PRIMETIME: Center of Attention

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SYBENE — It’s Wednesday morning and Louise Stephens is getting off the Community Action Organization van at the front door of the Sybene Senior Center.

This is one of the two days she spends her morning at the center, chatting with friends and playing bingo and dominoes.

She hasn’t missed many days since the center opened and is considered by the staff as one of those with the longest attendance record there.

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“It’s a good place to come and mix with people,” the Burlington homemaker said.

That morning she spent a few minutes checking out the table of prizes set up in the dining room for the inveterate bingo players. The table was filled with everything from craft items to fancy potions for the bath.

Offering a cup of coffee to everyone who came into the dining hall was Gloria Cole, one of the center’s staff.

Cole knows everyone by name and always stops to talk or play a game or two.

“This is the best place I ever worked,” she said. “Everyone is so friendly.”

Throughout the facility are venues for a variety of activities including an exercise room with treadmills and other equipment, a computer room where seniors can do research on the Internet, even receive emails from relatives; and craft and ceramic rooms, where seniors may work on on-going projects.

There are also billiards and pool rooms for men and women and places where friends can meet for card games or Bible study

All seniors need to do is show up to participate in any of the activities the center offers.

In 1978 the county got the site of the center, which was the power house of a one-time lock on the Ohio River.

Two years later, the Lawrence County Commissioners provided the first funds for building a multi-purpose senior center.

That was combined with other grants for an addition to the renovated power house that is now the Sybene Center.

A groundbreaking was held June 2, 1983, and the center was opened Oct. 15, 1984.

Now, the power house has a second life and one that is open to anyone 60 or older who is looking for good company, a chance to learn about new topics or a congenial dominoes partner.

And as Louise Stephens pulls a box of dominoes out of the front desk drawer, she knows this is simply a place to have an enjoyable time.