Bingo Night at the Senior Center in Glen CarbonGLEN CARBON - 2023 has been a good year for the Glen Carbon Senior Center so far, with a wide variety of activities and programs for local seniors. Senior Center Administrator Felicia Voelkel gave a presentation to village trustees at their meeting this week to update them on the center’s progress this year.

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Voelkel said her time as administrator of the busy Senior Center has been “so far, so good.”

“I’ve been at the Senior Center a little over a year, and so far, so good,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of activity, a lot of different projects going on.”

The center hosts “Game Days,” which feature cookies, bingo, and the card game “Whoopee.” They also host an “Age Well” exercise class with a certified personal trainer, as well as a weekly Art Class which is currently working on a sculpture of a cardinal perched on a tree branch. Past activities included Chair Yoga and Tai Chi, the latter of which Voelkel said may return next spring, when they also hope to get back outside and onto the Shuffleboard court.

Once a month, members of the center’s “Lunch Bunch” go to a different restaurant. Last month, they ate at Kyoto Sushi Steakhouse and sat in the hibachi grill-side seats - this month, they’ll be going to Doc's Smokehouse, and next month, they plan to dine at 54th Street Bar & Grill.

The Senior Center has several other groups, including two book clubs, two quilting groups, and the Wood Carvers, who have a show this weekend to showcase some of their best woodwork. There’s also a group for retired teachers, Boy and Girl Scouts, and more.

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In addition to all of their groups and activities, Voelkel said the center provides a variety of services like the Senior Bus, which provides free transportation to seniors and the disabled to help them run errands and more. Voelkel said it can take riders anywhere in Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, or Maryville.

“One thing I’m very proud of is our Senior Bus. This is a free transportation service for our seniors that are 65 and older, or our disabled folks in Glen Carbon,” Voelkel said, adding the service is available to those who live in assisted living, long-term care, or their own home. “We take folks to doctor’s appointments, the beauty shop, barber shop appointments, shopping wherever they want to shop in our area.”

The Senior Bus drove 685 riders on 1,929 trips in 2022, and 600 riders on 1,902 trips in 2023. While Voelkel acknowledged ridership is down overall, she said the bus service was transitioning as former drivers retired and new drivers were sought, recruited, and brought on. She said the Senior Bus now has three “wonderful” drivers.

Other services offered include an energy bill assistance program, legal services, counseling, and more. The Senior Center also gives back to the community through its Services Projects, which include food drives, plastic bag drives, Toys For Tots, and "Blessing Bags," which are care packages for the local unhoused population.

The center can also be rented out for events such as birthday parties, graduation parties, baby showers, family reunions, and more. So far, Voelkel said they’ve had 32 paid rentals this year as of Oct. 24, 2023.

The Glen Carbon Senior Center is located at 157 N. Main St. in Glen Carbon. To find out more, visit their page on the village website or their Facebook page.

A full recording of the Glen Carbon Village Boards of Trustees meeting is available at the top of this story or on the Village of Glen Carbon Facebook page.

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