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Local community center offers vital activities for seniors

Thomas O'Neil-White

The amount of Baby Boomers already in or entering retirement age continues to grow in Western New York, which makes providing programs for them imperative.

The Gloria j. Parks Community Center’s Silver Enrichment Program serves the greater Kensington-Bailey and University Districts, providing a robust older adults program to keep seniors active and healthy.

“We serve active seniors,” said Gloria J. Parks Associate Director Michael Tritto. “They’re very interested in being active physically, socially, culturally and we try to provide them with activities to meet those needs.”

Those activities include Tai Chi, urban line dancing, computer education classes, adventuring out to a museum or casino and a Get Fit While You Sit class for the above 80 crowd.

At health expo’s across Western New York you can find their group, adorned with “Gloria Parks Seniors” shirts, passing out information about the program.

Program Director Phyllis Caver said they have built a communal atmosphere within the program.

“It has become a family of seniors,” she said. “They take care of each other, they look after each other. If they’re sick they visit each other. And that was the goal we were really trying to get to so people will feel at home when they are here.”

New for the program in 2020 is a trip to Washington, D.C, to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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