Random Thoughts

The Milano Senior Center

... Wow, it has been fourteen years.

by Ed Boyd

Ed Boyd and Tom Dillon met with Jack Beckley, the Administrator of the Council On Aging, to give us an update on what is happening at the Milano Center. Jack told us of his background in college at Connecticut and later his graduate study at Boston University in Social Work. He was encouraged to take the job at the Melrose Council on Aging in 1987 and has been very happily here ever since.

Ed Boyd at his writing course and Jack Beckley talks about his job at the Senior Center

In 1987, the offices of the Council on Aging were housed in the Melrose City Hall in the basement. The Drop in Center was opened and the space was donated by the First Baptist Church. In the early 1980ís a senior dining program was started at the Knights of Columbus Hall. These programs continued until 1995 when the Milano Senior Center opened its doors.

The Milano Senior Center, named after longtime mayor James Milano, became a reality through an $800,000 state grant written by City Planner Jeffery Luxenberg and $333,000 in corporate and private donations from the community. Jim Driscoll, a prominent member of the Driscoll family of Melrose, organized a fund raiser and accomplished the goal set in one year.

The historic Beebe Estate carriage house (c.1897) was converted and expanded to the Milano Senior Center, 1995. Jack Beckley gives Frances Bertulli, deceased co-coordinator of Milano Center, credit for the idea to convert the Beebe Estate carriage house. In October, 1998 the Council on Aging moved from its offices in City Hall to the first-floor, rear section of the Beebe House adjacent to the Milano Center.

The basement of the Milano Senior Center in 2005 was renovated to create the beautiful Carriage House Lounge. There is an 8 station computer lab with free internet connection, a health office, a multi-purpose room and accessible restroom.

Kay McCarte and Jack Driscoll talk with Guest Mike McDonough and Russ Priestley and Jim Driscoll take a break

One of the main features of the Milano Senior Center is the Melrose Mirror, a web publication by Melrose senior citizens, once a month. These seniors are called SilverStringers. If you go to google, or some other search engine, and type in Melrose Mirror this will get you the first page. On the first page, in the upper left corner, click Who We Are. Then you can scroll down to see who the SilverStringers are. Also, Jack Driscoll, a founder of the Melrose Mirror, has just published a book in 2008, "Couch Potatoes Sprout: the rise of community journalism". Among other things you will learn how the SilverStringers got its name and our affiliation with the Media Lab at M.I.T.

Exercise classes keep members limber  and    Card players take their game seriously

From July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009 there were from 500 to 800 senior citizens who make between 2,500-3,500 visits to the center to learn, relax, socialize, dine, exercise, and volunteer.

Artist at work        Ladies having fun

There are some sixty different programs ranging from health programs, classes and activities. Among the most popular are meals served, 5503; line dance class, 1203; prime time fitness, 914; bingo, 1,576; bridge, 1,219; sunshine boys/girls, 1,396; visitors/guests, 5,174; minibus rides, 5,802.

Does it mean when you get old you just crawl into a hole. Not in Melrose!

January 1, 2010.

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