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Building community amongst seniors
Parksville Seniors Centre Society
Elli Steinki speaks affectionately of the Parksville Seniors’ Activity and Drop-In Centre.
“We have lots of fun here,” she laughs. “Lots of fun. That’s what we’re here for - to give the people a chance to relax, to find friends, and to have a good time.”
Given that BC Seniors are living longer and healthier lives means that senior centres need to expand their facilities in order to keep up with their growing memberships. Such was the case for the Parksville Centre. Fortunately, their nearly 600-person membership was able to rally together and, with the support of Vancouver Foundation, they expanded their facilities so there is now enough space to accommodate everyone.
Vancouver Foundation is committed to fostering dignity, independence, respect, and security for individuals throughout their lifespan. It supports projects that help seniors strengthen their community of support and enhance their personal safety, health, and well-being.
Steinki explains the importance of funding projects such as theirs. “When you get older, you will find that you need more people around you. Coming to the Centre keeps you alert and it helps to brighten your days.”
Vancouver Foundation is equally committed to working with seniors as a community in and of their own right in order to ensure that the most effective and appropriate ways are found to address their growing and changing needs.
The Parksville Seniors’ Centre has been offering seniors companionship, support, and physical and mental exercise for 20 years. In order to undertake the expansion of their facilities, they raised more than $60,000 from local organizations, individuals, centre memberships, and foundations – including $15,000 from Vancouver Foundation. Kitty Larner, Centre President, is grateful to Vancouver Foundation. She maintains, “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Steinki’s eyes shine when she talks about the renovated premises.
“Oh, well, it’s quite a big difference! We had a small counter – not much space to move around. And with all the people coming in and wanting to have a coffee, maybe a soup or a sandwich, we needed more room. We have everything we need there now.”
Vancouver Foundation recognizes that while many seniors enjoy long and healthy lives, others struggle with loneliness, poverty, isolation, and despair. By supporting projects like the Parksville Seniors’ Centre renovations, the Foundation acknowledges the importance of building community amongst seniors.
Larner sums up the Parksville Centre’s winning philosophy.
“There’s no need to be lonely here on the Island. There’s always somewhere you can go. Everything we have here is fun. It keeps your body going and your mind going. It gives you a laugh. And there’s nothing better in the world than a good laugh – even if you laugh at yourself.”
(Originally aired: 2007)
(Story written: 2007)