Gilbert Owens and the senior citizens of Roseboro will be celebrating Friday as the grand opening of the Roseboro Senior Center is held and years of hard work and dedication are rewarded.
Effective June 1, 2018, Owens and members of the Sampson County Department of Aging were notified of the reclassification of the Roseboro Nutrition Site to the Roseboro Senior Center. This has been Owens’ vision since he became site manager in March 2011.
“In June of this year, Lorie Sutton, who is head of the Sampson County Department of Aging, informed me of her intentions to turn the Roseboro Nutrition Site into a senior center,” Owens explained. “There were many hurdles to overcome, but under her guidance, along with Linda Armwood and Marie Faircloth, all the hurdles were cleared and the North Carolina Department of Aging approved the reclassification of the Roseboro Nutrition Site into a Roseboro Senior Center.”
According to Owens, the Roseboro Nutrition Site has been a mainstay in the Roseboro community for 45 years. Throughout that time, the site has served meals to hundreds of seniors with approximately 24 seniors now coming daily and another 18 as part of the home-bound program.
Changing from a nutrition site to a senior center, Owens said, allows for more services to be offered to the seniors and additional availability hours for participants.
“The center will be providing a more intense variety of programs, activities, speakers, classes, trips and games,” he explained. “The center is taking new applications for anyone who wants to be part of this program.”
The Roseboro Nutrition Site was among six across the county, with Garland having the only senior center. As a senior citizens center, Owens said the site would be able to apply for more grants and funding provided through the state, as well as provide transportation for the seniors. As the nutrition site, Roseboro only offered seniors a ride to the site and a ride home from the site. However, as a center, the site would be able to offer transportation to doctor’s appointments on a daily basis.
Many of the seniors who attend the Roseboro facility have been participating in the program for over 20 years. According to Owens, the oldest participant is 95 years old.
The Roseboro Nutrition Site has hit many bumps in the road in the last two years. In September of 2016, the senior program was forced out of the Roseboro Community Building due to vandalism and needed repairs. Owens and the program’s participants were forced to move to several locations before the Community Building was purchased in July 2017 by Percy Owens and seniors were able to move back into the building at the end of August.
The program is available five days a week. While at the center, the seniors receive a hot meal and Owens and the volunteers provide various programs and games to keep the seniors busy.
Every morning, the seniors hold a devotion time, taking turns leading each time. Speakers often come in and provide the seniors with valuable information about their health and lifestyle. Once a month, Owens said the group takes a trip and they hold monthly birthday celebrations.
“This keeps our seniors active,” Owens explained. “It gives them a reason to get up and come out of the house each day. It is a proven fact that staying active keeps our seniors healthy and living longer.”
A grand opening ceremony will be held Friday, July 27, at 10 a.m.
With the reclassification, the site will be open additional hours. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.