During a special day in May, the parking lot of the Garland Senior Citizens Center is filled with community members honoring local seniors. Although many look forward to this celebration each year, the Sampson County Department of Aging and other supporters are doing a lot more to show appreciation.
The celebration for Older Americans Month is underway with a plethora of activities scheduled throughout May. For 2017, the them is “Age Out Loud.”
Created though a proclamation from President John F. Kennedy, it’s purpose is to acknowledge the contributions of past and current older people in the United States. Older Americans Month takes place throughout the country through ceremonies, events, fairs and activities.
Lesia Henderson, family caregiver and support specialist for the Sampson County Department of Aging, is looking forward to the month-long observance. Last year, she took a trip to Stuart, Fla. and noticed a lot of posters honoring Older Americans Month. During her return, she was inspired to have more events than just the celebration at the senior center in Garland. This year, the celebration is scheduled towards the end of May, but many educational entertaining workshops will come before it.
“They are quality workshops,” Henderson said. “It’s workshop to provide to older Americans and caregivers or anyone who wants to come because it’s great information.”
Henderson hopes the county embraces and celebrates Older Americans Month.
“It’s not just our county, it’s across the nation,” she said expressing the importance of giving recognition to seniors. “We need to value our older Americans because they’re a wealth of information. Their time, their era is vital.”
Marie Faircloth, director of the Garland Senior Center, showed appreciation for the events leading up to the event 9 a.m. Thursday, May 25, at the location, 91 N. Church Ave., Garland. Some of the activities include vendors, music, bingo, dancing, food and a cake walk. Health officials, such as the American Red Cross will also be present.
“It’s all sorts of fun that the seniors can enjoy,” Faircloth. “We invite all seniors across Sampson County to join us. A lot of seniors don’t get to enjoy a lot of things, so we want to help them enjoy it.”
Like Henderson, Faircloth is also excited about the theme of “Age Out Loud,” which is designed to reach people of all races, nationalities and creeds.
The last scheduled event in honor of Older Americans Month is a special movie day on Friday, June 2 at The East Park Cinema, 122 South East Blvd. For $6, Senior Citizens can buy one ticket and receive a 46 ounce popcorn and a 16 ounce drink.
Enacted in 1965, the Older Americans Act was passed as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society reforms. It supports a variety of services such as Meals On Wheels, home services, transportation assistance, and legal services. Many of the programs help seniors with being independent in their homes and throughout the communities.
For more information about workshops and upcoming events, contact the Sampson County Department of Aging at 910-592-4653. Faircloth may be reached at 910-529-3931 or 910-596-8246, for questions regarding Garland celebration, donations or becoming a vendor.