Opinion: City Shouldn’t Take Away Island Seniors Organization

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Santiva Chronicle publishes opinions and letters on topics that are important to Sanibel and Captiva. The following has been written by Island Seniors Member Eileen Kehoe to Sanibel City Council members. Send opinion pieces and letters to the editor to news@santivachronicle.com.

As a member of Island Seniors for 15 years, I have been involved in this wonderful organization in many ways … through exercise classes, serving on the Board, attending shows, concerts and Florida attractions to enjoy and learn more about what our state and island offers.

I have helped out whenever it was needed, such as co-teaching a nutrition class called Waist Management, helping out with Trash & Treasures, and serving as coordinator of the Island Seniors Arts & Crafts Fair for ten years. This event is unlike any other on the island … more than 40 local vendors who say this is their only event and their favorite event all year. When people show up at the door, they ask what is the entry fee, and our member at the front desk, often Katie Reid, tells them this is a free community event to create awareness of the Center4Life. Before walking through the building to see the arts and crafts, many of them stop to learn about Island Seniors, pick up a newsletter and sign up to be members. That is our welcoming spirit … just come on in, meet some friendly people and see what we have to offer. That’s all many people need to hear. This is place where they want to join. And they do, and re-join year after year because here’s where they can show up for a aerobics, yoga, bridge, kayaking, or other activities and they will be welcomed. “So good to see you again! How was your summer? Glad to have you back here! Sit down and grab a cup of coffee!”

So many seniors live alone, and Island Seniors is their family. Many of them are here several times a week, because they feel comfortable and welcomed.

Please don’t take this away … it’s a huge benefit to living on, or near Sanibel.

Because of Covid, our members have gone for over a year without the place they need to gather and socialize. We need this again. We need to hug our old friends and welcome new people who walk into the door.

Please give us a place to do this as soon as possible. And please give us a new home, the bank building, so once again, we can join old friends and meet new friends. That’s what we truly need. It is what keeps us active on this beautiful island.

Thank you for reading this.

Comments (2)

  1. I have never been a member of the Senior Center but I know people who enjoy all their activities. I remember when the Center4Life was to undergo reconstruction but that never happened and then the old bank building came available for the Center and now the police need temporary space. Yet everyone agrees that a senior center is essential. But not yet ! Surely there is temporary space for the police – those empty spaces by Island Pharmacy for one. Let our post Covid seniors get back to the life activities they treasure and have been without for over a year.

  2. Ellen Walz Svenson

    I echo the sentiment in the letter regarding the senior center. Being a member of a family which has been owners on Sanibel since 1977, I value the resources on the island. I look forward to participating in the activities offered by the Senior Center. That is how I made my friends on the island. It is short sighted by the “powers that be” to even contemplate postponing establishing the center in the bank building next door to the current space. Seniors make up a large percentage of island residents. Do not deprive us of our “lifeline.”

Leave a Comment

We are interested in articulate, well-informed remarks that are relevant to the article. We welcome your advice, your criticism and your unique insights into the issues of the day. To be approved for publication, your comments should be civil and avoid name-calling. It may take up to 24 hours for your comment to appear, if it is approved.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.