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Published: Wednesday, 1/11/2006

Maumee: New help perks up Senior Center

BY ELIZABETH A. SHACK
BLADE STAFF WRITER
New staff members Stephanie Spieth and Kimberly Snide, both standing, oversee card players, from left, Barbara Barron, Delores Gilliland, Frances Warnock, and Francis McPike Friday at the Maumee Senior Center. New staff members Stephanie Spieth and Kimberly Snide, both standing, oversee card players, from left, Barbara Barron, Delores Gilliland, Frances Warnock, and Francis McPike Friday at the Maumee Senior Center.
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The Maumee Senior Center has some new faces.

The center began the new year with three new staff members, all of whom arrived just before Thanksgiving.

Executive Director Stefanie Spieth and Program Coordinator Kimberly Snide started work Nov. 21; Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator Diana Williams started the week before.

"Starting during the holiday season makes for an interesting experience," Miss Spieth said.

She said that as the seniors have become more comfortable with the new staff, the staff has become busier. Mrs. Snide added that the seniors have been giving them ideas for travel and other programming they'd like to have.

"The people here have just kind of embraced them," said Carol Ferguson, a senior who is on the center's board.

Miss Spieth was the director of the Northwest Ohio chapter of Prevent Blindness Ohio. Ms. Williams was working for a research firm and has worked with seniors in personal care. Mrs. Snide was working at Otterbein North Shore retirement community.

"I think everybody's behind them," Ms. Ferguson said.

A previous executive director, Janet Russ, who retired in 2004, returned to help the new staff get settled and to provide some continuity.

"It was a calm transition," Miss Spieth said.

The center's former executive director, Christal Hughes, was asked to resign in September because of poor job performance; center staff later accused her of stealing from the center. She was bound over to a Lucas County grand jury last week.

The new staff, the center's board, and the seniors have put that behind them and are looking to the future, they said.

"We're just working hard on showing the seniors that everything's fine," Miss Spieth said.

Board members said they're succeeding. "We were having trouble getting volunteers, and now it's a different atmosphere," Dee Felt said.

She and Ms. Ferguson said that the center seems to be getting new members, and old members are coming back.

Mrs. Snide said they plan to continue the programs that the center has offered, and she's meeting with the travelers at the end of the month to plan trips.

"That's something that fell by the wayside" as they got settled in, she said.

Upcoming events include a Valentine's Day Dinner Dance and monthly soup and salad suppers and pancake breakfasts.

"Everybody could find something to do," Miss Spieth said.

Miss Spieth said she interned at the Maumee Senior Center in 1996 and dreamed of someday running it.

"I'm loving being here as a staff member," she said.



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