Keep Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center Local!

Staff of the Danville Boyle County Senior Citizens Center in Kentucky
A few of the members of the Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center Staff

Recently there has been quite a bit of hubub about the Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center here in town. Someone, allegedly a “high ranking county official,” requested that an outside organization (Blue Grass Community Action Partnership) come in and bid on the contract for Home Care services and for Title III (Congregate) Services. Title III is the funding to provide activities and programs for our local seniors at our local Senior Citizens Center, also known as “The Gathering Place” — which is located at 569 Jean Drive (map) here in Danville, KY.

My Disclosure

I support senior citizens. Most of my readers know I’ve been writing about senior issues for years. I’m all about writing “how to” information for people who want to age in place. I write about Universal design, safety, housing options. I promote tiny homes for seniors. I help real estate agents who specialize in senior clients to better serve their clients. I write about decluttering and simplifying for seniors (and everyone in other age brackets too!)

I support the local Senior Citizens Center. I support it with my volunteer time and by spreading the word about what they do and how awesome they are. I support it so much that when a board member told me last fall that the center was in search of an interim director, I recommended they talk to my mother, a long-retired PR and HR professional. (Pops had started taking college classes locally, and I believed that Mom would both enjoy and be a huge help to the local center during the transition.) My mother, an organizer extraordinaire, is talented and energetic and dedicated to any cause she undertakes — and that’s not just me being biased — I promise.

The board member knew my mother’s talents and asked if I thought Mom would be willing, and I told her I didn’t think so, but let me do a little work on her to see if I could convince her. After several conversations with my mother, she agreed to talk to the board member, and eventually agreed to help out until the Center could find a full time Executive Director. After the first couple of months, Mom was hooked. She saw everything that needed to be done and dedicated herself, many MANY hours a day to making things happen.

It’s been an uphill battle for her to get things organized, but she never gives up. I worry about the number of hours she’s working, but can’t argue with her conviction that this is IMPORTANT and that taking care of our local seniors is essential. So, I quit telling her that I worried that she was working too many hours, and I decided to see what more I could do to help out.

The Open House for Senior Citizens in Boyle County

The recent Open House for the Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens was a beautiful event. Charlie Perry of Hometown Radio told me that was one of the biggest and most well-attended events the radio station has seen. (They were kind enough to come out and cook burgers and hotdogs and do a live radio cast there to help promote awareness of the center!) This is just one example of local people and local businesses supporting our local senior citizens center.

Other local businesses donated products and services to be used as door prizes at the Open House to help support the center. People came out in droves to visit and get to know more about what our local senior citizens center offered. It was both a fun and an informative event. People kept saying how important the center was to them personally. Others were surprised to learn all of the ways the center helps our local seniors. I spoke at length with one gentleman who had never been to the Center before, but was so happy he had heard about the Open House so he could find out more, and he said he looked forward to coming out often in the future.

The only problem was the bad news about the funding was announced in the middle of the Center’s preparations for the event. Despite this news, the event was an astounding success.

Seniors Upset That Outsiders Are Trying To Take Over

The news of the lost funding understandably upset some of the regular congregate members. While I was there, I interviewed one of the group. Her name is Alberta Wood — and she has been an active member of the Danville and Boyle County Community for many years.

I admire this lady and LOVE how outspoken she is. As a senior who uses the center, and wants to keep the management of the center local (as it should be), I thought my readers might be interested in what SHE had to say:

How They Spend Time Now

While the local Senior Citizens Board and the staff and new management work to keep the services for our Seniors available, they now have to fight outside forces to do so. It seems to me that those people in our county who work so hard to provide for our seniors should not have to split their efforts to fight off external forces at the same time. They should be allowed to spend their time and efforts taking care of our seniors here at home!

Local News Coverage

I’m glad to see that the Advocate is finally putting this important news on their front page, but I find it unfortunate that the editor chose to disparage the local efforts without getting all the facts. On the plus side, at least after issuing the “thumbs down” and saying “we don’t know what exactly is happening with funding,” the editor apparently decided to GET informed.

The story in the local paper, titled, “Senior center vows to fight takeover'” appeared on yesterday’s front page. Pam Wright did a wonderful job of covering the story and as far as the editor goes, better late than never… right?

On the flip side, the Advertising department of the Advocate was gracious enough to help them promote the Open House prior to the event. Kudos to that department!

Be Outspoken – Support and Encourage Others To Support the Senior Citizens Center!

For those who want to support the local Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center — NOW is the time to let your local city and county government representatives know!

Mrs. Alberta Wood is outspoken. I’m outspoken. You can be outspoken too!

Personally, I’ve talked with Danville Mayor Mike Perros — who seems to be quite supportive of the Center and understanding of my own concern about the recent events. I also spoke with County Judge Executive Harold McKinney, who was less than pleased with my concerns and seemed to resent questions. Case in point: at the conclusion of our conversation when I said, “Thank you for your time, Mr. McKinney. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you,” he replied, “Well, it has NOT been a pleasure speaking with YOU!”

Wow. How professional. I feel so important to THAT particular representative.

But don’t let that dissuade you… contact your magistrates. Tell everyone who will listen and let’s work together to turn the tide on this issue and refuse to let it be swept under the rug… or swept away by an outside organization. They need our time, energy, funding and voices to stay strong. (Contact them directly by calling 859-236-2070 to see how YOU can help now!)

If you want to see what they are doing, visit them on Facebook (and “like” them!) : Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center Facebook Page

Our seniors deserve better and it’s up to us to make sure they get what they need!