Finding Community at Every Age
Walk past the Daniel M. Soref Community Hall on a Monday afternoon and you’ll hear the click of Mah Jongg tiles coupled with lively chatter as players catch up over the table. On Tuesdays, you’ll hear the animated conversations of Men’s Club as they discuss a wide variety of hot topics. In the summer months, you may see chairs set up for an outdoor matinee or concert.
Senior Adult Programming at the JCC has created a space for adults ages 65 and older to come together and build connections for over 20 years. From specialized fitness classes to entertainment, and luncheons to speaking engagements, these programs have been a necessary outlet for retired and semi-retired adults to find community, especially as we navigate a pandemic landscape.
“It’s always been our goal to bring our senior adult community together for fun, engaging, and exciting programming,” says Rachel Pressman, Community Programs Coordinator. “Offering hybrid programs and curbside pickups during the height of the pandemic allowed individuals to continue to participate in fun programs right from their homes. We strive to meet our community where they are, and offering programs virtually enabled all individuals to participate while feeling safe. Now that people are interested in getting out again, we’ve pivoted to offer more in-person programs with the same goal of engagement.”
A grant from the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, donations from program participants, and funding from United Way allow the JCC to continue to provide a center for our senior adult community to socialize, engage with physically and mentally stimulating programs, and ultimately come together to combat social isolation. Classes and events are offered free of charge or at a minimal fee to keep them accessible to participants.
“It’s just one thing after another that’s been good for me,” says Mort Swerdlow, Treasurer of the Men’s Club, and a founding member of KOACH (ko’-ach) – the JCC’s lunch and entertainment program designed for adults 55+. “I’ve had a place to go. I’ve lost my second wife, and I’ve had someplace to go to talk and be friends with other people.” When asked to describe the JCC in one word, Mort says, “Family.”
Senior Adult Programming consists of Men’s Club, Open Mah Jongg, KOACH, and Senior Fitness. To get involved, contact Rachel Pressman at 414-967-8258.
Click here to read more stories of impact from the 2021-22 Annual Report.