Eastern Trumbull officials pursue senior center
BROOKFIELD — Township officials in Brookfield, Hartford and Vienna are planning a senior center at the Brookfield fire department banquet hall and are seeking involvement from local school students to interact with senior citizens.
Brookfield township trustees at a recent Zoom meeting spoke with superintendents from Brookfield, Joseph Badger and Mathews schools about how the schools and students will be able to interact in the future for multigenerational events and activities.
Trustee Gary Lees said a senior center is being planned and will be open 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays at the fire hall for seniors from Brookfield, Hartford and Vienna. Officials are seeking grant funding.
“The three townships have talked about having a senior center in this part of the county,” Lees said.
Lees said the center will depend on available grants through the county’s senior levy funds with a committee to be formed to plan for the center. He said the center would not open until the coronavirus pandemic situation improves.
Brookfield Trustee Ron Haun said efforts are underway to get the center off the ground and students can help by letting their grandparents know of the center and see what activities the seniors want offered there.
“We want to find out what type of activities the seniors would want to see. We want it to be more than just a place to get lunch. We need to brainstorm ideas,” he said.
Student involvement would not take place until the fall and include a senior citizen prom, entertainment or plays.
“We want to see the local students interact with the senior citizens. This will be a win-win for what each can offer,” Lees said.
Lees said it is important to interact with seniors who have so much knowledge to share.
Mathews Schools Superintendent Russell McQuaide said the schools are eager to support the senior citizens, including having the performing arts students take part in performances.
“This would be one way to expand the performing arts opportunities for the students. With the COVID-19 situation we hope to be able to take part starting in the fall. We are eager to take part when the restrictions ease off and no one is put at risk … This will also benefit the seniors who have had to be on their own due to the lockdowns,” he said.
Brookfield Schools Superintendent Toby Gibson said the district has students in groups such as drama club who can earn community service hours per year that are needed to receive special graduation honors.
“This would be a great opportunity for our students to collaborate and show what they can do,” Gibson said.
Trustees also heard from Diane Siskowic-Jurkovic, senior levy administrator for the county, about the Johnston Senior Center and the programs and services it provides to residents
Siskowic-Jurkovic said prior to the pandemic, it meant a lot to the seniors when students and guests came to the center for programs and entertainment events.
“Hopefully when you get going schools will be back in session,” she said.
She said centers can offer programs such as wood carving, which is very popular. She said programs often start off slow and then grow in number of participants.
Lees said officials from Hartford, Vienna and Brookfield will meet over lease / rental of the banquet hall and in-kind contributions such as electricity from the three townships for the center.
He said only so many senior levy funds would be allocated for the center.
“I think we are starting off on the right foot. If we can get the seniors informed and the school districts involved, the center will be successful,” Haun said.