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Stamford Seniors Stay Active, Warm

While this winter’s bitter cold and heavy snow can threaten anyone's health, seniors are more susceptible to hypothermia, frostbite and other cold-weather ailments. The Stamford Senior Center aims to keep them safe, says Director Marcia O’Kane.

“It snows and, if we’re open, here you are cozy and warm,” says O’Kane, noting the facility’s central location and numerous events, programs and activities.

The center, open to Stamford residents age 50 and over, encompasses the second floor of the downtown Government Center and serves about 1,200 members. The facility is like a miniature village: It has a library, recreation room with exercise equipment and pool tables, an arts and crafts room, lounge, kitchen, cafeteria, computer room and auditorium. There’s even a putting green for golfers.

“We’re so grateful to the city of Stamford for providing us with our space,” says O’Kane, a former investment banker who decided to switch gears and work in the nonprofit sector.

Her financial expertise is still being put to good use. Though the center is maintained in part through dues -- $30 for each member – donations and fundraisers help meet operational costs. It’s endured significant budget and staff cuts, and relies heavily on member-volunteers.

“We had no choice but to call on our members,” says O’Kane. They responded, bringing in needed items such as scotch tape and paper towels and volunteering their time to help with mailings and other needs. “We are so proud of our members who stepped up to the plate," she says. "It’s a giving culture."

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