The O’Neill Center celebrates anniversary and some changes
We are so ready for this beautiful spring weather! While the buds and blooms make their way out to find the sun, we are finding that we are ready for changes and we’re ready to celebrate.
The biggest change is that masks are now optional in all of our facilities. We are following all of the health guidelines and we are happy that we can finally shed the masks and see everyone’s smiling face. It’s been a long time coming. However, we do understand that not everyone is comfortable taking off that extra layer of protection. We understand and we respect anyone who wishes to continue to wear a face mask. We do also encourage hand sanitizing and distancing if possible, to just help curb the spreading of germs.
We are ready to party, though. And we have so many reasons to celebrate, not the least of which is the fact that we are celebrating our 36th anniversary this month. That’s right! O’Neill Center has been serving seniors in Washington County and surrounding areas since 1986! Our services and programs have grown to include medical transportation, living assistance, adult day services, and social services, as well as the wonderful enrichment activities that are held in the Center every Monday through Friday. And let’s not forget the great folks in Belpre and all our friends at the Belpre Senior Center.
Time has flown for me since I started here in September 2020. We’ve seen a lot of changes in our small community and in the greater wide world that we all call home. One of my goals for the Center in the years ahead is to focus on diversity and inclusion. We are a small community but that community is made up of many different types of people. The O’Neill Center is welcoming of everyone but we, as everyone does, have an obligation to open our arms a little wider and promote a feeling of oneness and unity.
A little pet project of mine will try to encompass this feeling of diversity and inclusion in a little area behind our building I will lovingly refer to as the “zen garden.” With some research, some gracious funding partners and some tender loving care, it is my hope that we can transport this little seating and garden area into a place for seniors to come and sit, read, enjoy lunch, reflect and even get their hands dirty if they so choose. The garden will be dedicated to seniors of every race, identity, orientation, faith, socioeconomic status. When I think about the possibilities of including a fountain, a little free library, biodiverse plants and habitats, well, it puts a smile on my face. I hope the seniors feel the same way and will enjoy nurturing and caring for this space.
That’s the thing about O’Neill – we are all so full of good ideas and intentions. Each and every plan we think of, we try to bring to fruition to benefit the seniors and the community as a whole. But it takes support and it takes funding. Luckily we have an opportunity coming up that will allow us to raise some money for programs and services while having a little – OK a lot – of fun. The Quarter Auction is coming back!
Yes that’s right. Our last Quarter Auction was held in 2019. COVID-19 put a stop to meeting in person the last couple years but we are ready to do it again. Our doors will open at 5 p.m. on June 24. This is where you come in… we need people to buy tickets to help us celebrate and maybe win a prize or two, and we need donations of items to auction. No item is too big or too small and no monetary donation will be turned away. Donations are being accepted right away and through the end of May. If you would like to donate on behalf of a business, individual or civic group, please call or email me. More information will come in subsequent columns but we are just so excited to share this event. Look for us on Facebook and let us know if you will attend. Tickets are only $5 and there is a limited availability.
Erin O’Neill is Development Coordinator for The O’Neill Center, located at 333 Fourth St. in Marietta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 740-373-3914.