Describe your nonprofit’s mission.
Senior Center positively impacts our community by creating opportunities for healthy aging through social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement, creativity, and lifelong learning.

What need in our community brought about the creation of your nonprofit?
The University League (now the Junior League of Charlottesville) founded the Senior Center in 1960. They had discussed un-met community needs with a variety of public, private, and nonprofit leaders and found that due to transformational demographic shifts, there was a growing need for social and recreation programs for area seniors. Longer lifespans, women (who are the traditional caregivers for aging family members) in the workplace, families dispersing around the country all led to the need for our Senior Center.

How has your nonprofit made a difference in our community?
Over 8,000 unique participants, and over 100,000 duplicated participant units directly benefit from our wellness programming annually.
From our most recent program evaluation, a sampling of outcomes:
1) Fitness program participants reported that 97% had more energy, 86% felt more mentally alert, 85% were happier, and 70% felt balance was better.
2) Recreation program participants reported that 98% have made new friends, and 98% have fun.
3) Lifelong learning program participants reported that 100% learned something new, 97% feel a sense of accomplishment, 96% feel more mentally alert, and 92% feel have made new friends.

We also open our Center to scores of community groups and donate over $120,000 in meeting and event space to area nonprofits each year.
How can community members help you achieve your mission?
Community members can make a difference in many ways:
1) Become a participant in our programs;
2) Encourage a friend, family member, or neighbor to participate in our programs;
3) Volunteer at our Center;
4) Make a donation
5) Coordinate a new program partnership–we have scores but always open to more!

Tell us a story that has come out of your work.
 It’s always a pleasure to see Linda. Petite and smiling, this 61-year old has been lending a hand since 2011, when a Region Ten caseworker, knowing she wanted to do volunteer work, suggested the Senior Center. “I want to give back what was given to me,” Linda says. “I like that I get to do something for others, volunteering. I feel useful.” Linda, who lives on her own, also welcomes the opportunity to be with others. (No disrespect to Germie, her beloved cockatiel!) “I love the people here because they are so cheerful. I smile more when I am here.” When you see the many exchanges of hugs and smiles, it’s clear the feeling is mutual. Along with volunteer work, Linda plays Bingo and paints ceramics at the Center. She’s happy to be learning something new—“Novella is a great teacher,” she says about longtime program leader Novella Mawyer. “I have a lot of friends here. And,” she adds smiling, “I spoil them with my cookies.” “[Being involved at the Center] helps me know that I CAN do something and it helps me a little bit with my memory. I open up and it makes me feel closer to people.”

For Linda, these positive social connections provide support and motivation. When her sister recently suffered a stroke, Linda called and asked us to add this to her story: “The people who have helped me the most are my family, my friends, and God.” That Linda can count the Center among her friends is the greatest thanks we can share with everyone who supports our mission.

Learn more about the Senior Center

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