October 22, 2009 in Washington Voices

Seniors establish center

Edgecliff residents will use portable at old Pratt school
By The Spokesman-Review

“My idea is to get people interested in writing historical stuff,” suggested Don Olmsted, as members of a neighborhood group brainstormed about programs they’d in interested in at the new Edgecliff Neighborhood Center, Oct. 12. The senior and adult center will be open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.bartr@spokesman.com
(Full-size photo)

If you go

The Edgecliff Senior Center, in a portable building at 6903 E. Fourth Ave., is now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Admission is free. It is next door to Valley Meals on Wheels site, which serves hot lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays for $3.50.

An after-school program at the Edgecliff Neighborhood Center may have died off from lack of funds, but something new is rising from the ashes.

Organizers have launched the fledgling Edgecliff Senior Center in a portable classroom building next to the former Pratt Elementary at 6903 E. Fourth Ave. It’s next to the Valley Meals on Wheels site, the only other program to survive when all the other programs shut down.

Head volunteer Vi Temple said she’s always wanted to start a senior center and it pairs nicely with Meals on Wheels. “We hope this is going to be a viable venture,” she said. “We hope that our operation as a senior center will draw more people to her operation next door.”

The senior center will be open every weekday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A variety of activities are planned, including crafts, knitting classes, card games, bingo, movies and scrapbooking. Speakers will come in occasionally to talk about health issues. Computers are available for use and a volunteer host will be on site every day to direct activities.

People can also just sit around and sip coffee while chatting if they prefer. “That’s probably what we’ll do a lot if we don’t have anything scheduled,” she said.

For now, no membership fees or supply fees will be charged. “We have quite a few supplies from the previous operation,” she said. “We may have to institute fees later.”

Temple knows that she has to find a funding source to keep the center open and is looking for grants and donations. “I’ll have to do some money raising,” she said.

Getting people up and out of the house is Temple’s goal. As people get older they need to keep mentally stimulated and as physically fit as possible, she said. “You need to have something otherwise you will, like a half-empty bucket, rust out.”

The old school used to host an after-school program for children complete with a library and computer lab. The program was overseen by Spokane Valley Partners, which also ran a small food bank at the site. But a hoped for grant did not materialize and the program was shut down at the end of August. Valley Partners was never notified that the grant was not going to be awarded, said CEO Ken Briggs. “They just didn’t say anything,” he said. “It’s definitely a tough environment out there.”

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