The first time Julianna came to Lake City Senior Days it was for Enhance Fitness. “The doctor said, you need to get moving, “ and that was what she came to do. Even though it was years ago, her first impression of the program was a lasting one. Looking for the right room Julianna said, “I was lost, not sure where to go. It must have shown on my face.” That’s when she ran into Claudine, Lake City Senior Days Program Manager. She recalls how warm and welcome Claudine was, and how much it put Julianna at ease.
The Lake City neighborhood doesn’t have a senior center, which is why Lake City Senior Days began. The program is an attempt to create a “senior center without walls”. This means providing meals, social services, socialization, and physical fitness opportunities, even if takes some creative collaboration to make it a reality. Sound Generations carefully curates programming that best fits our unique community. And when programming was diversified, partners like SeaMar Community Health Centers and Chinese Information Service Center, were brought in to provide programing in participants’ first language. And, as you likely know, Hunger Intervention Program provides a hot lunch.
Julianna’s experience at Lake City Senior Days, shows that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts. What started as a venture to get more exercise, turned into the discovery of a community space that had so much to offer. After her first few Enhance Fitness classes, she stayed for lunch. It wasn’t long before she had made new friends. As she got to know the community better, she started taking advantage of more programming, and is now one of the regulars at the sewing club. As we speak, she is wearing a purple dress that the club helped her design, fit, and sew. And, she made a matching handbag!
Julianna calls Lake City Senior Days her “home-base community,” and we couldn’t think of higher praise. For us food was the beginning of creating this space, but after five years of thriving partnerships, it is so much more.