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Don't Judge the Center By Its Cover

Power walk aerobics, T'ai Chi, line dancing and core strengthening, this place has got it all. This might sound like some classes offered at the Greenwich YMCA. But thanks to Director Laurette Helmrich, these are just a few new classes offered at the Greenwich Senior Center.

For a number of years, the Senior Center on Greenwich Avenue has been known as a place for seniors to be social and do art and crafts. Over the past year, Helmrich has been working to incorporate more stimulating and fun activities.

"I want people to see [the Senior Center] as much more than a place that offers arts and crafts," she said. "Programs are now taught by professionals, and seniors have the option to pick and choose what they would like to do."

After working in recreational therapy at Nathaniel Witherell for 22 years, Helmrich made the switch to the Senior Center in 2002. Before the new programs were implemented, the town and the Senior Center conducted a survey on what programs and activities the seniors wanted. Today's activity list is a showcase of just that, and Helmrich said the activities are motivating for visitors.

Another goal was to improve the food at the center. It is now contracted with Morrison Management, which also provides food for Nathaniel Witherell. "There are more nutritional options and diversity within meals," said Helmrich.

"The community needs to be more aware of what we do," she said. "We have so much to offer."

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