Seniors Get Support and Friendship From Center: Part One in a Two Part Series
The Canton Council on Aging is a hidden gem in the community.
"Our Director is one in a million." Joe Curran, participant and volunteer at Canton's Council on Aging (also known as "the Center") is describing Diane Tynan.
Diane Tynan is the kind of person that makes you feel right at home when you meet her and the depth of her commitment to the Center is clear as she described some of the dynamic programs.
"We just started a singles group for people who have lost a spouse, either through death or divorce," she said. The singles group has a dinner theatre experience planned in Stoughton.
It's not really about making romantic connections, according to the director. Tynan described the singles group as "an opportunity to meet new friends." But the former does happen. Elaine, a participant and volunteer at the Center, is a testament to that. "The best thing I got out of [the Center] was my husband, Bill," she said.
And the platonic friendships she has made there bring a twinkle to Elaine's eye as well.
Other engaging programs include pool lessons, a chorus group and the ever popular Wii bowling and golf, created and run by a very intelligent and tuned in Center participant and volunteer, Agnes.
Like the choral group, the Center offers particularly engaging programs in the arts. "The memoir writing class is held once a year and is taught by a former teacher at Stonehill College," Tynan said. The works that emerge from the oil painting classes look professional.
She warmly mused with a proud smile, "Do we have this many talented people?" The paintings are of the quality that "anybody would be proud to hang on the wall," the director noted. Many paintings are given as gifts, and others add extra beauty to wherever they are displayed in the Center.
With its dynamic, engaging people and programs, Canton's own Council on Aging is a hidden gem.
Being part of the Center plays an important role for all who visit. But the Center plays an important role in the community of Canton as well. It is important to note how the Center also provides for essential needs that happen off-site.
Its transportation program for those age 60 and over is huge, providing "about 7,000 trips per year," including rides to doctors' offices and food shopping. This program also provides about another 40 trips annually for those under the age of 60. Part of the mission of the Center is to support disabled people, no matter what age.
Elaine also created and runs the Center's gift shop, which participants say is "like the Christmas Tree Shoppe." Coordinating donations from people of Canton, the gift shop is run on an honor system. Participants can go in there and select items they may need, and drop a donation, whatever they can afford into the box. Donation money goes towards keeping free coffee available all day at the Center, and contributions to the D. Forbes Senior Center.
Anne, another special participant who volunteers in the kitchen, said the Meals on Wheels program serves about 45-50 meals a day to people in town who can't get out. The program provides community members with well-balanced meals, and for many, the only personal contact they have during the week. It is as important to check in on some people as it is to deliver food to them, the volunteer said.
"I'm a volunteer person, and working with this program is very rewarding and fulfilling for me. The kitchen is a second home to me," Anne said.
The programs are just the surface layer of the pearls of wisdom that lie within Canton's Council on Aging.
Read Part Two of this story tomorrow on Canton Patch.
Canton Council on Aging/Senior Center is located at 660 Washington Street in Canton. Telephone: 781.828.1323