By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — The Newkirk Senior Citizens Center has long served the needs of the community’s older residents, providing meals, healthcare and fellowship for those who need attend. Year after year, they have met those needs, but for 2023, they have their own New Year’s Resolution, one that intends to bridge the gap between the seniors and the youngest generations, helping both to learn from each other and at the same time, supporting each other.
Serena Welch is the director of the Center and is excited about what is coming in the New Year, at least that which they have planned, especially with the school.
“We’re going to be focusing on doing things with the school that bond with the younger students, and teaching them about giving to the community, learning to be leaders,” Welch said.
That has already started, in a sense, as the Newkirk High School FFA chapter has long been bringing gift bags to the annual Christmas potluck, but even more recently, Newkirk Middle School teacher Ali Carpenter has taught her own students community involvement through a food drive, which greatly impacted the Center’s food pantry.
“I think what Bailey (Reinart), what the FFA kids are building, the things she’s teaching, she’s teaching them service,” Welch said.
Additionally, the Center saw seniors teaching youth concepts that would benefit their lives into their future, especially as they approached adulthood.
“In the past, we have had our senior citizens teaching our boys how to tie a tie, just life skills,” she said.
In the New Year, Center leaders want to help the students impact the seniors, as well, two generations making each other’s lives better.
“We’re going to focus on working together, the older and younger generations,” she said. “I think the youth have a lot to teach us as well, we just have to listen.”
The youth, of course, have a lot they can give to the older generations, if they themselves are willing to listen, a willingness to help the community.
“Our seniors, they need help with the lawn mowing, weeding,” she said. “Newkirk is wonderful about helping each other, they really are.”
Health and wellness are also on the minds of Senior Center leaders this New Year.
“We’re definitely having a spring health fair, and we’re teaming up with the fire department and they’re helping our seniors make sure they are equipped with fire alarms,” Welch said.
Center leaders’ welcome members of the community of all ages, and are always looking for ways to improve their services, especially toward the seniors.
“I’d love the community to come into the Center,” Welch said. “If you have an idea to help the community, come in and let’s talk about it. Let’s make it happen.”
The Center is located at 525 W. South St., and can be contacted at (580) 362-1409. Welch also can be contacted at (405) 213-5360.