Emphasize the positive at the Center
KENNEBUNK – What happens to a gathering place for people 50 and over when a global pandemic means changing the way events happen?
You turn the negative into the positive. You take a regular lunch that had been an in-person event and do it curbside – and it turns out to be a success.
You put yoga and tai chi classes online.
And you continue in a positive way.
When the pandemic shut down pretty much everything in March 2020, that also led to changes at the Center, with some programs moved online and others on hold.
But it is no longer so.
A few months later, the place was again able to offer programs and courses and events, with precautions.
The people who work there and those who come to knit or attend a conference or class are delighted.
“When I arrived here, I didn’t know anyone. Jackie (Samson) introduced me, ”said Linda Hopper, knitting with the other members on a recent Friday. “And I love to read, and the library is well stocked.”
Executive Director Kate Jollie said within two weeks of the March 2020 shutdown, the virtual programs were up and running. Then, a few months later, in June, Le Center was able to offer events in person, with masks and other protocols.
These days the Center is open with a full schedule, but some programs also stay online, by choice.
“We found that people really like having it virtual,” Jollie said. “It helps in bad weather. And, she said, people who winter elsewhere can join them from any location.
This is one of the positive aspects of the Center – which also annually offers residents of the region the opportunity to nominate people from the region as role models of positive life – people who make a difference in the lives of others through kind gestures, volunteering and a can- do attitude.
This year there have been several nominations. Among them, John “Rocky” Furman Jr and Elaine Talevi, both of Wells, were chosen.
Furman, according to information provided to the Center, “had been running around Drake Island since 1953”.
Here’s what people have said about Furman, according to The Center: “He has been an amazing neighbor to many in Wells and the surrounding communities. He was the Treasurer of Save our Shores Maine for over 20 years, he was part of Wells Rotary, in charge of Wells Harborfest for many years and has been active with Laudholm Farm for decades.
“He hunts people; he shovels their walks. He is always there for everyone. He delivers fresh corn, brings fresh berries, leaves kind notes, calls, texts and always checks others. If you need a ride, something fixed, or some help in any way he can help you, he’s here for you. No one really knows how much he does for others every day because he would never tell you. He always has a cheerful smile and a positive attitude.
Dave and Elaine Talevi operated the Sea-Vu Campground until her sudden death in 2010. Elaine continued, learning about parts of the business her husband had run in the past in addition to her own role at the campground. At the same time, she created the David F. Talevi Foundation in her name.
“The foundation annually raises funds to fund five or six $ 1,000 scholarships for local students as well as camper children and makes silver-level gifts to the Maine Heart Association, the American Cancer Society as well as at Honor Flight, Center for Grieving Children, and Portland’s Womens. Free clinic ”, according to his appointment. “She is an inspiration to everyone. Here is a woman who has always strived to bring happiness and success to others.
Both were recently honored by the Center.
Staff and attendees alike look to more positives in the future – and are working on some of them now.
The knitters, who meet on Fridays, make scarves and hats for the Elder Elves Project – gifts given to older people who are alone during the holidays. So far there are up to 70 scarves.
Everyone looks forward to the annual boxwood wreath sale on the first Saturday in December, which also marks the first weekend of Prelude, Jollie said.
The FISH program which offers trips to medical appointments for the elderly is in full swing, and tenders and love for those interested in someone checking them out continues, as they have. done throughout the pandemic.
There is an array of events, from bridge to yoga, virtual tai chi, art workshops, conversational Spanish classes, phone bingo, and more, including legal topics, the support group in mourning, and more. Information and timetables on: https://seniorcenterkennebunk.org/
Samson, working on a scarf, said knitters love what they do – and while knitting is something that can be done at home, “it’s not as fun” as the 10am sessions. at noon every Friday at the Center. “We knit, chat, chat, and then we go out to lunch,” she said.
“We make great friends,” Hooper said.