Plainville officials are getting ready for another milestone celebration—the 45th anniversary of the Plainville Senior Citizens Center opening.
Shawn Cohen, the first and only executive director to be hired at the center, said plans are still in a very preliminary phase but that the center always tries to do something special for a milestone such as this. Special events include breakfasts, lunches, parties, and informational lectures about the history of the center.
“It’s the most exciting thing in my life,” said Cohen. “I never imagined how much growth we’d have and how much support we would get from grant agencies, members, and the community.”
Before serving as the town’s hub of activity for older residents, the property served as a courthouse and police department before becoming housing for factory workers during World War II. As workers continued to migrate to Plainville, more housing was built to accommodate it. The housing that was built is still standing today, and now serves the town via the Plainville Housing Authority.
Cohen explained that the center started small and tried to grow to meet the needs of the community, whatever those needs may be, with a special emphasis on the needs of the older population.
“Being together and socializing is very, very important,” said Cohen, who described loneliness as being an epidemic. “People come for lunch and end up spending all day. Some talk about the center as their family. They really find socialization and friendship and things to do.”
The director said she even hears members saying that they feel as if they are busier now as members than they were while they were working and or raising their families.
Cohen attributes much of the center’s success to the dedicated army of more than 300 volunteers who, in a combined effort last year, served more than 14,000 volunteer hours between working in the center or other related events and activities such as the meals on wheels program and member outings.
Even when the center was in its infancy, Cohen recalls hundreds of volunteers coming to help clean the facility and the furniture that was donated as businesses moved out of town and left tables and chairs behind.
“Volunteers have been involved since we opened our doors, and what is so exciting is how much people care about the center,” said Cohen. “We have a phenomenal staff that really, really cares about people. We’re always very busy.”
Each month the center publishes a lengthy document containing all of the upcoming informational sessions, bus trips, classes, and other activities being offered. Some offerings can be expected each month, such as a coffee hour for veterans looking for information and support, or the weekly billiards tournaments. Others still are date specific, such as the upcoming dental clinic that will be offered in late April.
“It’s just the most rewarding feeling—the greatest feeling—to know how much is happening under our roof,” said Cohen. “We’re changing lives every day all because of the town, the support of the community, the people making donations to fund programs, the volunteers and staff. There are some really good people, and incredible members, ready to pitch in.”
The Plainville Senior Center at 200 East Street, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday’s, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday’s through Thursdays, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.
To learn more about the center, and to download this month’s newsletter, you can visit their website, www.plainvillect.com/senior-center, or contact the center by calling (860) 747-5728.