Not strictly for seniors | Coeur d’Alene Press | #hospice | #elderly | #seniors
The Rathdrum Community Center is officially open for all ages and endless opportunities.
Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was a big moment for center volunteers, board members, and visitors. Since 1985 the Rathdrum Senior Center had loyally served the city’s older population.
Over the decades it has grown, director Rhonda Story said, to a place for the whole community. Today the Highway 41 building regularly supports 85 seniors for crafting events, line dancing, bingo, and warm meals.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nonprofit formed the Community Assistance Network with volunteers from the center, city officials, and local groups. Recognizing the struggles of isolated families trapped in their homes for medical safety, the Community Assistance Network and Rathdrum Community Center served over 11,000 meals to people in need. For the Rathdrum Community Center’s volunteers’ actions, the organization was named the 2020 nonprofit of the year by the Rathdrum Chamber of Commerce.
“I’m feeling pretty emotional right now. We have grown so much in the last couple of years, and it’s amazing what happens when people put their minds together,” Story said. “As I look around this room and see the support of this community, I want to say thank you for supporting our vision, for supporting me, and for the love that you have given.”
Dave Alverson, an employee at Auburn Crest Hospice, was one of the volunteers who helped deliver the 11,000 meals. At Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, he expressed his support for the Rathdrum Community Center and its positive impact on the city.
“I’ve lived in this community for 30-plus years, and just to see what’s happened here, wow,” Alverson said. “I look forward to the future here when kids are running in and out all the time. A place for kids where they won’t be getting into trouble.”
Leon Duce, the Rathdrum city administrator, said the city has been a longtime supporter of the center and has partnered with it on several programs and grant opportunities. Taking this step, he said, will expand the possibilities of Rathdrum residents.
The idea of becoming a community center started several years ago, Ruth Waldron, former center treasurer and volunteer for 15 years explained.
“It’s been a long haul,” Waldron said. “I am just so happy they’re expanding and getting more people to come in. We have libraries and so many events for the community.”
While the goal is to open up the center for Rathdrum residents of all ages, Waldron believed it will also benefit the senior population.
“There are so many elderly that have lost their mates, and so they stay home. That’s not good for them,” she said. “It’s important for them to get out.”
By engaging with the community-at-large, Duce and Story pointed out the center will be eligible for more grants to finance public outreach programs like youth-centered activities and networking partnerships.
“We just want people to know that we’re here for their needs, whether it’s for rentals or parties or assistance. Whether it’s food or financial, we want to continue to grow those opportunities,” Story said. “People need to know there’s someone to go to and help them find the answers.”
Still, Story said the center will always be a place for Rathdrum’s seniors.
“The one thing I want people to know is that our love for the seniors will always be there,” she said. “That won’t change.”