In November of 1957, the first organized senior club in Windsor took shape. At first, organized meetings were held in member’s homes, and later in churches, lodges and schools around town.
In 1970, the Town of Windsor, under the direction of Thomas Lerario, established a Senior Center for all Windsor residents at the Sill House on Palisado Avenue. Barbara Kelly became the first part time director. A couple of times a week, a lunch of soup and sandwiches was served by volunteers, and once a month a special dinner was served. Seniors raised money for their activities by selling homemade crafts at craft shows, bazaars, tag sales, and on Shad Derby Day. In 1972, Friday afternoon bingo was started.
In 1983, Town Councilwoman Mary Turley helped transform the recently closed L.P. Jr. High School into the L.P. Wilson Community Center. The Recreation Department moved from the Milo Peck Community Center to new headquarters at L.P. Wilson. The Senior Center also moved from the Sill House, becoming part of the new community center. The Community Renewal Team (CRT) lunch program moved to the center and full lunch meals were served five days a week under the guidance of Angeline Anton. At that time Margaret Lampeter was the part-time coordinator of the senior center. Alice Zizzamia became the new activities specialist in 1985 and retired in 1996. In April 1992, Stephany Wall came on board as the Senior Center Activities Coordinator.
The town government reorganized in 1994 and the Senior Center staff merged with caseworkers from Human Services to form the Senior Services
Team. In 1995, the caseworkers, Meals-On-Wheels, Dial-A-Ride and volunteer medical drivers moved into the senior center so that all senior services would
be located in the same building.
A wide range of activities and programs, such as exercise classes, clubs, recreational, health and wellness, nutrition, educational, volunteer, and financial help are presently offered to the seniors of Windsor. A monthly newsletter is issued listing programs for the coming month. A typical newsletter may print a calendar offering as much as 140 activities for the month.
Because such a complete array of services are offered to Windsor seniors, the Windsor Senior Center has been recognized by the state of Connecticut as a “State Focal Point of Senior Services”.
In 2020, the Center’s official 50th year, our country was forced to face challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. It became evident that COVID-19 was especially impacting senior populations, both medically, as well as socially. Though the Windsor Senior Center closed temporarily, it reopened sooner than most surrounding centers. Rebecca Joyce, Senior Services Coordinator knew the impact of isolation among the senior population, so she with her team, made the decision to offer modified (“COVID friendly”) programs to keep seniors happy, healthy, and engaged. And while the Windsor Senior Center patrons and staff did not have the opportunity to celebrate the big 50th celebration Ms. Joyce was planning in 2020, smaller, socially distant events were planned in lieu.
As we continue to move through 2021, let’s all recognize the Windsor Senior Center in its 51st year, and all of those whom have helped in its success through the years!