful people I met are the beneficiaries and volunteers of the programs, the senior community center coordinators themselves are extraordinary people, each with her or his own unique background.

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Teresa, long-time center member, left, with Mary Agnes.

Mary Agnes, manages the Mahanoy City center (and she also taught me how to properly pronounce the center name!). She is a proud grandmother of two and is an active member of the local school board.

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Mary Ann (center aide), left, and Kelly, right.

The newest center coordinator, Kelly, manages the Shenandoah center and is a master trainer with the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. She is also a mom to an adorable four-year-old.

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Pat, left, and Emily (center member and volunteer), right.

Pat is the coordinator at the Schuylkill Haven center and she has been serving seniors for more than 25 years. She and her husband own three PBGV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) dogs that they show in hunt trials.

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Kathy (multi services center manager), left, Lou (member), center, and Donna, right.

Donna oversees the Pottsville center, and I discovered she is one of the biggest Bruce Springsteen fans ever! She is also a licensed practical nurse and a proud grandma of three.

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Bill at the Tremont Senior Community Center.

Managing the Tremont center is actually Bill’s “encore” career. He is a stone mason by trade, plays on a billiards team and also loves to cook local ethnic specialties. He can be seen rolling and cutting homemade pot pie noodles with the best of them!

Each of these coordinators brings something special to the center he or she oversees. I did notice they all have a few things in common…their gracious hospitality and an ability to make each person they came in contact with feel valued.

By Melissa Kindall
Social Media and Special Communications Project Manager
Corporate Communications & Public Relations

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