Dancers find new home
By Jessica Tuggle
VERO BEACH - Music from a piano, bass, drums, a saxophone and a trombone filled the social hall at St. Francis Manor on Sept. 20 during the weekly dances once again marking the start of a new season.
Seniors from around the Vero Beach area laughed, danced and chatted with friends, old and new, to the music of The Accidentals.
Recently, the Senior Resource Association announced the Schumann Hall Senior Center in Vero Beach would be converted from an activities center to an adult daycare facility. Many seniors who have danced there weekly to The Accidentals' music, were wondering where they would go.
St. Francis Manor has invited seniors to come to their facility and use the dance floor on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., said Linda Scott, executive director.
"The band is wonderful. They play our songs," said Santiago Arroyo, who dances weekly with his wife, Mary.
The band will also play Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Vero Beach Community Center beginning Oct. 23, which is the same time slot they had at Schumann Hall, said Carrie Biggers, development director with the Senior Resource Association.
The senior center is where many seniors in Vero Beach and surrounding communities gather for weekly games of bridge or pinochle, take art classes, meet friends and dance, but those activities will now have to be spread around the community and held in other facilities, said Karen Deigl, president and CEO of the Senior Resource Association.
The decision came as a surprise to regular participants, and the reaction has been mixed.
Betty Rollins and her husband, Bob, have been dancing at the senior center for about five years and have enjoyed the space and opportunities it provided for activities.
"I'm just grateful for the years we've had because they have been wonderful," she said.
Mrs. Rollins said she will be able to drive to another location for weekly dances, so the location isn't an issue for her, but she recognizes it might make it more difficult for people who cannot drive and were accustomed to walking to the center to dance with friends.
"Wherever we move, people will get to dance. And maybe, where we move, there will be new people that haven't gotten to dance before because it wasn't close to them," Mrs. Rollins said.
"I think the Senior Resource Association is a wonderful organization," she said.
It appears the association is trying to continue to meet senior needs the best way it can with this new daycare facility, which is commendable, she said.
"I could see where that's a more pressing problem than a place for us to dance," Mrs. Rollins said.
Mr. Arroyo said he was disappointed the activities would be moved out of Schumann Hall after so many years of activities there.
"It really is a shame," he said.
Mrs. Arroyo said she was glad for the people who would be able to use it as a helpful daycare, but she was sad to have to move out.
Ms. Deigl said after Schumann Hall is prepared for licensure and approved as an adult daycare site, which will take between four to five months, the facility will be able to take 72 more clients.
On a daily average, the association works with 33 clients, Ms. Deigl said.
One of the improvements the move will bring is a secure outdoor wandering garden.
Another new feature the association will bring to the senior community is a monthly calendar of events for seniors all over Indian River County, Ms. Deigl said.
"I think people are going to be surprised that lots of people are doing things for seniors and we are going to try to publish them as good as we can and give recognition," she said.
For more information about the Senior Resource Association's activities and locations, call (772) 469-2062.
Senior events in Vero
Here are the new locations for Senior Resource Association activities:
Starting Oct. 3
. The Silver Tones Chorus will meet Wednesdays at the Unity Center of Vero Beach. Address: 950 43rd Ave., Vero Beach. Time: 10 a.m. to noon.
Starting Oct. 23
. The Accidentals will perform Tuesdays and Fridays at the Vero Beach Community Center. Address: 2266 14th Ave., Vero Beach. Time: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Starting Oct. 25
. Art classes with Dawn Mills will be held Thursdays at Our Savior Lutheran Church. Address: 1850 Sixth Ave., Vero Beach. Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Start date not yet announced
. Line dancing with Elaine Kane will be held Thursdays at the Vero Beach Community Center. 2266 14th Ave., Vero Beach. Time: To be announced.