Roxborough Salvation Army program keeps seniors connected to community

For the past 15 years, 83-year-old Andorra resident Mildred O’Toole has come out for the weekly gathering of the Ever-Young Club at the Salvation Army Roxborough Corps Community Center.

On Monday she was part of the group of seniors as they gathered for the week-long Christmas in July Day Camp.

In the morning they made pretzels at A Taste Of Philly on Germantown Avenue in Chestnut Hill.

In the afternoon they pickled cucumbers, beets, onions and cauliflower at the Roxborough Corps Community Center, located at 6730 Ridge Ave.

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Word of mouth

“After I retired I was looking for things to do,” said O’Toole, who worked for the Philadelphia School District for 22 years.

She heard about the EYC through word of mouth. It gets her out of the house two or three times a week. She does aerobics, bible study and volunteers at the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitative Center on Pechin Street.

Eileen Conway also heard about the club through word of mouth, about a year and half ago, through friends she met at the Domino Lane Dunkin Donuts.

Conway found that she couldn’t sit still when she retired in 2010, after 30 years as a property manager. She needed something to do.

“I was always on the go,” said Conway, 69, who has lived in Roxborough since 1966.

‘A new road’

The EYC meets every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Salvation Army Roxborough Corps Community Center.

“I basically put out a feeler and ask them what they want to do,” said Marci Cooper, who’s served as the program assistant for the past eight years. She said each week about 35 people come out for the club. The oldest member is 92.

There are board games, folk-dance performances, flower arranging and more. Once a month, the seniors hop on the Salvation Army bus for a field trip. It’s all designed to be a club that provides a positive atmosphere and outlets for seniors to maintain an active lifestyle.

This week the group will also take a trip to the National Museum of American Jewish History, and make pizza.

“I have to make sure to tell my kids where I’m at because they want to know where I’m going,” said Amelia Weksel, 85, who has lived in Roxborough for the past 57 years.

Janet Stechman, 77, drives from Conshohocken each week and has been coming to the EYC for the past 11 years. Like the others, she heard about it through word of mouth.

“It has been a new road for me,” said Stechman, who lost a daughter a week before Christmas in 2011. The EYC resurrected her relationship with God.

“I love the atmosphere, the fellowship, the love that was expressed constantly,” said Stechman. “It gives me a sense of accomplishment,” she said of getting up and out of the house to go to EYC.

Velma Supperer, 73, has been driving to the EYC from Flourtown twice a week each week for the past five years. She found out about it through a friend too. When asked if she missed the 26 years she spent doing clerical insurance work, she said “no.”

“I love being retired,” Supperer said. “I miss some of the people I worked with, but not work itself.”

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