A much needed facelift will take place at Volunteers of America of Minnesota’s Southwest Senior Center thanks to a $49,000 capital grant from the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation. The grant will be used to replace worn and dirty carpeting, brighten the interior by replacing dark paneling with lighter walls and installing a window in the dining room, reconfigure the front lobby so that it is better able to accommodate people with wheelchairs and walkers, install a soup pot and display stand in order to offer new dining options such as soups and salads. In addition, the Center is embarking on a plan to raise $15,000 in matching grants to upgrade the furniture.
While our programming continues to thrive, the interior of the building is in major need of an upgrade. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a number of changes at one time so that it really has an impact, rather than trying to piecemeal together our updates. We are grateful to the Foundation for this unique opportunity.
Center participants were enthusiastic during a July focus group about upcoming changes providing feedback to guide the planning and decision making process. Many voiced support for new dining options, which will provide low cost soups, salads, and sandwiches that people can eat at the Center or bring home for an evening or weekend meal.
According to Jeannette Weeks, a CARAG resident, “All the changes will make the Center more inviting and I think the window will make it feel even more like family dining.”
CARAG resident Teresa Ernst is excited about the changes to the lobby that will add more seating capacity. “If you don’t come early for lunch sometimes you don’t get a chair in the lobby. If I’m bored at home, I like coming here to see people.” Teresa and her husband Don like to visit with friends, eat lunch, play cards and take part in the afternoon programs a couple times a week.
Upgrades to the Center will take place during the winter with little disruption in programming. For the most part, the contractors will be able to work in one area and programming and dining will move in the Center as needed. An Open House to celebrate the changes will be held once all the work is complete.
Programs at the Center, located at 3612 Bryant Avenue South, include senior dining, an adult day program, social work services, exercise classes, computer lab and classes and education, social, and volunteer opportunities. For more information about the program: 612.822.3194 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mary Ann Schoenberger is the Director of Southwest Senior Center, a project of Volunteers of America of Minnesota, a nonprofit organization founded in 1896 which offers a wide variety of services. For more information about Volunteers of America of Minnesota, visit www.voamn.org, or call 952.945.4000.
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