Celebrating their 37th anniversary, members of the Senior Citizens Council marked the grand opening of a new Columbia County headquarters Tuesday.
Magnolia Donahue leads the benediction during the ribbon-cutting of the new Senior Citizens Council headquarters at 218 Oak St. N. in Martinez.
photo by J. Scott Trubey
About 40 people attended the open house of the facility at 218 Oak St. N., Suites K through M, which replaces the council's former facility on 15th Street in Augusta. The facility officially opened Aug. 1.
The headquarters also marks a shift in roles for the council. In June, the council began moving out of its large senior center after the Medical College of Georgia Foundation purchased the building.
"We will continue to serve the geographic areas we always served," said Ron Schoeffler, the executive director. "But we're no longer providing senior center, community-type, recreational services."
Those services, in Richmond County at least, will be provided by the Richmond County Recreation and Parks Department.
The Senior Citizens Council lost the contract to provide services such as meals to seniors last year. Funding for the meals and the nutritional education services required under that contract largely supported the high rent for a facility such as the 15th Street center and the senior activities it operated, Schoeffler said.
Now, the council is focusing its attention on fostering senior volunteerism in the Augusta area, Schoeffler said. The council has had success getting seniors involved in their communities, he said.
Schoeffler highlighted youth literacy programs, foster grandparent and parks cleanup and maintenance at Mistletoe Park in Harlem. He said he is excited about starting programs to benefit at-risk youths in partnership with the Columbia County school system.
Bodie E. Adams, the president of the board of directors for the Senior Citizens Council, cuts the ribbon at the grand opening. The new headquarters was opened in August and held its grand opening Tuesday.
photo by J. Scott Trubey
"Our niche is working with volunteers," he said.
Speaking to a crowd, which included the leadership of the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, council board President Bodie E. Adams called the opening a "time of transition."
"I believe there's a future," Schoeffler said of the decision to move from downtown.
Despite criticism, he said, the move follows the trend of growth to the west of the city and the council will work with Columbia County officials to recruit volunteers and provide services to seniors.
Also at the meeting, the board recognized volunteers and other contributors to the improvement of life for seniors in the Augusta area.
Senior News, a publication focused on senior citizens, won the board's Helping Hands Award. Marj Poffenbarger won the Senior Citizen Inspiration Award. Marie Sweeney won the 2005 Presidential Award for Volunteer of the Year for her service to others.
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