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Volunteer Power: Without government support, Munising Senior Center relies on its members

August 5, 2010
By RENEE PRUSI Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE -Renovations are ongoing at the Munising Senior Center.

"We have new curtains and new inside painting," said Elizabeth Rajala, center president. "We have new windows as well. Some exterior things are being done still."

The center, at 208 W. Superior St., in downtown Munising, is different from many other senior facilities in that it's not a government-financed enterprise.

Article Photos

The Munising Senior Center, which is not government supported, recently underwent some renovations. It operates through member dues. (Munising News photo)

"It's our building," Rajala said. "We seniors take care of everything. It's not government supported. We have members who pay small dues per year."

Because the center relies on members' dues for operations, it has to handle things differently in some instances than other senior organizations locally.

Like the renovations.

Fact Box

Munising Senior Center, 208 W. Superior St., Munising,

906-387-2316, normally open from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

"We started with the upstairs about 2 years ago," Rajala said. "We need to have a renter for the upstairs so we can keep things going. We started with updating the electricity. We worked to make the upstairs more modern.

"The rent upstairs pays for the building, so that's why it's so important to us. We have a good renter now.

"Then we moved to the center, which is downstairs. We worked on the inside and just have a few things left to finish outside."

Another difference in the Munising Senior Center, because it receives no government funding, is that is relies on volunteers for its operations.

"We keep regular hours if we have volunteers to do it," Rajala said. "We are supposed to be open 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday."

The center's board is in the process of interview Experience Works! people to see if they can find someone suited to helping keep the center operating during its usual hours.

"We may have someone on board soon," Rajala said.

When it's open, the center is the site for a variety of activities for senior citizens, Rajala said.

"We have socializing, of course," she said. "People come in and play cards, work puzzles, read books or watch TV.

"We have our monthly meetings at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month from September through May," Rajala said. "Usually the meeting involves something to eat, like a soup dinner or potluck meal. And then we have our business meeting."

Special events are part of what goes on at the center.

"We had a spring fling," she said. "And there are other events planned at times for our seniors."

At present, there are about 80 dues-paid members at the Munising Senior Center, which has been in operation since the late 1960s.

"The center has been here a long, long time," Rajala said. "It has been part of the community for so many years now."

One service traditionally associated with senior center is not offered at the Munising Senior Center.

"We are not affiliated with the government so we don't have senior meals at our center," Rajala said. "We sometimes have one of our members make food."

In Alger County, senior meals are served at Lakeshore Manor five days a week, she said.

New members are always welcome at the Munising Senior Center, Rajala said.

"Any mature adult senior is welcome to join," she said.

Those who would like more information can call the center at 906-387-2301 for more information.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is



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