Plenty for seniors to do at new center
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK– Sitting at home, bored and lonely, is not an option for
senior citizens in the Mabank-Kemp area.
The Senior Center at the Ball Park in Mabank, sponsored in part
by the Kaufman County Senior Service, was once located in Kemp
under another name.
Director Lisa Smith said since the move in July, 2011, the
center has attracted many more seniors.
“At Kemp we averaged about eight to 10 people in attendance. Now
we have around 40,” Smith said.
“When the YMCA facility (in Mabank) became available, we took
advantage and snapped up the location,” she said.
“And we want to serve as many seniors as we can. We are a
family,” she added.
The center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through
Events are varied as the center strives to provide “something
for everyone,” she explained.
Rev. Leonard Jackson of Kemp leads a Bible study for anyone
interested. “There are also dominoes, especially 42 and bridge
classes,” Smith said.
“We play Bingo at 5 cents a card with the winner getting the
pot,” Smith added.
Two Wednesdays a month they have a “pickin’ an grinnin’” music
“Although there is no quilting class, there are ladies who do
quilting and the quilt they are working on is always up and
beginners are always welcome to watch and learn,” Smith said.
The main daily event is lunch service. The Kaufman Senior Center
prepares the lunches and they are transported to the Mabank
center. Seniors are soliciting the city to expand the center by
adding a kitchen.
Smith is well thought of by the seniors attending. While this
reporter was speaking with her, seniors greeted her with a
friendly “hi” or “hello.”
“Lisa cares for everyone,” senior Frank Osborne of Mabank said.
“I like it here. I get to associate with nice, friendly people.
Good people come here,” he added.
Von Niemuth of Kemp said she moved here from Irving in 2003 and
immediately sought out the senior center in Kemp..
“I wanted to learn quilting and to get acquainted with those my
age,” she explained.
“It’s a good place to come and to meet people. There’s a lot
more people coming now that the center has moved (from Kemp),”
The good feelings toward each other is mutual, Smith explained.
“My job doesn’t end at 1:30 p.m.,” she said. “These people are
my life,” she said.
Smith’s genuine care for the well-being of area seniors is
readily apparent in the special events she has hosted on their
behalf, most recently the Valentine’s Day dance. Smith reported
around 200 seniors enjoyed that event.
So many seniors attended, next year, Smith is thinking about
holding an outdoor event, if the weather isn’t too extreme.
Once a month, Smith holds a “daytime dance.” Even when folks
aren’t up for dancing they enjoy listening to the live music and
visiting with friends.
Things can really get hectic when everyone is coming in, she
explained, that’s when a little extra help is appreciated.
“I have several seniors who are very helpful when needed,” Smith
said, adding she always is grateful for their assistance.
Upcoming events Smith is looking forward to is a spring planting
day. The city has deposited a great deal of top soil and the
Mabank Gardening Club is coming in to assist seniors with
planting a landscape. Also there are education classes being set
up, such as “Recognizing the signs of a Stroke, set for 10 a.m.
Friday, April 13.
Others dates to be announced are for a class on physical therapy
and a visit from a pharmacist on Medicare.
In addition, blood pressure checks are available several times a
month, Smith added.
Right around the corner an Easter Egg Hunt and Bonnet Decorating
contest is to be held Wednesday, April 4, and the Carter Mobile
Eye Van will be here from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. the next day, April
The new senior center assists area seniors in building structure
to their day and developing their own sense of purpose and
vitality, while Smith provides the welcoming friendly face of
the center. “See ya’ll there!”