WARREN - For the past 50 years, SCOPE Inc. has provided a variety of programs, services and events for the older adults of Trumbull County.
The doors of SCOPE, or Senior Citizens Opportunity for Personal Endeavor, opened in February 1962 at a small storefront at 132 Pine Ave. N.E. Since then, it has grown to a large multipurpose center, five small centers and an adult day care for citizens 50 and older. The goal is to provide programs and services to keep those in middle age through the latter part of their lives focus on staying active and healthy.
Janet Schweitzer, executive director of SCOPE, said to celebrate its own 50-year anniversary, a luncheon will be held at noon Feb. 24. Scheduled to attend is state Sen. Capri Cafaro, who has worked to help seniors.
This photo was taken during a groundbreaking ceremony in 1978 at the site of the current SCOPE Senior Center in Warren. Among those in attendance were Walter and Roberta Graham and Dorothy Klein, also pictured at right.
She said the event will include photo albums, scrapbooks and other memorabilia recording the 50-year history. Cost is $15, with reservations due by today by calling 330-399-8846.
Dorothy Klein and Roberta Graham were the two women who started the senior center.
"The seniors were meeting in the late 1950s at the YWCA where Dorothy Klein was program director there and Roberta Graham was on the board of trustees. They decided to start programs for older adults," Schweitzer said.
SCOPE Inc. will hold its 50th anniversary luncheon at noon Feb. 24 at the Warren SCOPE, 220 W. Market St. The cost is $15. To make a reservation call 330-373-6213.
SCOPE Inc. of Trumbull County is marking its 50th anniversary this year. There is a main Senior SCOPE Center, an adult day care and five smaller senior centers in Trumbull County.
- Warren SCOPE Center, 220 W. Market St., 330-399-8846
- Niles SCOPE Center, 14 E. State St., 330-544-3676
- Howland SCOPE Center, 8273 High St., 330-609-7806
- Lordstown SCOPE Center, Gordon D. James Career Center, 330-824-2173
- Champion SCOPE Center, 4451 Mahoning Ave., 330-847-8179
- Cortland SCOPE Center, 125 N. Bank St., 330-637-3010
- SCOPE Harbor Adult Day Care at Christ Episcopal Church, 2627 Atlantic St., 330-399-4495
Schweitzer said the women saw a need to serve people older than 50 and received a good response from local residents. They decided the program, called the Golden Year Club, needed its own place such as a senior center.
"They were very foresightful and saw that there was a need for an organization just for older adults," Schweitzer said.
The center opened and soon had 200 members in the 1960s.
At its beginnings, the center had a large meeting room and three rooms in the back, one of which was used as a kitchen and the others offices.
The first center had an executive director and a part-time secretary.
"That was the original beginning. It was a very small storefront where people could play cards and have coffee," she said,
Two years after opening, SCOPE became a United Way agency and was allotted $8,800. Prior to that, the center existed on donations and memberships.
Schweitzer said Walter Graham, a Realtor in the city, helped locate the current facility, which previously was an A&P store, bowling alley and the location of the original Packard car factory garage.
"It's a great spot for a senior center,'' she said.
After 18 years at a storefront center, the new building opened on March 8, 1980.
Shortly after the new Warren center opened, a senior outreach was started in West Farmington, which later went independent from SCOPE. A Niles SCOPE started in the Masonic Temple and then received community development block grants for a new building, where it is located today across from the safety service complex.
Schweitzer, who has been director for 20 years, said soon a Howland SCOPE was started. Also, a Liberty SCOPE was started that lasted one year. Other centers were later added when funding was available in Lordstown, Champion and Cortland.
Other grants were obtained through the Ohio Department of Aging, allowing for expansions at the sites, Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said she gets a lot of requests for other centers to be started, including in Mahoning County, but she noted a key factor is that it takes money.
Seniors worked hard to get levies passed, Schweitzer said. "The levy didn't pass the first time and then we worked very, very hard. The people in the community really dug in and got the first levy to pass," she said.
The first senior levy passed in 2002. Prior to that, the funding was through the Older American's Act, United Way, donations and some state money.
Schweitzer said the center has worked closely with other agencies in order to develop services and programs to better serve the elderly, including home health care.
"Many older adults have told us what programs and activities they would like to have," she said.
Over the years, the center has implemented many programs and services. There is a gift shop that sells items seniors make.
Marge Haley, communications coordinator for SCOPE, said there are activities ranging from painting classes, crafts, cards, cornhole, bocce, poker club, and ballroom, square and tap dancing.
"Almost anything you can imagine you can do at one of the centers,'' Haley said.
"It's kind of mind-boggling all the different programs we offer," Schweitzer said.
Haley said many seniors consider SCOPE their "home away from home."
"Our idea at SCOPE has always been that as you get older you have to keep growing and keep your mind stimulated and body healthy. If you are too isolated, you are more vulnerable to physical and mental ailments,'' Schweitzer said.
Schweitzer said services offered also include food distribution in conjunction with Second Harvest Food Bank and a Christmas basket project with more than 150 boxes with food given to people who are homebound at the holidays.
Haley said programs are offered to help those who need help with finances, medication or planning for their funerals.
"What is interesting is it doesn't matter how old someone is, they still want to be kept up to speed on what is going on. They want to know and learn about computers, cellphones and shopping hints,'' Haley said.
Haley said the different age generation work together as Howland High School Interact Club students serve as tutors for seniors at the center to help seniors with cell phones and computers.
"They are always learning something new and interacting with others,'' Haley said.
Schweitzer said there is a sense of family and camaraderie at the center that offers much interaction to enhance quality of life.
''People are making friends and becoming social, which are important parts of living. It is important to have a social life, satisfaction and fun,'' she said.
Patty Paul of Cortland said she enjoys coming to the center to play cards and be part of different programs.
"I am surprised it has been 50 years. I can't believe it," Paul said.
Audrey Snyder said she has been coming to the center for many years and agreed there is a lot to do.
"It's the people that make it wonderful. I look forward to the next 50 years,'' she said.