Gateway Seniors Without Walls is a year and a half young! The group has already chalked up impressive gains. Last May, 2013, for the first time Gateway Seniors offered 9 activities for the 4-month summer period to 8 or 10 people. The group now offers more than 30 activities most months– more than 360 activities in a full year — and participants throughout the year number about 300.
Just in case you’ve never heard of Gateway Seniors Without Walls, it serves Orono, Old Town, Veazie and surrounding areas. The activities are daily, diverse, and meaningful. In September 2014, for example, Gateway will offer more than 33 programs, including:
• exercise programs such as Tai Chi , Yoga, hiking, walking, and gardening;
• programs promoting self-expression such as painting, knitting, card-making, storytelling, opera, and Bluegrass;
• volunteering opportunities within Gateway Seniors and the greater community;
• practical information on avoiding falls, making medical decisions wisely, training in CPR, and understanding home health care;
• entertainment interwoven with socializing in many programs; for instance, a dinner club, a crockpot cooking club, movies with discussion, concerts, plays, and eating out.
The activities programs are accessible to all: no membership fees, most programs free of cost or at cost, programming primarily during daylight hours, and whenever possible, carpooling to help with transportation. Programs are held throughout the communities we serve– in buildings and spaces that are free: the public libraries, town offices, community buildings, the university, restaurants, wildlife refuges, museums, and private homes. Everyone is welcome. No one is turned away because of age or geography. People with disabilities may participate freely in any of our activities.
Gateway Seniors Without Walls collaborates with many groups. They seek advice from the Center on Aging at the University, the town managers of Old Town, Veazie, and Orono, the Eastern Area Agency on Aging, the Orono and Old Town Libraries, and the Old Town Housing Foundation. They co-sponsor programs with many departments within the University of Maine, as well as Dirigo Pines Retirement Community and, in addition, with private businesses and organizations throughout our community.
The Center on Aging at the University of Maine, under Dr. Len Kaye, is collaborating with Gateway Seniors on a study of transportation needs among the elderly in our communities. In addition, Gateway Seniors is working on a booklet describing local services for older people in Orono, Old Town, Veazie, and 12 surrounding towns, tentatively called the “Elder Yellow Pages.”
Gateway Seniors Without Walls needs funding to continue its ambitious program of sponsoring activities and publicizing needs and services. Watch for fund-raising events this fall and please help out as generously as you can. The group needs both volunteers and donations. Call Karen Walker for information, tickets, and the like (947-0458).
• Stop by the Gateway booth at the Orono Festival Street Fair on September 6 from 10 am to 4 pm. Take home a monthly flyer or brochure. Enter the raffles for local eateries. Have your face painted. Volunteer to man (or woman) the booth.
• On your way to, or from, the Orono Festival, on September 6th, take a look at Gateway’s yard sale in Veazie in the parking lot of the community building on the corner of Main and Olive Streets from 7 am to 2 pm. Donate to the yard sale. Help out with the sorting, set up, and pricing on September 5.
• Cheer Gateway on at the parade or visit at the Gateway booth at the Old Town River Fest on Saturday September 27th. Watch for raffles there.
• Enjoy a great pasta extravaganza, All Things Pasta Plus Trimmings, and live auction at the Keith Anderson Community House on Bennoch Rd. in Orono on Saturday October 18th . The festive dinner begins at 4:30 and is followed by the auction. Cuisine will be prepared by Gateway Seniors “chefs” and include appetizers, baked lasagna, baked ziti, stuffed shells, macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, green salad, garlic bread, deserts, and beverages. Children under 6 free; $5 for children 6 to 12 years; $7 for adults; $20 for families. Donate an auction item, prepare a dish, and buy a ticket.
• On Sunday, November 2, beginning at 2 pm, attend a concert featuring local talent and a silent auction at the Church of Universal Fellowship on Main Street in Orono. Refreshments will be available.
Gateway Seniors is grateful for the help of their partner, Center on Aging, University of Maine, under Dr. Len Kaye and for the support of their major sponsors: the towns of Veazie, Old Town, and Orono; Aging Excellence of Bangor; Griffin and Jordan, LLC: Attorneys at Law in Orono; Ovation Fundraising Counsel of Bangor; and Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Acton. Their major donor is the Means Family Foundation Fund of the Maine Community Foundation.