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Guest Column: In Service to our Community’s Seniors

  • Written by Anna Coffelt, Mullis Center Manager

The District Committee of the Mullis Community Senior Center has worked through many challenges over the past few months and confronted concerns in our Friday Harbor community. We have come to better understand the perspectives of those we serve and have reinstated all Use Privileges to the four islanders who were cited for non-compliance with the established Mullis Center’s Code of Conduct.

Our Committee’s purpose continues to be in service and to provide an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for our San Juan Island seniors, and others we serve. As we review our organizational structure, it becomes apparent that there is benefit in sharing how we are governed to do this work.

The District Committee of the Mullis Community Senior Center is inextricably part of the Senior Services Council of San Juan County (the “SSCSJC”) and is only authorized to act as the Board directs. The SSCSJC is a 501(c)(3) and the overarching Senior Services Council for the three District Committees located at the San Juan (Mullis Center), Lopez, and Orcas Island Senior Centers.

The overall mission is to assist seniors, age 60 and over, to recognize and deal with their needs, and to provide a spectrum of services through a multi-function agency which will serve the recreational, intellectual, social, physical and mental needs of seniors regardless of race, creed, or national origin.

As a separate nonprofit organization, SSCSJC works closely with San Juan County Senior Services, offering programs under contract with the Northwest Regional Council, through the San Juan County Health and Community Services Department.

San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island each have their own Senior Centers which serve as resource and information centers for all programs affecting those over age 60. The Senior Centers on all three islands serve hot lunches and ask a modest donation to cover the cost. Meals are also delivered to the homebound.

The Centers also provide a focus for organized social activities which provide opportunities for seniors to remain active in the community. Centers offer memberships and holds fundraisers to specifically support their area’s services and programs as part of the SSCSJC nonprofit organization.

Each Center has a District Committee whose members serve at the pleasure and approval of the Board of Directors of the SSCSJC. As a result of the recent community request, and operational challenges, the SSCSJC has updated and revised its corporate governance documents to provide for more transparency and unity with the community it serves. This has been done to refocus our efforts on the goals of the SSCSJC and the Senior Services Council.

Goals of the Senior Services Council: Maintain the value and dignity of seniors, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, to maximize their contribution of life experiences to each other, our youth, and our communities.

Support provision of services to seniors and their caregivers by the Senior Services Division of San Juan County Health & Community Services Department. Assist staff in implementing and operating senior programs in a manner which is legal, ethical, fiscally responsible and fulfills program specific standards for grant funds and private donations.

Operate accessible vehicles with which to provide specialized transportation services to seniors and disabled in our communities.

Develop and operate Senior Center facilities on each major island for the provision of services and programs aimed at increasing ‘quality of life’ for seniors, their caregivers, and the community as a whole.

Provide a non-profit corporate umbrella for Island Advisory Committees, which identify and endeavor to meet local needs and service gaps.

With these changes and a rededication, the Mullis Center is looking forward to expanding our program offerings to meet our community’s growing needs. As always, we welcome new volunteers, members, and membership renewals, throughout the year. Members enjoy special offers and discounts on various community and Mullis Center programs and events. Please stop by to join today.

Our Community Meal Days are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance is offered at 11:35 AM, and continues to be optional. Salad Bar begins at 11:40 AM and Lunch is served at Noon. The suggested donation for those 60 and better is $5.00. All others are welcome to dine with us for $7.00. Birthdays will continue to be announced and celebrated at the end of each month.