The Red Lion Area Senior Center is already seeing the benefits of a Pennsylvania Department of Aging grant that will expand the center and its services.
Center director Heather Goebeler said the project, slated to start in late August and finish in mid-October, will fund a private classroom and 10 more computers, allowing more seniors to take popular classes on Skype and Internet navigation.
The center also plans to assemble a collection of resources for seniors to educate themselves about everything from assisted living to health care and power of attorney, Goebeler said. She said they will also do general renovations on the decades-old facility.
Goebeler said seniors are excited about the changes and more have joined since it received the $105,000 grant from the state Department of Aging in late May.
Membership: "We've seen a huge increase in our center membership already, and I think we'll see more and more people coming to the center now that these opportunities are available to them," Goebeler said.
The center has nearly 900 registered members, with about 100 coming every day, Goebeler said. She noted some classes are so popular they have had to turn people away.
Red Lion was one of 36 centers around the state to receive the newly created grants. She said without the grant, it would have taken about three years of fundraising to implement the changes.
"We were going to move in that direction prior to the grant," Goebeler said. "It allowed us to do it right away because the need was here already."
Beyond Red Lion: The Department of Aging awarded the Red Lion Area Senior Center the grant because its proposal effectively tied construction work with programming plans, said Secretary Brian Duke. The department had around 120 applications, Duke said.
He said they will be evaluating the changes to see whether they can be replicated at other senior centers around Pennsylvania.
Goebeler said programs will not be interrupted during the construction, which will be completed in two phases. The center is at 20 Gotham Place in York Township.
"It's all kind of getting a facelift," Goebeler said. "We're definitely trying to be a community focal point in our area ... a catalyst for anything senior-related."
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