ANDERSON — On any given day the Anderson Impact Center and its partner, The Excel Center, are bustling with activity.
And it's getting busier with a new partner agency and plans to offer additional training programs at the former Robinson Elementary School on Nichol Avenue, says Sherry Peak-Davis.
"We're becoming mainstream, and I think the community knows who we are," Peak-Davis said of the center that opened in 2012.
The most recent addition is programming aimed at seniors.
Although it currently is being operated on an eight-week pilot basis, Peak-Davis hopes it has generated enough interest to be sustainable as an ongoing program.
About 50 seniors showed up Thursday for the weekly two-hour gathering that usually includes a speaker and free lunch as well.
Local attorney John W. Longnaker III, an expert in elder law, trusts, wills and estates conducted a seminar on planning health care decisions about care if you are injured or too ill to make those decisions for yourself.
He stressed the importance of talking with family about your wishes regarding extraordinary health care measures if you are incapacitated, creating advance directives and investing a family member with the power of attorney to execute your wishes.
Programs like these "just gives the seniors some insight into heath care and power of attorney," said Joy Ford who has attended two of the programs. "Plus, they feed us a healthy meal."
Marilynn Collier said one of the main benefits of programs like these is that it gives the community a chance to come together.
"A lot of times seniors are at home by themselves ... and they don't have anybody to talk to, so this gives them an opportunity to come together in fellowship. And then not only to come out in fellowship, but to learn things that can benefit their lives," she added.
Collier said when the program began in early July, only about 30 people showed up, but those numbers increased steadily in the weeks that followed.
"It's supposed to be a pilot program, but I'm really praying that the program continues," she said.
With the addition of Transition Resources Corp., or TRC, which provides Early Head Start services at the Impact Center, the facility now serves a population from infants to grandparents, although the primary focus remains adults 18 and older.
The center provides education and training programs that cover job readiness, learning skills and classes in which students can earn certificates to become certified nursing assistants, pharmacy, cleaning, security and customer service technicians.
"We chose these programs based on what the hot jobs are," Peak-Davis said. Most of the courses can be taken free of charge or at low cost.
And work is underway to bring more programs to the center including culinary arts and skilled trades such as welding, carpentry and electrician.
Peak-Davis said since the Anderson Impact Center opened in 2012, 80 students have graduated from its programs, 30 individuals have been matched with jobs and, acting as a business incubator, 56 jobs have been created.
Although anyone in greater Anderson can take advantage of programs and resources at the impact center, its focus is on the 46016 ZIP code, because studies show that's where the greatest need is.
"With the poverty and lack of resources, we want to be like a beacon of light," Peak-Davis said.
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Upcoming senior events
Aug. 20, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Have questions about your medication? Bag all your medications, including over-the-counter and herbals, to the Anderson Impact Center. Presented by Intersect Inc., a licensed pharmacist will be available to answer questions.
Aug. 27, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Senior Fair Day. Enjoy an afternoon of information, vendors and free health screenings.
Source: Anderson Impact Center