Seniors celebrate: Local Center welcomes Warner

Charlottesville’s Senior Center is one happening place, especially these days, because the non-profit organization, whose mission is to enrich and empower healthy seniors in the community, just became the first nationally accredited center of its type in the state of Virginia.
That’s no small feat: in order to earn this seal of approval, the Senior Center had to undergo a rigorous evaluation process in which every possible area– from philosophy to facilities, from community involvement to internal operations and governance, from program planning to fiscal planning– was examined under the microscope of the National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC).   
Needless to say, they passed with flying colors.
As a sign of the significance of this event, Governor Mark Warner will speak at a special accreditation celebration on May 13 at 3pm. Warner is a long-time advocate of seniors, and he’s expected to talk about some of his initiatives-– such as Senior Navigator, a new website geared entirely towards seniors. City and county officials will also be present.
And there’ll be music, though it’s hard to remember which of the center’s numerous groups will perform-– the Barbershop Belles? The Silver Tones? The Second Wind Band? Or was it the tap-dancing Silver Steppers?
I could hardly keep up with marketing director Wendy Greene as she rattled off a list of the Senior Center’s endlessly evolving programs, which include classes, lectures, clubs, and socials. Many of the ideas come from the center’s 2,000 members themselves. For the fitness-inclined, there are five hiking groups as well as multi-level classes in aerobics, yoga, line and ballroom dancing, weights, bowling, and tennis.
For the artsy, how about ceramics, puppet making, painting, crocheting, or wood-carving? Silver hair or not, there’s a group for every color in the rainbow, and then some– a Travel Club, a French Club, a Math Club, a Web-design group and a group that gets together simply to tell stories about walnuts or memorably bad gifts.
I almost can’t wait to be 50, so I can start having some real fun.
If you, or someone you love, is a senior, then this is the week to find out more about the Senior Center’s range of offerings. Spring Open House Week runs from May 12-16. During this week, all seniors are invited to try any and all of the center’s 71 programs for free.
There will also be special free activities at the Center each day, primarily in the afternoon, from massages to bone density screenings to an ice-cream social.  
The Senior Center Inc.’s Accreditation Celebration takes place at  1180 Pepsi Place, off Greenbrier Drive (off 29N) on Tuesday, May 13 at 3pm. Open to the public. Open House Week at the Senior Center runs May 12-16, with special free activities each afternoon. For a complete schedule or more information (including info on transportation to and from the center via the JAUNT bus) visit or call 974-7756.