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Pat McGrew (center) joins other seniors in listening to a speech from Barack Matite Friday at the Friday Fun Fellowship event at the rec center. About 50 seniors attended this first monthly gathering.

The Senior Foundation is helping turn Eudora into a “Mecca for seniors,” City Manager Barack Matite said Friday.

“There’s a lot of opportunities to be engaged and opportunities for them to do a lot of the things that they desire, which is: ‘I want to keep living my life, and I want to be able to be independent, and I want to be in an environment that I can be able to do what I want. I want to be able to get out, walk around, meet my friends, do engaging things,” he said. 

The monthly Friday Fun Fellowship events hosted by the Senior Foundation of Eudora started Friday at the rec center and attracted about 50 senior citizens.

Those in attendance were presented with many opportunities, from Eudora trivia, to prize drawings, to a speech from Matite. 

The Senior Foundation asked him to speak on important developments around the community, in particular, Nottingham.

In addition to the Wendy’s and Casey’s already in construction, there will be a High 5 family entertainment center that promises bowling, laser tag, mini golf and more. 

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Barack Matite speaks about the Nottingham development Friday at the fellowship event. 

Matite also spoke about the goals of the City Commission in terms of community growth that he plans to help ensure they achieve.

“They have a strategic planning retreat to look at ‘what does a community want?’ and they have critical access marks of things that must go right for the vision they have for the community to come to fruition,” he said. 

This plan includes increasing economic development, maintaining public engagement and improving infrastructure.

Matite admires the work the Senior Foundation is doing, particularly when it comes to planning interactive events such as the Friday Fun Fellowship. 

“I think with the Senior Foundation, they know what seniors want and they are also receptive to feedback and info from residents of Eudora and what will work for them,” he said. “It’s amazing that they actually do the work.”

Attendee Pat McGrew said she both enjoyed Barack’s “informative” speech and the ability to get out of the house and interact with other community seniors. 

“I just wanted to know more about what was going on in Eudora and what was available for seniors,” she said.

McGrew, a 20-year resident of Eudora, said the city is a great place for senior citizens to settle down. 

“We’re very close to excellent medical care, but we’re also a small community where people still look out for each other and that kind of thing,” she said.

McGrew plans on attending more of the Friday Fun Fellowship events, and said she would recommend it to her friends. In future events, she’d like to see a little more information, movement and activities out of the event. 

LuAnn Pascal said the Senior Foundation plans to do just that, with next month’s fellowship event bringing on bingo. Senior attendees will also have the opportunity to sign up for Medicare with help from volunteers. 

Pascal said the Senior Foundation wanted to create the fellowship event as a way of continuing the senior potluck tradition in a more COVID-friendly manner. 

“We wanted them to be able to just feel included and to get out to do things because they’ve been enclosed for so long,” she said. “Some of them really mentally needed that, so we just wanted to get that going again because just talking to people can help mentally.” 

Laughter erupted from the rec center as Vicky Hofer’s name was drawn from a plastic jack-o-lantern, making her the winner of her own Hofer Honey that she brought as a prize offering. Although she was given a different prize, the irony of the situation gave seniors quite a laugh.

The day’s event was an opportunity for seniors to hear about upcoming events in the community, including candidate forums from 7-9 p.m. Wednesday for the City Commission and School Board elections and a tour of the Holy Family Catholic Church Building at 3 p.m. Nov. 13.

The candidate forum will be offered via Zoom. Those interested can register at https://bit.ly/EudoraForum.

Communicating to seniors that events like this are happening was an important goal of the Senior Foundation in this event. 

“Some of them might feel that they don’t get a lot of communication. That’s one thing that we really want to work on is the communication,” Pascal said. “The elderly are a big part of our society, and they have a lot of input and a lot of knowledge, so I think that it’s very important for them to be [involved].”

Next month’s Friday Fun Fellowship event will be at the rec center from 1-3 p.m. Nov. 12. Furthermore, The Eudora Times is offering a technology training for seniors from 2-4 Nov. 14. 

“Bring your friends just so that they can have fun, so that they can keep on coming back and know that these Fun Fridays are not just for fun but also informational things,” Pascal said.

Reach reporter Emily Binkley at eudoratimes@gmail.com.

To donate to support our community journalism, please go to this link: tinyurl.com/y4u7stxj 

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