Dear Editor:

Maumelle Senior Wellness Center (MSWC)

By now I hope most of you have marked your questionnaires and sent them into the city. If you didn’t say yes to the MSWC I would like you to rethink your vote.

Yes, you can go into the center on certain days and it looks as if no one is utilizing it. That is because they may be on the shuttle buying groceries, or on a trip to Garvan Gardens. Others may be at their doctor’s appointment or maybe they are fishing at the fishing rodeo. Also our bean bag baseball group may be playing another center in a fierce competition.

I decided I would go down and interview a few people and let them tell me what the center meant to them. One lady named Betty told me that if she didn’t have the center to go to she would sit at home all alone. Another gentleman said he loves to visit with the members and thinks the center has the nicest people around. Robert McCorkle, probably the longest member since the Wellness Center’s inception says he comes every day to eat, work on the computers and visit with his friends. His wife passed a few years ago, so to fill the emptiness in his life he visits the center.

Lunches are only $3.50. I don’t know where you can get a meal with dessert for this price. Many of the members probably wouldn’t eat a meal because of the high cost of groceries. On Wednesday they play Bingo after lunch and the place is crowded. Prizes of gift certificates from merchants and service groups are awarded to the winners. On special occasions there may be a band playing music of earlier eras, or maybe an informative lecture about certain health issues.

There is an exercise room with all sorts of equipment, but this is one area that definitely needs expanding. The computer room is also too small to accommodate the many members that want to learn the different computer programs.

The center is also used after hours for meetings of AARP and the Men’s Club.

We have many volunteers that offer their expertise in history classes, quilt making, cell phone operations, and musical keyboarding. If you want to learn something all you need to do is talk to someone at the center and they will try to accommodate you. Georgia Aeverman has been teaching watercolor for over 7 years. Now that’s a true volunteer. Volunteers cook, serve food, transport people to appointments, work the desk and assist with any duties that the staff may not have time to do

One of the most integral parts of the center is a group of civic minded people that form what is called "Counting on Each Other." These are the people that hold yard sales, Shred Events, etc. The money they earn goes into the coffers for dental appointments and hearing aides. I wish I had the figures on how many people they have helped through the years.

If you think the center is not important, think again. It’s great to be young and have children involved in sports or swimming, but to be a complete community we must also serve our elderly. You can do this by voting for the Wellness Center so the seniors can have a more accessible and larger facility.

Judy Gregory