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Maintaining a strong social network is essential for keeping older adults healthy. When maintained, older adults have an increase in happiness, less anxiety, and less depression.

By helping provide funding to Senior Citizens, Inc., United Way of the Coastal Empire has helped ensure these important networks are accessible in our community.

“I don’t know what I would do without my second home,” Charlotte, a Liberty County resident, said.

The second home Charlotte is referring to is the Senior Citizens, Inc. Learning Center she attended three times a week, pre COVID-19.

“We have so much fun there. I get to see all my friends, do exercise classes, celebrate birthdays, and whatever other creative things they come up with for us to do. I love going there,” Charlotte said.

The Learning Center provides intellectually engaging, humanities-based, educational programs for older adults to attend.

“Our mission is to help people age successfully. We accomplish that by providing a lot of different services. We try to keep their day fun, but we are also trying to keep their cognitive and physical abilities as strong as possible too,” Patti Lyons, President of Senior Citizens, Inc., said.

A typical day for the older adults starts with coffee, conversation, and a daily newspaper reading. At class time, they join their fellow classmates for a lecture or instruction. In between classes, they talk with instructors, catch up on their email at the computer lab, or just grab a coffee with friends.

For Charlotte, and many others, the center helps keep them feeling youthful.

“I feel like a teenager when I go. I get up and catch the bus, going over there to school and seeing all my friends,” Charlotte said.

For every dollar Senior Citizen, Inc. receives from the United Way, they are able to bring in eight more dollars from the federal and state government, allowing them to serve more people.

“Giving to United Way is a way to say ‘this community is there for you,’” Patti said. “You never know when someone you love is going to need assistance; and even if they didn’t, you’ve got a neighbor who needs it – and that’s what a community is.”

You can be the support that your neighbor needs by giving today at uwce.org/give.

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