POWHATAN POINT - Mike McBride has finally obtained the opportunity he'd been looking for.
A former nutrition driver for Belmont Senior Services, McBride was recently named the director of the Powhatan Point Senior Center.
He takes over for JoAnne Hartley, who served in that capacity for 12 years after a lengthy career with Bellaire Home Health.
BARNESVILLE NATIVE Mike McBride was recently named the director for the Powhatan Point Senior Center. Front row, from left, are: Calvin McGuire, Olive McGuire, Eleanor Boger, Wayne Carpenter, Norma Carpenter and Opal Jenewein. Back row, from left, are: driver Bernie Mercer, Verna Hammond, Anne Carver, JoAnne Hartley, Edith Favyanic and McBride.
While she enjoyed working at center, Hartley felt it was time to lighten her work load a bit.
''I've been working for 60 years,'' she said. ''I think that's enough.''
Now McBride, with some helpful advice from Hartley, hopes to build on what his predecessor began and expand the services offered in Powhatan.
''We usually have between 5 to 6 people here regularly and I'm hoping we can get some more people to come out,'' McBride said. ''I'd like to get that number up to a dozen.
''We're going to try to come up with new activities and maybe bring in more speakers, people knowledgable about things that interest our members.''
A lifelong resident of Barnesville, McBride doesn't mind the nearly 60 mile daily roundtrip to reach the center. This is what he's wanted to do.
''My wife and I owned several businesses in Barnesville and after we sold those, I wanted to get into something where we felt like we were giving back,'' McBride said. ''I wanted to work with seniors and (my wife) wanted to work with children, so this was my goal.
''I started as a substitute nutrition driver and was just hoping a center would come up and I could get in.''
The Powhatan center offers the usual assortment of activities offered around the county. Bingo is played every Monday, Euchre on Tuesdays, and Fridays are generally reserved for day trips. The center schedules trips to Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino and Racetrack a few times per month.
But the other senior centers in Belmont County seem to have that one niche activity that is unique to its center, similar to the woodcarvers group at the Colerain center.
McBride is hoping he and the members can formulate something similar for Powhatan.
''We're trying to get that unique activity in here, we just haven't figured out yet what that is,'' he explained.
While not an activity, Powhatan now has use of its own senior services van and a full time driver in Bernie Mercer.
Having a ride always on hand not only assists with day trips but Mercer is also available to pick up members from their homes to bring them to the center and vice versa.
McBride has more than a few ideas swirling about in his brain about what he'd like to accomplish and how best to get there. But he's also more than willing to tap the best resource about what currently works and what would work well at the center - the seniors themselves.
''That's the goal,'' he said. ''We want to work with the local community organizations, meet with the center trustees and confer with our seniors and see what type of activities they'd like to see.
''We'd like to be a little more vibrant.''
One avenue that could take off with the right planning is exercise.
The center currently has an abdominal machine, a treadmill and a stationary bike for members to use. But McBride is hoping to host some exercise classes for the members and bring in fitness experts for not only instruction but also education.
The Powhatan Point Senior Center is located at 97 Main Street. There is ample parking available in a lot across the street from the center.
For more information, call (740) 795-4350
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