By State Reps. Tony Hwang and Brenda Kupchick
As State Representatives who represent approximately 25,000 residents each, we do our best to advocate for the people across our district. We were happy to receive an invitation from Teresa Giegengack, the Director of Senior and Social Services, right before the Christmas holiday to visit the Fairfield Senior Center for their annual holiday volunteer recognition luncheon.
It was an honor to be so kindly welcomed by the volunteers and staff. We were amazed to see and learn how many seniors volunteer at the center at the luncheon. Our seniors have needs that are, in many ways, under-served in today’s challenging economic and healthcare environment, especially since many of us will someday share those same concerns in the future. It is important for us to be aware of the needs and message while we consider how to align governmental services with our state’s changing demographics.
Fairfield, like many surrounding communities, has a very active population who enjoy the center as a meeting place to socialize and participate in different programs. Giegengack has said her mission will be to grow the Center’s membership going forward. She asks those who have never visited the center to give it a try.
The Center relies on over a hundred volunteers to operate the facility. Volunteers serve lunch, make needlework for the Silver Belles Craft Shop, teach or organize classes and trips as well as assist in creating a new senior population database in Fairfield to name a few. Without the efforts of the volunteers the center would not be able to offer such a diverse program selection. Visit the Senior Center website for a list of programs, http://www.fairfieldct.org/senior.htm.
The Fairfield Senior Center, is working to appeal to a younger clientele, especially aging Fairfield baby boomers, formed a ‘Top 10 Committee’ to see what seniors wanted at the center. The Top 10 Committee was tasked with finding the Top 10 ways to improve the Fairfield Senior Center. The committee’s report evaluated the Center and its current view by our town residents.
At the Top 10 Committees presentation meeting we listened to the survey results and have both recently read the report. According to the survey, a majority of respondent seniors work full or part time. This means that many seniors cannot attend programs held during the day. The hours are simply not convenient for them. It would be helpful if Senior Center could extend its hours to accommodate a variety of work schedules and those surveyed asked for a facility that doesn’t operate like the traditional senior center.
The Senior Center would also like a greater opportunity to promote and add to their programs, to modernize, update and brighten up the facility. To read the the full “Top 10 Committee” report, go to http://www.fairfieldct.org/senior.htm.
Marius Velica, who is a first generation Romanian immigrant and member of the Fairfield Senior Center who talks glowingly about having a place to come and socialize and have coffee with fellow seniors. Marius has made many friends since first coming to the Center and thinks other seniors would benefit too.
The senior center serves the entire community with information on aging, support for family caregivers, training for professionals and students, and the development of innovative approaches to the challenges that come with aging.
Having an updated one-stop health, fitness, social, recreational and life-long learning resource center that promotes the keys to successful aging is a true treasure for the residents of Fairfield who have helped build our community. After witnessing how the Fairfield Senior Center benefits so many in our community, we stand ready and willing to support the growing needs of Fairfield seniors and changes to the Fairfield Senior Center.
Rep. Tony Hwang represents the 134th District, which encompasses portions of Fairfield and Trumbull. Rep. Hwang is the ranking leader in the Government Administration and Elections Committee and is a member of Public Safety and Security and Insurance and Real Estate committees in the 2013-2014 legislative sessions. Rep. Hwang is a member of the CT Innovation Life Sciences Business/Government Group and a founding member and co-chair of the bi-partisan CT General Assembly Bioscience caucus.
Rep. Brenda Kupchick represents the 132nd District, which contains portions of Fairfield and Southport. Rep. Kupchick is a member of Public Safety, Housing and Regulation and Review Committees. Rep. Kupchick is a member of the bi-partisan Animal Welfare Caucus and founded a Fairfield business council. Rep. Kupchick is a lifelong Fairfield resident and owns and operates a small heating and air conditioning company with her husband Peter.