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Storytime Band to play June 22 for first time after center re-opens

Amy Riggins

Good morning, Shawnee! We are looking forward to seeing folks at the Senior Center at 401 N. Bell when we reopen on Monday, June 22! We plan to open our regular hours of Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The Storytime Band is excited to start back up playing on Tuesday and Thursday 1:00-2:30 p.m., and they will kick off their first country music session on Tuesday, June 23.

The Community Center at 804 S. Park will remain closed to the public throughout the month of June, but they will continue to offer Project Heart meals on a take-out basis to their registered participants. At this point, we don’t have a firm date for when they will return to business as usual. For more information about Project Heart and their meal service for individuals aged 60+, call 405-275-4530. Watch for more updates on their schedule and offerings.

One exception for the Community Center remaining closed is Angie’s fitness classes. Until Project Heart resumes serving meals in person in the dining room, senior fitness classes will meet in the Community Center at the temporary time of 10:00-10:45 a.m., Monday through Thursday, beginning June 22. Join Angie on Monday and Wednesday for Chair Fitness Stretching, and on Tuesday and Thursday for Chair Fitness Strength. This is the only activity at the Community Center for now. The class time of 10:00-10:45 a.m. is only temporary until the whole center reopens, and then it will return to its normal time of 11:00-11:45 a.m.

Speaking of fitness classes, the schedule at the Senior Center is as follows. Beginning June 22, Beth’s Enhance® Fitness class will meet Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30-9:30 a.m. Tai Chi Moving for Better Balance class taught by Cyndi will continue to meet on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:15-9:15 a.m., beginning on June 23. These two classes are funded through the Title III Older American Act Grant from COEDD, and we appreciate their support.

We are sad to announce our Tai Chi instructor Randy is moving out-of-town, so his Monday and Wednesday afternoon class will no longer meet. We’ve appreciated Randy’s humor and contributions this past year, and we understand his decision to live closer to his family. We will miss you Randy!

However, we have a new afternoon class beginning June 23 on Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30-4:30 p.m. Angie will begin teaching in the afternoons at the Senior Center, offering her popular Restorative Stretching Gentle Yoga class. The class includes gentle stretching exercises and beginning yoga poses which help with flexibility, balance, muscle strength, and increasing breathing and circulation. All movements can be done standing up, in a chair, or on a mat. Come try this rewarding and effective class, as you may be surprised how enjoyable it is!

All senior fitness classes at both locations are free for individuals aged 55+ and no reservation or registration is required. Just drop in! If you bring a guest who is under age 55, their cost will be $5.00 per class.

The past few weeks, I’ve been sharing about volunteer opportunities in the Shawnee Parks and Recreation Department. We are looking to expand our volunteer program over the next year. Let me describe two more possible roles for volunteers.

Do you like to make phone calls? Or do you prefer sending emails? Both are ways a Volunteer Communication Specialist could assist us. We are looking for volunteers who would enjoy sharing information with others about the Parks and Recreation Department programs and upcoming events. Activating a telephone calling chain would help us get the word out about schedule changes or urgent matters, so if communication is in your skill set, please let us know.

Do you enjoy playing board games? Are you a master at Monopoly, Life, Clue, or Scrabble? Or do you prefer other games such as Rummikub, Yahtze, Boggle, or Sequence? What are your favorite games to play? Perhaps you’d like to become a Volunteer Game Host or Hostess and organize a regular board game time. We envision offering different games played once a month or so, or even more often. If you’ve got time, come share your game skills with us!

If you are interested in learning more about our volunteer program or would like to apply, please contact us at 405-878-1528 or email me at amy.riggins@shawneeok.org

There are many volunteer roles we’d like to offer through our Parks and Recreation Department offerings. In keeping with our intent to provide the best possible programs and services, we now undergo a volunteer screening process. We require potential volunteers to fill out an application, consent to a background check, and participate in an interview. Volunteer orientation and training sessions will also be offered.

In addition, individuals who are aged 55+ can simultaneously serve as a volunteer in the Volunteers Impacting People program, a.k.a. “VIP.” This long-standing program is a vital partner with us, and we anticipate expanding avenues for senior volunteers for many years to come.

As we plan to reopen the Shawnee Senior Center on Monday, June 22, we’ve received several questions about what that will look like. While we were closed due to COVID-19, our entire facility was sanitized and disinfected. Once we reopen, we will continue to sanitize and disinfect the center once a day before normal business hours.

Any snacks served will be individually wrapped, and our coffee and beverages will only be available at the front desk, not in a common area. We will encourage social distancing, but individuals will need to monitor themselves. Waving from a short distance will be preferred instead of any hugs or handshakes. Masks will not be required, nor will there be any screening of patrons.

This means each person will need to do what’s best for them personally. Since Oklahoma still has a safer-at-home recommendation for those with underlining health conditions or aged 65+, you might decide it is better for you to wait. We encourage you to be safe and return when you feel comfortable to do so. We will still be here, and we will save you a place! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at amy.riggins@shawneeok.org or 405-878-1528.

Be watching for more details about Shawnee Senior Happenings in next week’s News-Star edition, and also tune in to listen to the “Mike in the Mornings” show on KGFF, aired Wednesday mornings at 8:30 a.m. on your radio dial at 1450 AM or 100.9 FM.

We look forward to seeing you soon at one of our Centers, whenever you are ready!