The Wallingford Community Senior Center (WCSC) has been in the Good Shepherd Center at 50th and Sunnyside ever since 1979. As a firm fixture in the Wallingford neighborhood, it has served both our seniors and the whole community with a mix of programs, social services, and as a meeting space for the community.
At first it was supported by a combination of Federal and local funding through Senior Services, but over time the politicians came up with less and less money. In 1993, Senior Services had to cut back what they could support, and several centers, including Wallingford, lost all their funding. Some closed, but the Wallingford community decided that was not going to happen here, rallied, and set up our own, independent center, funded in part by the City but mostly by the local community. Over the years running a small center has been financially difficult and several times it almost closed. But, again, each time the community just wouldn’t let that happen.
Recently the long-time Executive Director, Kathleen Cromp, left for a challenging, new job. About the same time, the City further reduced the funds it had been providing for senior centers, which here meant no more support for paying the rent at the Good Shepherd Center. That forced some thoughtful re-examination of the center’s future by the WCSC community leadership.
One effort was talking to the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) about becoming a part of that much larger operation. After careful work and thorough discussion over several months, PNA determined that it already had lots of important projects on the front burner and could not at this time to take on another significant operation.
Now the WCSC is embarking on a new course to become a stronger, independent organization so it can continue to serve us going forward. It has initiated new fundraising efforts and will need to do more to raise support from the community. The Center’s Board of Directors has decided to hire a new Executive Director to lead the effort. An advertisement for that position and a job description (pdf) have been posted on the WCSC website. You can help by passing the word along to anyone you know who might be a good candidate for this job. You can also help by getting to know the Center better – visit the website or the Facebook page – visit the Center – checkout some of the programs or services – volunteer – suggest a new program or service you could help ramp up – join, be a member – or become a Friend of the Center.