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• Mission: We are a part of the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Arkansas, and our mission is to commit financial and human resources to enhance the lives of the Northwest Arkansas senior and elderly community.

• Services provided:

Holiday Fundraiser for Meals on Wheels

Who: Fayetteville Activity & Welness Center

What: Live music, food, silent auction, door prizes other activities

When: Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7

Where: Fayetteville Activity & Welness Center

Tickets: Donation of $5 (or more, if so desire)

Information: (479) 571-2920 or

aaanwar.org/locations/detail/1428

The Fayetteville Senior Activity & Wellness Center provides an entire scope of services to meet the needs of seniors in Fayetteville. We are the Meals on Wheels provider for Fayetteville, which includes 230-250 warm nutritious meals delivered each day to home-bound seniors. We also provide four separate taxi services and do 3-4 fun day trips per month to museums, casinos, theatre shows, and other points of interest. In our facility we provide 25 health and wellness classes per week, as well as a pool tournament, bingo, water colors classes, educational speakers, instructor-led line dancing, Health and Art Fairs, live music, card games, and other activities.

• Service area: Fayetteville area.

• Average number of people served annually: We track the numbers of "units" we provide each month including on-site meals, home-delivered meals, taxi round trips, and socialization/recreation activities at the center. This year, 114,000 units went to over 1500 different seniors.

How is your organization's mission unique? We provide a wide scope of services to such a wide variety of seniors. A senior who runs half-marathons might be in the center enjoying an exercise class, while at the exact same time a home-bound senior is receiving a home delivered meal because they are unable to drive or to stand long enough to cook. All services are FREE! We have a suggested donation for each of our services for seniors who are able to contribute. This creates a unique environment where you can have two seniors at the same table, one who is a millionaire and the other who doesn't have $3 to donate for lunch, and neither of them knows or cares. We try to meet everyone where they are and improve their life as a senior.

Why do you work for a nonprofit organization? Do you have a personal connection to the mission? If so, what is it? It is hard to match the level of fulfillment that comes from being a part of the Senior Center every day. My parents are firmly in their senior years, and so I feel a natural connection of shared experiences with the seniors here at the center. I've always been an old soul when it comes to traditions, values, music, etc. so I fit right in at the Center.

What part of your job fills the most of your time? Primarily interacting with seniors and staff. When most of the seniors have gone home in the afternoon, we work on reports, grants, and other paperwork.

What have you learned on the job that you didn't expect? The unbelievable value of talking to someone face-to-face and listening in a meaningful way. Today's world moves at a really fast pace, and when you enter the doors here as a participant or volunteer, I'd like to think that it slows down just a bit. Enough to notice people and things that you might miss outside these doors.

What challenges face your organization? Similar to a lot of nonprofits, the largest challenge we face is figuring out creative ways to continue funding all the services and activities that we provide at no charge. Another challenge is getting the word out to seniors in our community about all of the services we provide, and that we're not just a place where "old people" sit around all day.

Are there volunteer opportunities in your organization? What are they? Absolutely! Six of our eight Meals on Wheels routes are operated by volunteers every day. We currently have almost 50 different volunteers who help with that program on a weekly basis. In addition we often need help with activities here at the center. A lot of our senior participants are also volunteers.

What upcoming fundraisers and/or other events does your organization have planned? Our annual Holiday Fundraiser for Meals on Wheels will be from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Fayetteville Senior Activity & Wellness Center. Admission is a donation of $5, or more, if you wish. This ties in with our mission of being accessible to all people regardless of income.

NAN Profiles on 12/01/2019

Print Headline: Personified

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