August 24, 1999
My favorite quote this month is…"We're pretty human down here". That's what Alma Ikeler says about the Santa Paula Senior Center. Alma has been the Senior Center's "jack of all trades" since its beginning about seven years ago. Her formal title is Senior Activities Coordinator, but to the 847 plus citizens she served just last year…she's simply "Alma". The Santa Paula Senior Center may be one of our City's best keep secrets. That's not good. Not enough people know about this great place, so not enough people take advantage of all its convenient services. This simply must not be allowed to continue, so I have decided to take it upon myself to let you all know about the many services available, not only for seniors, but also for the disabled, blind and those of lower-income. Hopefully, throngs of seniors and others will pour into the place! Alma will either hug me or hit me with a stick. Either way…mission accomplished!The Center is under the jurisdiction of the City's Community Services Department, which is headed up by another miracle worker, Community Services Director John Keisler. What a team! Whoa Nellie! Now here's a duo that will walk 50 miles in their bare feet if it will get the Center something new.The Center is located at 530 W. Main Street, which is the Santa Paula Community Center building. It's been kind of hard to find the Center, but soon you will see the Center's newest acquisition. A bright new monument sign purchased with Area Agency of Aging grant funds.Director John says "The Area Agency of Aging people didn't know about all the services we were providing local seniors, and once they found out, they started supplying the resources for physical things, such as the sign and a new computer".Here's what goes on at the Senior Center on any given day of the week:Braille for the legally blind, Grey Law legal assistance, health checkups and screenings, insurance counseling, homeowners and rental assistance, income tax assistance, arthritis exercise, Meals on Wheels (yummie), pedicures, knitting and crochet groups, Senior Nutrition Lunch (yummie again), Senior Citizen Club, Social Security Assistance, 55 Alive Driving class, Senior Fellowship Club, Community Assistance of Santa Paula (CASP), bingo, senior service information and referral services, and blood pressure testing (boy, could I use that right now!).
Also on the Senior Center list of goodies is its affiliation with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP Chapter 2022), which meets on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 1:30 p.m (sometimes they have cookies). The Santa Paula Commission on Aging also meets there on the 4th Wednesday of each month at 9:00 a.m (hey, maybe they have cookies too).The details of all the above services are outlined in the Community Services Department Program Guide. The current issue available is the 1999 Summer Program Guide, which you can grab up by stopping by the Community Center office Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.The Senior Center can be contacted at 933-4272, and is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. That's the Center's "formal hours"….but it's become a well known fact that Alma also conducts "senior business" while drinking coffee at McDonalds. Go join her…she's usually there between 7:45 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.So what can we look forward to in the future? Being that seniors make up about 26% of Santa Paula's population, the Center will continue to grow if Alma and John have their way! On the drawing board are more health and other type classes, as well as respite care ("day care" for senior caregivers). They're also hoping for more senior "outings" and longer Center hours so seniors have more time to visit, relax and just enjoy the nurturing social environment of the Center. In the meantime, Alma will continue to do "her thing" for our seniors and all the others who need the Center's help and services.All I can say about that is…"You Go Girl!"

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