Mission and History
The Center is a meeting place for adults 50 and older to explore their interests through engaging programs, social connections, and to make a difference through volunteer opportunities that strengthen the community.
Annie and Hank Spaulding’s vision
The Center is a vision brought to life by Annie and Hank Spaulding in 1990. They were longtime residents and business owners in Kennebunk and noticed that as their parents were aging they were becoming more isolated from the community. Driving was a problem, their world was getting smaller and smaller, and that was devastating for Annie and Hank to watch.
At the time, Annie ran an antique and interior accessories shop, Annie’s Apple, on Port Road in Kennebunk. She and Hank decided to turn it into the “Senior Center at Lower Village”, a place for the community’s seniors to come and go, to meet with friends for games, education, and engagement with one another. Annie sold her business and used the money to convert the shop into the Center.
The Center opens its doors
In 1990 the Center opened its doors and membership quickly grew to two hundred residents from all economic backgrounds. It was evident they enjoyed the camaraderie they found at the Center. In 1995 the Center became self-sustaining through memberships, donations, fundraisers, business sponsorships, small budget allowances from Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, and an endowment created by many donors.
A home away from home
Our members enjoy spending time with friends, meeting new people, honing their skills, and adding new skills/knowledge to their world. When not dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, on any given day you’ll find members involved in various activities such as yoga or tai chi classes, learning a new skill, chatting with friends over a game of Bridge or Mah Jong, or enjoying a luncheon. The sound of laughter wafts through the rooms. This is their home away from home, their place to go to meet friends and make new ones.
The laughter has been shared virtually since March of 2020 when we introduced the use of ZOOM for the majority of our programming! Our members are resilient and jumped on the virtual bandwagon to stay connected, continue to learn, and enjoy each other’s company. Virtual programming will continue to be an important part of our programming even after the pandemic is behind us. Starting June 2020, we added some in-person, socially-distanced programming for our knitting crew and book club. Our monthly curbside pickup luncheon has been a great success since its implementation in August 2020. We will continue to follow CDC and state protocols for in-door gathering sizes, masking, and pre-entry screening for the foreseeable future. Our primary goal is to provide our programming and services in a safe environment for all.
Volunteer opportunities are an important part of what our members are looking for. People helping people. Many of our members give back to the Center and our community. They collect donations to make holiday gift bags for elders in the community who are alone during the holidays. Volunteers roll up their sleeves and help with fundraisers as well as our FISH medical rides program. Although the FISH program is on hold right now, we expect to resume once the vaccination rollout and overall pandemic status allow us to do so safely for our volunteer drivers and the community riders.
Celebrating 30 years
2020 was our 30th year of service to our members and the community. What a year! When asked about her thoughts on the Center, our founder Annie said:
“It is one thing to start a new endeavor such as the Center but it is certainly another thing to sustain it. This is the reason I am grateful to the staff and Board of Trustees, both past and present. Their support and commitment has been truly outstanding.
To the members of the Center, I have come to know many of you and I value your membership. I am so impressed with your positive attitude and your achievements. You have made an impression on my life.
To the staff, Board and members I thank you for making my life meaningful and happy. I know that Hank would express the same sentiment if he was still with us.
My hope is that the Center will grow and thrive, meet new challenges successfully, and remain an asset to our wonderful community.”
Come visit, see what the Center is about, and become a part of the next chapter. We are growing and have so much to offer older adults. Join us.