In case you missed our Open House on Sunday, the following excerpts include progress updates and history about the Senior Center from board chair, Cyndi Campbell’s program. A somewhat lengthy, but worthy read!

“This is a powerful group that does not sit on their laurels. They are hard working, committed and visionary. And, the Center’s appearance, condition and activities certainly reflect their efforts. Last year at this time, to celebrate the new porch addition, we launched the Friends of the Waverly Senior Center initiative to begin a program that sought out people who have an interest in our mission to serve and support area senior citizens with food, programs and social opportunities. This building and the people who participate in and out of it is one of Waverly’s most valuable resources.

As I look back at notes from years gone by when we changed the direction of the Waverly Senior Center, bringing it back from a time when support was limited and it looked like this organization was nearing its end, I was amazed at the direction it has taken and know that every moment has been a positive step in reaching our goals and strengthening our mission.

The maintenance committee, Augie, Dick, Larry and Frank, keep this facility in tip top condition and facilitate the building’s advancement. This past year, besides keeping the light bulbs changed, they have overseen the installation of upgraded electrical outlets to aid in the food service along the south wall of the dining room. We have enhanced our hot water system to keep up with the demand and now the Center has unlimited hot water. This is a particular asset for Bruce Sauerbrei, who is a master at running the dishwasher. Just in this week, new gutters and gutter guards were installed. A renovation of the ceramics room is one of our next goals.

We depend heavily on outside funds are our financial committee, Sharon, Mark Trax, Gary, Mark Pie, and myself work to write grants, solicit funding through other organizations and entities and, to initiate programs like the Friends. We are thankful to all of you–the Elsie Crosby Mitchell Fund, Waverly-Shell Rock Area United WayCity of Waverly, The Waverly Community Fund, Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, The Bremer County Board of Supervisors, The Guernsey Foundation and the Neil Smith Estate, along with numerous private donors who make this all possible.

We’ve implemented these funds to create programs that make a difference in the lives of seniors and beyond. There are opportunities for exercise specifically designed for seniors, congregate meals, “Comfort Food Fridays” that includes a social experience of music or games. There are cards, both public and private groups, and foot care twice a month. Several coffee groups make this their go-to place for regular social gatherings.

This past April, we launched The 506 Café. This is a join effort with the Rally Point Cedar Valley Veterans, who provide transitional housing to homeless Veterans. The purpose of the 506 Café is to raise funds and awareness of both nonprofit groups. The 506 Café serves a delicious lunch on the first Tuesday of each month, excluding next month, which falls on the 4th of July holiday. In its first three months, we have experience continual increase in numbers and exposure has been phenomenal. The two groups have come together with three-point vision, to elevate their presence and missions, to create a funding resource, and to provide and unforgettable experience of dining in this charming atmosphere using fine china, linens, and fresh flowers on the tables.

This facility is also for rent, and this past year, we applied for and received a license for rental guests to be able to serve wine and beer. Let the Waverly Senior Center be your place for special occasions. There is also office space upstairs to rent that includes utilities…

…The Center all began with a reading club of elderly women that met in their homes. When the group numbered 35 and was too large to continue convening in homes, they moved to the Log Cabin by the Cedar River. It was the first place they could call their own. Funds, materials and labor were donated to modernize and insulate the cabin for the Senior Citizens and also the Girls Scouts. There was enough money to pay utilities for the first year and then the city was persuaded to take over the building.

The group met once a week and later, another afternoon meeting was added. From these meetings, different programs began to develop and by 1965, had blossomed as a real service for the Waverly community. Growth was continual and through the efforts and dedication of many, Mitchell Manor was purchased…

…Did you know that Federal Office of Economic Opportunity grant money was used to help establish the Center’s activities for recreation and service? The grant was secured by the Waverly Foundation…Later, the Kansas O.E.O., would declare the Senior Citizens Group in Waverly the very best in the 11 states of their jurisdiction and the Federal Government cited the Waverly program as a pilot program for the nation…What a flagship this organization was!

So what was the Senior Center doing in those days? The Clothes Closet was one of their projects. Used clothing was brought in and a committee was appointed to sort, size, fold and hang the items…In 1972, the number of pieces of clothing distributed was well over 3,000 and more than 1,000 pieces were given to tornado victims during that summer.

Volunteer transportation services were also developed. With volunteers from the Church Women United group, rides for business, medical or dental appointments and shopping were available.

There were also bus trips, ranging from one-day to multiple day trips. These people were on the move!

There was Senior Citizens bowling, a shop program, which still continues today, and a visitation program to call on shut-ins and developed a telephone checking service. Members of the Friday afternoon Senior’s group contributed their time to produce materials to be used in therapy for speech and language by the Bremer County speech therapists in Special Education.

There was an annual Christmas Party that was developed for the residents at the Bremer County home. Today, the Christmas Dinner held at the Senior Center is very well attended…

…Some of those programs have carried over today and as you know, we are looking to find more ways to serve and meet the interests for today’s seniors in their many descriptions and lifestyles. The Waverly Senior Center has deep roots in this community and a solid foundation. We invite you to join us in continuing to build a future for the Waverly Senior Center.”

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