The beginning of fall evokes feelings of nostalgia for most people. We all have memories of back-to-school shopping or first-day jitters as a child, or the return to a “regular” schedule for parents of kids who have run like strays for the summer.

Fall brings a sense of new beginnings and a time for growth — even long after we are out of school. Maybe that’s why September is designated as National Senior Center Month.

Senior centers across the country promote opportunities for learning and personal growth throughout the year, but in September we especially celebrate the varying interests of participants and the diversity in programs. The National Council on Aging says, “Senior centers are the future of what aging can be. Innovative programs hosted at senior centers can change the perception of aging, and create important community resources for aging expertise.”

At Senior Coastsiders, we couldn’t agree more! We are constantly looking for ways to meet the needs of older adults by creating new opportunities for learning and enrichment, and by inviting members of all ages to build community within our center. 

In addition to our 30-plus classes and programs offered every week, we have some extras happening in September to celebrate National Senior Center Month. Invite your neighbors and friends to come see how senior centers are, indeed, the future of what aging can be.

Fall Fling: We will officially kick off National Senior Center Month with a Fall Fling from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 6. We will have live music by Amor and enjoy a great afternoon of dancing, laughing and fun. This free event is open to all ages. Light refreshments will be available.

First responders luncheon: On Sept. 11, we will host local first responders during our annual first responders luncheon. This is a great opportunity to get to know the men and women who protect and serve our community. Lunch check-in starts at 11 a.m. and lunch is served at noon. Lunch is available to those 60 and over, and, on that day, to those with a badge!

Grandparents luncheon: On Sept. 17, we will celebrate National Grandparents Day and invite our participants to bring their grandchildren for lunch. We love to see new faces, young and old, around the center and hope you’ll join us! If you plan to attend with your grandchild(ren), give us a call at the office so we can get an approximate count for lunch. The number is 726-9056. Lunch is served at noon, but participants can begin checking in at 11 a.m.

Game Day: All ages are welcome on Sept. 23 when we will transform the dining room into a game room, and we invite community members to show their friendly competitive spirit. We will have cornhole, ladder toss, giant Connect 4 and chess and pingpong, as well as some table games like dominos and board games. We will begin our games at 1:30 p.m. and see where the afternoon takes us.

Over the course of the month of September, we have a few special ongoing classes and events as well.

Conscious Aging: This 8-week session will begin on Sept. 4 during which participants will discuss their life journey and gather wisdom from those experiences. This class is an emotional wellness program designed to offer seniors a chance for reflection and provides tools to deal with the stresses of aging. For more information or to register, contact Sally LoPrete by email at sallopr@gmail.com. Session will run from 1 to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Sept. 4 through Oct. 23.

Who’s That Baby? contest: Senior Coastsiders staff will be gathering photos of our participants, staff and volunteers throughout the month of September and posting them on boards around the dining room. How many people do you think you’ll recognize? The office will have response sheets so you can make your guesses. Awards will be given to the top three participants with the most correct answers. To participate, please bring a photo by the office where we will make a copy, or submit a photo by email to: hatmore@seniorcoastsiders.org. 

Senior centers meet the diverse needs of different older adults depending on age, mobility and interests. During the month of September, Senior Coastsiders hopes to remind the entire Coastside community that there is something for everyone within our walls. Our staff is always open to your programming suggestions! If you have questions about any of these events, call Senior Coastsiders — your community senior center — where all are welcome.

Hope Atmore is the program coordinator for Senior Coastsiders.

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