Lawrence County center offers activities for seniors in community
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Lawrence County center offers activities for seniors in community

Aug 16, 2023

WAYNE TWP. ― Challenges: Options in Aging is for anyone over 50, who lives in Lawrence County.

Located at 1405 Woodside Ave., the keyword is options with everything from sitting and visiting to exercise class and from playing cards to line dancing.

Open Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Challenges also has lunch, a pool table, comfortable chairs, a computer room, a free book table, a room with a variety of exercise equipment for those who want to do it themselves and a yarn room for knitting, crocheting and arts and crafts. There is also a scheduled blood pressure screening.

Joann McGrady, one of the regulars who enjoys coming for lunch and playing cards, said the people and the administration are very welcoming.

Center assistant Lisa Rodgers of New Castle said people should drop in and see what is happening. Not only are there daily activities, but also special events. It's a place where you can do what you want to do, Rodgers said.

Jackie Roberts of Slippery Rock Township, who has been coming for about 10 years, said it is good to spend time with your age group

"It's a wonderful place. It Keeps me active and it's something to do every day," she said.

Membership to all the activities is free except for the Fitness Membership for $75 per year with access to all the exercise classes, which include general exercise by Mike Gordon, Zumba, line dancing and gentle yoga. Scholarships are available for people who can't afford the cost.

The spacious, well-lit main room is where the exercise classes, lunch and card playing take place. The bright cheery atmosphere includes a Christmas tree that has become the Holiday Tree. Charlotte Ottobre decorates the tree for every holiday and currently, it is all about the red, white and blue.

Gordon, center services/community relations director, leads the well-attended exercise class, which is about getting your exercise the way you want; you can stand or sit and Gordon's style makes exercise fun by using his energy and humor.

Originally from Ellwood City, Gordon graduated from Lincoln High School in 1997 and has been with Challenges for 17 years. It is evident in his fun and friendly teaching style that enjoys his time with the seniors.

Beth Gatto Jones of Ellwood City said that we all need these connections with others to stay well.

"It is healthy to be with a group. It’s a joy to be here. Mike is a joy, he is always full of jokes and fun," she said.

There is a full schedule of activities, and special events each month and also a lunch menu. For meals, reservations are needed two working days before. Meals are by donation and $4 is suggested. Meals can also be ordered, grab and go.

Pat Regna of Ellwood City said she brought her mother so she has been coming for more than 20 years. She said she likes to play cards and spend time with the others.

Betty Jo Young also of Ellwood City started coming two years ago after he husband died.

"It was one of the best things I could have done. The friendships are important," she said.

Russ Wilson's title is maintenance janitor but members say he is much more than that. Member Kathy Phillips said he is always working and does everything.

Challenges: Options in Aging

1405 Woodside Ave.Ellwood City, PA, 16117