Something for everyone

NCLL program details new and on-going offerings at Marquette Senior Center

A sign welcoming visitors to the Marquette Senior Center is pictured. Marquette Senior Services Manager Maureen McFadden wants seniors to know the center is a comfortable and welcoming place offering a wide variety of socialization and recreational opportunities, as well as referrals and resources.

MARQUETTE — Friendship. Art and theater. Recreation and exercise opportunities. Health and educational programming. Meals in a sociable setting. Information and resources.

All of this and much more can be found at the Marquette Senior Center, which is nestled in the lower level of Marquette City Hall with entrances situated along the 300 block of West Spring Street.

To help spread the word about the vast array of activities and resources available at the center, the Northern Center for Lifelong Learning held an event at the Marquette Senior Center Tuesday, allowing attendees to see the building, meet staff and learn more about the center.

“We really want this to be a space that seniors feel like they can come and have a community,” Marquette Senior Services Director Maureen McFadden said. “I really want this to feel like a community. I think for some of our people, it already does feel like a community — which is really great and it warms my heart — and I just want that to continue to grow.”

McFadden, who has been senior services manager for the city of Marquette for about six months, told attendees about the wide range of services offered by the center, which range from the center’s referral, informational and confidential social work services to Taco Tuesdays, congregate meals, as well as opportunities to engage in arts, exercise, outdoor recreation and much more.

The exterior of the Marquette Senior Center along the 300 block of West Spring Street in Marquette is pictured. There are two entrances to the senior center along West Spring Street, one of which is equipped with a wheelchair lift. (Journal photos by Cecilia Brown)

The center also offers a wide variety of fun, seasonal activities, which are now announced in advance in the form of a poster detailing upcoming one-time events, she said. For example, the center’s current Summer Series featured a number of special events, such as today’s trip to the Marquette County Fair.

It’s important to recognize, McFadden said, that with the exception of the center’s social work services, all activities and resources are open to seniors of any locale.

Over the summer, the center has started offering variety of meal opportunities for seniors, such as congregate meals provided by Community Action Alger-Marquette, Taco Tuesdays and the center’s Picnic in the Park series, McFadden said.

“We’re trying to offer more food opportunities, because one of the biggest needs with a lot of people in our area — not just seniors, but a lot of people in our area — is food and proper nutrition,” she said.

Congregate meals, which are offered every other Tuesday each month, are a great opportunity to enjoy a meal while socializing, McFadden emphasized.

Marquette Senior Services Manager Maureen McFadden, center, speaks to attendees of a Northern Center for Lifelong Learning event held at the Marquette Senior Center Tuesday. Attendees had a chance to learn more about the senior center and its services, as well as new offerings, such as congregate meals, Taco Tuesdays and seasonal events, such as the new Picnic in the Park series for summer.

“The cooks are fantastic, the meals have been delicious for me,” she said. “Usually, it’s a $3.50 suggested donation but if you don’t have $3.50 to give, you can give 25 cents, you can give nothing, you can give more if you want, but it’s not required.”

Those who are 60 years or older, or the spouse of a person 60 years or older, are qualified to receive a meal. In August, congregate meals will be offered from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this coming Tuesday, as well as Aug. 27. Attendees are asked to RSVP in advance.

On the Tuesdays that congregate meals are not offered, the senior center hosts Taco Tuesdays with drop-in cribbage at noon, giving attendees a chance to enjoy a game, a taco, or both, she said.

The center has also begun a Picnic in the Park series, which offers a free picnic in a different park each month for attendees, McFadden said, noting that the center wanted to offer an outdoor experience inclusive to people of all abilities.

“That has been phenomenal this summer,” she said.

The next Picnic in the Park will be held at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 29 at the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse Park, featuring a presentation by the Marquette Maritime Museum on the history of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse and the Maritime industry in Marquette. Attendees are asked to pre-register.

McFadden also told attendees about the center’s Silver Sampler program, which gives participants a chance to get involved with an outdoor recreation activity in a fun, safe and comfortable setting.

Past Silver Sampler offerings have included kayaking, hiking, skiing, curling and rock climbing. The Silver Sampler programs are typically offered twice monthly, with the next one slated for Wednesday. The activity Wednesday will be a potluck picnic and a Dead River tour at noon. Pre-registration is required.

In addition to these activities, the center also offers free and donation-based exercise classes weekly, pinocle, Mahjong, cribbage, bridge, scrabble, blood pressure and food care clinics, as well as art classes and senior acting classes.

The senior acting classes, which have “really grown into this beautiful opportunity for people,” are held twice monthly with instructor Moire Embley at 2 p.m. in the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, McFadden said.

The August classes will be held this coming Monday and Aug. 26. Attendees are asked to pre-register.

For those in need of assistance with homemaking services, counseling, case management, financial management and other resources, McFadden emphasized that the center’s social workers are always there to help.

“Our social workers are the best-kept secret in Marquette,” she said. “And because of the confidential nature of what they do, people don’t hear about them a lot, so I just want to give them some recognition, because they do so much for our senior services that no one really realizes. And without them, our community just wouldn’t be the same.”

Overall, McFadden emphasized to attendees that she wants to hear about what the center can do better from the senior community, as she “gets the best ideas” from those that feel comfortable calling her, emailing her or dropping into her office with comments.

“Do not ever feel like you are coming in and complaining to me. I get that a lot since I started, people come in and say: ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m complaining.’ And that’s not it, you’re advocating,” she said. “We are one of the only city entities that does not have an advisory board, so it is extremely important that I hear what you actually think and that you feel like you’re being heard.”

To learn more about the Marquette Senior Center and upcoming events, visit www.marquettemi.gov/departments/community-services/senior-center/ for a newsletter and calendar, or the center’s Facebook page.

To speak with senior center staff or register for an upcoming program, call the center at 906-228-0456. The Marquette Senior Center is located at 300 W. Spring St. in Marquette.

To learn more about the NCLL and upcoming programs, visit nmu.edu/ncll or call 906-227-2979.

Cecilia Brown can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.