Sandy Senior Center is open and ‘returning to normal'Jul 12, 2021 02:56PM ● By Heather Lawrence
Students in the wood carving class at Sandy Senior Center learn to “think backwards” to create works of art in the newly reopened center. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
The Sandy Senior Center at 9310 S. 1300 East reopened after a year of being closed during the pandemic. Older adults were a hard-hit demographic, so patrons are excited to get back and socialize. Center director Charles Otis said after the April 19 opening that things are “returning to normal.”
“We just ask people to wear a mask if they aren’t vaccinated, but most of them are. We ask them to call ahead to register for the class they’re interested in, so we have some idea of how many folks will be there,” Otis said.
During the closure, staff at the center kept track of regular patrons with weekly wellness calls. They started doing virtual classes, which they are still doing. But opening in person to full capacity was exciting.
“We’ve kept up the plastic barrier at the front desk, and we might just keep that especially for cold and flu season. But the restrictions in the cafeteria are no longer in effect, so people can come up and get a meal. I’d say we’re 90% back to normal,” Otis said.
Patrons should call ahead at 385-468-3410 for classes. Most classes won’t hit capacity, but some, like pottery, are popular and people need more space, so it’s limited. The center serves people age 60 and over and offers free shuttle transportation for those who need it.
Membership is free, and most classes run on the hour. Lunch is served in the cafeteria, and there’s also a drive-up option. The center is open Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
“We have an updated class scheduled posted in the foyer. We have exercise for all abilities, pottery, guitar, stained glass, wood carving. We even have a Shakespeare reading class—no experience necessary. Someone who attended the other day said it’s really fun. You never know what you’re going to find,” Otis said.
In June, the center held one of their annual “thrift store” fundraisers. Donations from the community were set up and sold as a fundraiser for the center. They also hosted the Sandy Plein Air Quick Draw competition on June 12. Winning artwork is displayed around the building. They are planning to host the Sandy Art Show in the fall.
“The message is: Come on back, we’re open, and we’re safe,” Otis said.
Retired pediatric nurse and Sandy resident Dorene Scott was excited to come back to the center. She wanted to attend some of her favorite classes and see some of her favorite people.
“I received a phone call every week from the center checking up on me while it was closed. They left a message if I didn’t pick up. Then I heard from some of my friends in pottery that classes were starting again and you had to register because it’s very popular,” Scott said.
When she returned, Scott helped with the June thrift store fundraiser, made new friends and reunited with friends from before.
“I’ve seen a lot of people since I’ve come back this week. We were one of the hardest hit demographics—we need that connection. Such wonderful people come up here. I’ve seen so many from exercise and friends from pottery. And we’re hugging, hugging, hugging,” Scott said.