‘Seniors Together’ brings joy to Belhaven

Published 7:02 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

“Act your age” doesn’t apply here.

Once a month since November, in a side room at the Belhaven Library, the Seniors Together group has brought together senior citizens from Autumnfield rest home and the Belhaven community as a whole.

Averaging a monthly attendance of 12 to 16 members, the group is a place where seniors can gather for a time of fun, fellowship and song. Leading the group in its activities, 53-year veteran elementary teacher Dell Barnes comes on the second Tuesday of each month with an exciting array of new activities, as well as delicious homemade snacks.

“It started out when I was asked to read to the citizens of the Autumnfield rest home who were coming to check out books,” Barnes said. “I thought ‘Gee, that can be very boring. Let’s do something more exciting.’”

With a smartboard and programming space available, Barnes worked with the library staff to develop the monthly senior program into what it is today. With a focus on music, dance and art, the result was an interactive experience that gets seniors moving and keeps their minds sharp.

Once the program found success with the Autumnfield residents, Barnes was ready to open it up to the community. Each month has a particular theme, building excitement for various events. While last month the group explored St. Patrick’s Day, spring was the theme of Tuesday’s gathering.

Together, the group shared their favorite springtime activities, their favorite flowers and enjoyed YouTube videos on various aspects of the season. The day’s festivities concluded with a virtual tour of the tulip fields of Holland, as shown by drone footage.

“It’s really to get them out of their home environment, get them to fellowship, share ideas and have a fun time together,” Barnes said.

For branch director Pat Saunders, who first took her post in October, this was the first step towards her goal of establishing the library as a center of the Belhaven community. Saunders says that means programming that engages people of all ages.

“My goal is a community effort that naturally promotes reading and education,” Saunders said. “It’s also an outreach to bring the community together. When we bring in programs like Social Security, DSS and NC Works, all of that is meeting our community needs, and that’s what it’s all about. We want to bring the youth in, the teens and the seniors. That’s my goal.”

For more information about the Belhaven Library, as well as branches in Aurora, Bath and Washington, click to the Beaufort Hyde Martin Regional Library website at www.bhmlib.org or visit your local library today.