At the Senior Center’s thrift store—the Stop ‘N Shop— we are lucky to have so many fantastic volunteers. This month, we want you to meet Mary Jane Michaels, a retired OB/GYN Residency Coordinator originally from Connecticut.
When she retired, Mary Jane moved to West Seattle to be closer to her only son and his family. Her caring daughter-in-law made her move to Seattle so much easier by including her in many of the family’s activities. Mary Jane said that the Senior Center of West Seattle and a group called Newcomers really helped her connect with new friends.
Since 2014, Mary Jane has been a volunteer in the Stop ‘N Shop. She helps us tag hundreds of items every month during her twice per week shifts. Thank you, Mary Jane!
There are some volunteers here at the Senior Center that we barely get a chance to see. They are here early on Wednesday mornings, and then they’re off to bring Meals on Wheels food deliveries to seniors in our community. Many of our community members depend on these meals for their health and well-being, and we would not be able to provide them without volunteers like Dennis Wiese.
Dennis began volunteering with Meals on Wheels about three years ago. Not only does Dennis deliver meals every Wednesday, but he also comes in on Tuesdays to help us with inventory and on Thursdays to do paperwork and assist our Meals on Wheels coordinator.
Dennis was born in Wisconsin but moved around a lot because his dad was in the military. He ended up in Idaho where he studied Political Science at the University of Idaho and then went on to study Elementary Education at Central Washington University. His career path took him through a few turns from retail to real estate, and he ended up teaching elementary Special Education in Alaska for 15 years. He enjoyed his time in Alaska and has fond memories of fishing trips with his family.
After retirement in 2010, Dennis volunteered with Reading Partners, working with students to help them improve their reading skills. After so many years working with kids, he realized he wanted to do something to help the other end of the spectrum—seniors. That is how he came to volunteer at the Senior Center.
Dennis enjoys meeting and helping people and is a true “people person.” He says his time at the Senior Center “makes me more compassionate, I want to help!” What makes it all worth it, he says, is visiting with people and hearing the calls from people expressing gratitude for Meals on Wheels. Dennis sees that many seniors are lonely, and this critical service helps to alleviate some of that loneliness.
When Dennis is not sharing his time with the seniors in our community, he enjoys gardening, reading and traveling. Most of all he enjoys time with his wife of 54 years, his three children and four grandchildren ranging from 2-15 years in age. They are lucky to have such a kind and compassionate grandpa!
Check out our eleven NEW classes, support groups and events
CelebratePridewith Your Stories – The LGBTQIA+ community has moved from secret societies and unjust laws to public celebrations and landmark Supreme Court rulings. Join Martin Piccoli in this writing group to share what you have personally experienced and to celebrate–with pride–the journey of your life. Three short written pieces will be collected and bound together for each participant. Six Sessions on Mondays beginning May 9, 12:30-2 p.m.
Dance Time with Lauren – Dust off your dancing shoes and kick off a new hobby with live music and dance at this monthly evening event. Wednesdays, May 4 and June 1, 6-8 p.m.$10 entrance fee.
Diabetic Support Group– All people affected by diabetes are invited to join in these monthly meetings. Topics will include nutrition, foot care and vision care. If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, have a friend or family member who is, or are simply interested in the topic, please contact our social worker, Toni Ameslav, MSW, at 206-932-4044 x9, or email@example.com.Fridays, May 6 and June 3, 1-2 p.m.
Free Vaccine Clinic– Come get a free vaccine at the Senior Center. No insurance is required. First vaccines and boosters of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are available. To register: kingcounty.gov and enter code W7Z8-N6S2-Q2G4. Drop-ins welcome! Friday May 20, Noon-5 p.m.
Play Reading Class – Join veteran actress Margaret VandenBerghe and be part of a play reading production. With script in hand this group will create a final performance for friends and family to enjoy. This is not a drop-in class so please come on the first day to be included. Open to all levels of acting skills. Thursdays, 10-11:30 a.m.
Poetry Writing Class – Internationally published and award-winning poet Koon Woon will show beginners and serious students the joy of poetry writing and even how to get published. Wednesdays, May 11, 25, June 8, 22, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Pride Month Workshop– This special presentation and Q & A led by GenPride will include an overview of gender, gender identity and respectful language/personal pronouns used with the trans and non-binary community. Thursday, June 9, 4-6 p.m.
“Scan to Pay” Parking Tutorial – Meet in the Senior Center lobby. We’ll walk to the parking lot behind the Senior Center for a demonstration on how to use phone-based parking meters. Hosted by Diamond Parking. Friday, May 13, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
Sunny Sprouts School – Facilitated by Master Gardener Mary Hecht, this class is for anyone who wants to grow herbs and other plants to flavor food, as well as learn tips about vegetable growing. Whether indoors or outdoors in pots or in the ground, all you need is a sunny spot. Seeds will be provided to all registered attendees. Fridays, May 6 and June 3, 1-2 p.m.
Transportation Table Events – Stop by the Senior Center Lobby on the following dates for Q&A information from Hyde Shuttle (Tuesday, May 3, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.); a “Scan to Pay” Parking Tutorial hosted by Diamond Parking (Friday, May 13, 12:30-1:30 p.m.); and King County Metro Transit (Monday, May 23, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.).
Tree Talks – Learn to recognize many of the amazing trees we have in West Seattle! Retired university professor and self-taught tree expert, Al Rouyer, will share facts, trivia, stories, blooming seasons and the strange history of trees arriving in Seattle. Photos and Tree Pages will help you identify them on walks. May 26, “The Ten Most Common Trees in West Seattle,” 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; June 23, “Some Unusual and Uncommon Trees in West Seattle,” 11am-12:30 p.m.
To register for any of these classes (unless otherwise noted) visit our front desk or call 206-932-4044 ext. 1.
You can also find a complete list of all current offerings on our Activities page.