Here it is the last Sunday of the year and I am visiting with you all once again. Who would’ve thought that I had that much to say? And I do have quite a bit to say today, because I am going to tell you all about the new fantastic stuff that is being designed for the new and improved Shawnee Senior Center.

Well, good morning, again!

Here it is the last Sunday of the year and I am visiting with you all once again. Who would’ve thought that I had that much to say? And I do have quite a bit to say today, because I am going to tell you all about the new fantastic stuff that is being designed for the new and improved Shawnee Senior Center.

But first I would like to explain the meaning of “branding” (no the center is not opening up some kind of cattle operation behind the Greenhouse). “Branding” in the sense of advertising is a totally different thing.

Now I am going to try to explain how I understand what the word means in the advertising sense based on what I understood when Kate (you remember she’s the cruise director here at the center) explained it to me.

Branding is how an entity (be it a business or website or a pair of shoes) can immediately identify for the person viewing it what they are going to be seeing. For instance, you see a cell phone commercial with a picture of an apple with a bite out of it on your TV screen. Instantly, you know the Apple company is asking for your purchase of one of their phones. You didn’t see a phone yet you knew the product for sale was an Apple product be it a phone, iPad or service. By the way, just for additional information, Nike also has branding with their “Swoosh.” If you don’t want to look up what in heaven’s name is a “Swoosh,” it’s the arrow like design on the side of each pair of Nike shoes. Again, see the “Swoosh,” next comes the shoes!

The new “branding” being done for the Shawnee Senior Center is not quite the same but it will result in the same response. The new “logo” will be presented at the Jan. 13 “Blue Jeans Ball,” complete with new lettering, new bright colors and up-to-date information on what’s happening at the center.

Now, quickly I’m going to give you a brief history of the Shawnee Senior Center from its start in 1984.

Now maybe some of you remember back to ’84 but, even though I did live here then, I don’t remember because I barely remember yesterday.

In 1984, the seniors in Shawnee raised $500,000, which was then matched by a Community Development Block Grant the city of Shawnee received to provide a center for senior citizens in the Shawnee area. And from that came the present Shawnee Senior Center, located at 401 N. Bell, just east of the municipal auditorium/gym in downtown Shawnee.

Now, 21 years passed and then our current director, Kate Joyce, came upon the scene. She is now going into her 13th year and has seen changes occurring each year in the center: She started a website, Facebook page, free breakfasts were joined by a healthy lunch for a minimal price, free exercise classes for all, live music for dancing and a whole swirl of other things to do and enjoy at the center.

But times change and the center needs to update and change to meet the needs of a more mobile, active group of seniors. People are living longer and healthier than ever before and more and more is being done to keep them active, socially aware and involved.

And that’s where we are now, and that’s why we are making the changes to Facebook and our website and the look and feel of the senior center.

One of the biggest problems that face non-profit, 501C3 entities like our center is money. Lack of same to completely identify the problem. So the center is going into the “planning and fundraising” mode required to help support what changes need to be taken.

Our exercise program is funded for a little over half the year by the COEDD-AAA Agency but the classes continue year round and the Avedis Grant money, which helps to continue the program, is running out.

The meals program is funded by a grant from Walmart, but that too does not last for a full year and meals still need to be served for the same minimal price each day. Breakfast continues to be free (with the help of Shawnee Milling) and some creative cooking by our staff. More money is needed for these programs.

Our carpeting needs to be replaced not only in the hallways and offices but also in the W.P. Wood Room, which is probably the most used room at the center.

The ceiling to floor room dividers between the Wood Room and the Community Room need to be replaced and the need for them is necessary for the functional use of the rooms they separate.

We need new and better commercial kitchen equipment to continue to provide the high-quality and healthy meals we strive to serve each day. We need a commercial stove and refrigerator.

A commercial vent would be a great addition to the environment for the cooks who work in the kitchen.

Our director, Kate Joyce, members of our board of directors and some of our employees, Bobbie Doss and Valorie Martin, have been out talking to businesses and people throughout the community in the hopes that many of them can help in whatever way they can to allow the center to continue what it was designed to do – be a home away from home and a social environment that allows seniors to remain an active part of the Shawnee community.

Our new website, with its vibrant colors, new logo and easy to use availability, will soon be available for all to see.

At the “Blue Jeans Ball” on Jan. 13, Kate will introduce it to all who attend. The Facebook page will also be on display then so everyone can enjoy the information it has about the “goings on” at the Shawnee Senior Center. Want to know when there’s a class you are interested in or what’s for lunch, look it up in the calendar on the new website.

There will also be a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Shawnee Chamber of Commerce at 6 p.m. on Jan. 13 to celebrate all the of new changes resulting in a new face for the Shawnee Senior Center.

We hope everyone will attend the dance and activities surrounding the dance on Jan. 13. The band, “Blackwater Smoke,” previously known as the “Geoff Scott Band,” will be providing their country western sound. Tickets are $5 for children under the age of 12 and senior citizens over the age of 50, and $10 for adults from 13 to 49. More on that next week.

But for now, please think about donating or sponsoring an event for the Shawnee Senior Center. It’s your organization and we want you to be a part of it whether it be as a sponsor, donor or participant. More next week, so watch this space.

Have a happy, safe new year from all of us at the center.

Kate Joyce will join the “Mike in the Morning” show on KGFF Radio (FM 100.9 or AM 1450) at 8:35 every Wednesday morning to keep you updated on the “goings on” at the Shawnee Senior Center.

Remember , at the center “age is just a number,” the new website will be active after Jan. 13 at, and the new Facebook page will also be live after Jan. 13 at “Shawnee Senior Center.”

See you at the center!