BRANDE TAKES SENIOR CENTER REINS; EYES WAYS TO SAVE MEAL PROGRAM

October 11, 2000 11:00 pm

By Todd Wels

Triplicate staff writer

New Senior Center Director Cyndie Brande is taking office with the goals of eradicating the debts of the centers Nutrition Program and halting declining attendance at the center.

Brande, who was appointed to replace outgoing Director Gene Olson, had previously served on the Senior Centers Board of Directors for a year. In addition, she managed adult services for the Department of Health and Social Services for five years.

Were making some changes, yes, Brande said, noting that one of the first changes to be made will be the hiring of a new supervisor for the centers Nutrition Program.

The program serves approximately 100 people per day, with 60 meals being delivered to residences and 40 served at the Senior Center.

It has also fallen into debt, which could jeopardize its continued existence.

Its vital to the community that we keep that program going, Brande said. Without that program, we will have seniors missing meals.

The new Nutrition Program supervisor will be charged with finding ways to maintain the current service level, while at the same time combatting the debt, Brande said.

An investigation is currently under way to determine the exact cause of the debt, Brande said.

The Senior Center also faces a problem of declining attendance, which Brande hopes to solve by creating new facilities and services for the center.

Sunshine Foxworthy has worked at the Senior Center for four years, and is hopeful Brande and her staff can reverse the downward trend she has seen.

I hope so, because we need more people to come back in like they used to, Foxworthy said.

Many of the suggestions for what could be implemented have come from seniors themselves.

If they dont accept this as their building, then its just a building, Brande said.

According to Brande, seniors have suggested fewer social events and more activities.

Therefore, Brande and her staff have begun the process of turning one of the centers offices into a TV and activity room.

They have also begun renovating a room that was formerly used for Second Wind Adult Day Care, into a room where arts and crafts can be done.

Brande is currently lining up instructors to teach arts and crafts classes. The classes will initially be offered free of charge, she said.

Despite the changes she and her staff will be making, Brande praised outgoing Senior Center Director Gene Olson, who retired Sept. 30.

He built a beautiful building here, she said.

County Supervisor Jack Reese, who also sits on the Senior Center Board of Directors said he was pleased to support Brandes appointment to the position of director.

Shes a very thorough, intelligent, civic-minded person, he said. She had the energy to grab the reins and take charge.

Brande said she believes the changes she is overseeing will be beneficial both to the center and the community at large.

I think that the community will be pleased, because were going to have a full-functioning, bustling Senior Center, she said.