Main Street Center marks 20th anniversary

Happy Anniversary! Sheila Rathfon, left, receives a slice of cake from Main Street Center Director Kristi Wolbert with help from Linda Lewis, center and Bobbie Lorenz, right, during the Main Street Center’s 20th anniversary party on Oct. 2.

CLARION - The Main Street Center in Clarion is celebrating its 20th anniversary and manager Kristi Wolbert has been there for every one of them.

In fact Wolbert remembers the building before it was the Main Street Center.

The store had been one of the G.C. Murphy's five and dime stores.

"Some of our people were actually workers at the old G.C. Murphy store," she said. "I remember going down the steps to see the birds, gerbils and fish. I also remember the pay bathrooms."

The building was purchased by DR Enterprises and leased to the Clarion Area Agency on Aging.

Commonwealth Secretary of Aging Richard Brodie dedicated the Center in 1999.

A senior center has been in Clarion since 1977.

"I managed Rimersburg for three years and Clarion at the old hospital on Seventh Avenue," said Wolbert.

The center offers people over age 60 a place to meet and talk with people who share the same experiences.

"The center has a positive impact on the senior community," said Wolbert. "One of the main things I hear is that they don't like to eat alone. Even if they don't want to participate in an activity they come for lunch.

"That way they have someone to talk too. Sometimes, they stay for a bit and sometimes they just go home."

Wolbert added, "It is neat to see the relationships form. That is not only friends but also sometimes people fall in love. There have been romantic relationships develop.

"I think the Clarion center is the only one that has not had a marriage yet. I am ready to throw a wedding reception."

Wolbert has seen some changes in the past two decades.

"There are older people starting to participate and some who aren't old enough want to participate. They can participate in the activities and lunch but they do have to pay the full price," she said.

For age 60 and over it is a suggested $2 donation.

The center offers a variety of programs.

"Sometimes it does get difficult to come up with programs but somehow it works out great," said Wolbert. "People actually come to me so I don't have to go and find people. All of the agencies come to me with programs. Talented individuals like guitarists and singers perform too."

In the future Wolbert hopes to see even more participation.

"Lately we have seen a flow of new faces. I hope the younger ones start to come. I think if people give it a chance they will enjoy it," she said.

The Main Street Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weekly activities include exercise class Tuesdays and Fridays from 10 to 11 a.m. Tai Chi is held on Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m.

Daily programs can include crafts, musical entertainment, monthly Thera band stretch class, health topics, theme parties, gift card bingo, monthly shopping trips, center outings, and more.

For additional information about the center or any of its programs call 814-226-4194.