The Naples Senior Center, a program of JFCS of Southwest Florida, hosted more than 150 guests on March 31 to enjoy a huge birthday cake, browse artwork by members and listen to dignitaries express gratitude for the role the Center plays in giving local seniors a place to find friendship, activities and services. When the Naples Senior Center opened a year ago, it was the first such center in Collier County. In one short year, it has grown to 580 members. “When JFCS began planning the Senior Center we did some research,” Dr. Jaclynn Faffer, president and CEO of JFCS, told the crowd. “We found that older adults who participate in senior center programs often learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, emotional and mental well-being. “The programs at the Naples Senior Center are built around facilitating connections through socialization programs, creating opportunities for intellectual stimulation through our wide range of educational programs, and most importantly, offering a warm and embracing venue where all are welcome,” said Dr.Faffer. Local dignitaries at the event included Sheriff Kevin Rambosk; Stephen L. Schwartz, president of the Brookdale Foundation; Mary Beth Geier, region coordinator of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, and Patty and Jay Baker of Naples. The Schulze Foundation’s challenge grant of $150,000 issued in 2014 to fund expansion of the Senior Center was matched in less than five weeks by a $100,000 gift from the Bakers and $20,000 from the Brookdale Foundation, along with donations from the Community Foundation of Collier County and private individuals.
As part of the birthday celebration, guests enjoyed refreshments, an art exhibit of drawings and paintings by members, tours of its new expansion and announcements of future plans. The event included a re-naming ceremony for the Center, formerly known as the JFCS Senior Center. The party also celebrated the naming of the Naples Senior Center’s Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Café. The new name of the café, which is open every day for coffee, tea, cold drinks and snacks, honors the foundation for its generous challenge grant to JFCS. Inaddition to its many services for members, the Naples Senior Center and JFCS also host numerous community outreach programs. In February, a seminar by F. Warren McFarlan, co-author of Joining a Non-Profit Board: What You Need to Know, used the Harvard case method to give local non-profit CEOs and board members important resources for managing the CEO-board relationship. On March 10, Dr. Marc Agronin, boardcertified adult and geriatric psychiatrist and the Medical Director for Mental Health and Clinical Research at Miami Jewish Health Systems, led a seminar on the latest and best practices for diagnosing and treating dementia, as well as skills for family members and others caring for those with disease. The two-part seminar featured a morning session for health care professionals and an afternoon session for family members and other caregivers. JFCS of Southwest Florida empowers individuals and families by giving them tools to address life’s challenges. JFCS is a nonsectarian human service agency providing a wide range of social services, including mental health counseling, case management, financial assistance and crisis intervention to the entire community. For more information about JFCS, please call 239-325-4444 or visit jfcsswfl.org.