Senior center dances through dark times

The senior center has also struggled to see people through the pandemic, due to high risk individuals frequenting the events.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 5:46 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - At the beginning of the year, eleven projects were chosen to receive funding from Rapid City’s Vision Fund.

And although the Minneluzahan Senior Center applied for the financial help in hopes to see repairs done around the facility, it was not selected.

The senior center has also struggled to see people through the pandemic, due to high risk individuals frequenting the events.

Regardless of the struggles, the senior center is moving forward.

Sometimes with age, comes health problems. Like for Doris Ann Werlinger, President of the Minneluzahan Senior Center Board, who says “I love to dance.”

Dancing isn’t something she’s been able to do while she’s been waiting to feel better, even though “music is really good.”

At last, she’s feeling up to it on the center’s Dance Day, “and today here I am. I might have to shake a leg.”

The Minneluzahan lost out on a chance for funding through the Vision Fund meant to finance repairs and renovation around the building.

“So,” explains Werlinger, “we’re just doing the best we can with what we have.” Like, dancing, “and that’s what we nee just more people to have fun.”

Something the senior center tries to do for older folks, “and if they want to play cards, we’ve got cards that are going on. They can come in and play a game of pool. They can even exercise.”

Something better done among company according to Werlinger who says, “bring your friend in, have coffee with them! Too many people are doing this,” she says moving her hands as if she were texting. “No conversation is taking place.”

A shared space is a platform providing the chance to do that, “Old times. People like to talk about when they were young.” Like, for Doris Ann who “lived on a ranch [and] loved every minute of it.”

With no running water in her time, she’d haul all kinds of things by sled, “and then we’d sleigh ride down the hill.”

Fun, but not always convenient with groceries in hand, because she explains her family “went under the barbed wire fence. The groceries went everywhere.”

Without a place to find friends to tell her story, it would fade away with time, and she says “share those memories every time we get a chance, because too many of them are going to be lost and gone.”

The dance floor and center is a safe place for seniors amongst sure friends, she says, “and not be bothered by people that are wanting to sell them something or trying to entice them to do something that will hurt them eventually. Today we had like 16 people, and I think that’s wonderful.”

More people have been coming since the mask mandates relaxed, and “that’s a start,” to getting everybody back in good company.

“Friendship. A smile on your face means a whole bunch.”

The Minneluzahan Senior Center has all sorts of events and invites people to take a look.

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