SENIOR CENTER SPOTLIGHT
Marie Miller-Atkinson is the new Senior Center Services Expansion VISTA Coordinator and will be working with us during the next year. Let’s take some time to get to know her and what she will be doing.
Are you originally from this area?
I am originally from New York, but moved to Greenville, NC in 1999. I currently reside in Wilson, NC.
What is the AmeriCorps VISTA program?
VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of program as part of the Corporation for National and Community Service. VISTA members live and serve year-long commitments in some of the nation’s poorest urban and rural areas and usually serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency.
With your VISTA, what is your focus?
My objective is to expand and improve programs for low-income seniors in the Rocky Mount community. Specific activities I have been tasked to accomplish are to recruit skilled volunteers to provide technology literacy classes for seniors, develop a care package program for local seniors, recruit skilled volunteer instructors for exercise classes at senior living facilities and churches in low-income areas, and to research grants to improve the senior center’s accommodations for the deaf and blind.
What are some activities you have already implemented and/or looking to add?
Some early activities include a senior center community garden, organizing volunteers to lead exercise classes at a senior apartment complex, coordinating a Medicare info seminar, and orchestrating the center’s relief effort to assist Hurricane Matthew victims. Moving forward I hope to connect with community agencies to provide more programs/services to meet my goals and objectives.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love spending time with my grandson. Recently I became an officially certified “Master Gardener” and love growing all types of flowers, herbs and vegetables. I enjoy traveling to the beach and mountains. In addition, I enjoy reading mysteries and watching action or documentary films while reclining in my Lazy Girl chair!
What are your initial thoughts on Rocky Mount, the Senior Center, and your VISTA position?
I see wonderful things happening in Rocky Mount now and in the years to come. The revitalization going on is immense. The Senior Center is a lively and active place for participants age 55+ to get involved with all types of activities. There seems to be something for every activity level. I feel blessed to have been chosen to work with this organization.