A June 2 celebration marked the 20th anniversary of the Redmond Senior Center (RSC) and honored three volunteers who’ve brightened the lives of local seniors.
May was Older Americans Month in the City of Redmond. Kathleen Hughlock, Richard Williams and James Furrow were officially recognized by Mayor John Marchione and the City Council then. But a party for the 20-year-old building was a fitting time to spotlight these volunteers’ accomplishments and those of others who brought the idea of a dedicated senior center to fruition.
Hughlock works at the RSC’s front desk and beverage bar and sends greeting cards to seniors recovering from illness or grief through a “Friends Who Care” program.
Hughlock calls the RSC “the aspirin for what ails you,” said program coordinator Teri Burke, citing Hughlock’s “positive, cheerful, youthful spirit.”
Williams has delivered Meals on Wheels for 15 years, giving “consistent comfort to homebound seniors,” Burke remarked.
Furrow has spent 10 years presenting financial workshops at the RSC, offering “clear, unbiased information” on important topics such as investments, taxes and estate planning, said Burke.
Colorful anniversary photo displays, created by other volunteers, showed RSC field trips, dances, classes and other activities for seniors and the community at large.
“When this center opened, I was just a little kid,” joked Ken Wong, site administrator for the RSC, who is also well-known for his teen programs in the city.
“It took folks like you to make this happen,” Wong stated, gesturing to RSC advisory committee members.
Before the RSC opened in 1990, senior services in the city were modest and scattered throughout various locations.
“When I started working in the fall of 1986, we had ‘on demand’ transportation. People would call in and I would go pick them up, take them to their activity and when they were done, I would take them home,” recalled Janice Dunlap of the RSC.
Hot lunch was served once a week at the American Legion Hall, and aerobics and water aerobics classes were at the Redmond United Methodist Church and Redmond Pool, said Dunlap.
The RSC’s main offices were housed in the log cabin at Anderson Park.
“We had a pool table with a cover and a group would come and play cards on it. We had day trips and I also took people grocery shopping once a week,” Dunlap continued.
After much research and legwork by seniors wanting a dedicated center, voters approved a proposition to fund the current senior center.
“Think of it as one leg of a three-legged stool supporting recreation in Redmond,” said advisory committee member Ray Anspach. “The other two are the Old Redmond Schoolhouse Community Center and the Old Fire House Teen Center. The former is ideal for families with young children and the latter — as the name indicates — for teenagers. Our city is very fortunate to have such an arrangement, whereby all have a special place where they can congregate with others having similar needs and interests.”
And in recent years, the RSC has also increased the number and type of activities geared to neighbors of all ages, from Easter Egg hunts, pet fairs and bridal fairs to an upcoming Pancake Breakfast at 10 a.m. Friday, June 11 and Trash or Treasure appraisals event from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, June 12.
Many classes at the RSC are open to anyone 18 or older, such as writing, card games, dance and yoga. The center’s air-conditioned coffee bar is a relaxing place to cool off on hot summer evenings, Burke noted. And the center’s spacious multipurpose room, with a patio overlooking the Sammamish River Trail, can be rented for weddings and other special occasions.
A common misconception, Burke concluded, chuckling, is that the RSC is a residential facility for retirees. Young visitors often inquire, “Where are the bedrooms?”
There aren’t any bedrooms, but there’s a billiard room and Nintendo Wii system in the fireplace lounge.
To learn more about the RSC, drop in and look around. The 20th anniversary photo displays will be up throughout the week at 8703 160th Ave. NE. Or call (425) 556-2314 or click here.