WARREN - Calling the SCOPE Centers of Trumbull County "an important place for people needing joy and laughter in their lives," Director Ralph Smith spoke of the future of the seniors organization, which went through many changes in 2012.
Smith spoke to more than 50 people, including many SCOPE center staff members, at the recent 51st annual meeting, saying the centers in Champion, Cortland, Howland, Lordstown, Niles and Warren provide a needed place for people to come for socializing and laughter.
"SCOPE has become a community within a community. SCOPE exists to preserve the human spirit and continues to celebrate life at a time when many people are going through changes in their lives," Smith said.
He said SCOPE has "a new horizon in its future."
Genevieve Bauman, outgoing board president, said with the many supporters, SCOPE was able to survive.
"SCOPE was saved by the support of so many. It was you, the board, the members, the staff, the families," Smith said.
The centers went through changes last year, including funding cutbacks and changes with staffing and programs.
Smith said in the first half of 2012, SCOPE lost more than $1 million in government funding with 72 of the 105 employees laid off and the daycare and homecare departments closed.
He said a reorganization and a new financial plan were immediately implemented to preserve operations at the six centers, negotiate payments with creditors, settle obligations and continue to provide adult activities tailored to the needs and desires of the senior citizens.
"We have a long way to go and cannot afford to wander off the tracks, but we can see ahead to a new horizon clearly," Smith said.
Bauman and Smith said they look forward to the year ahead, which will include new programs and services. Being discussed is having a senior center in McDonald, since McDonald resident Mike O'Brien was added to the bo recreation, health, social and supportive programs and services, prescription drug assistance, and adult day care.
In 2012, there were 6,962 people provided services with 90,572 people attending events and programs. Niles was the highest at 35,336.