Latest News and Events - Active Living
Be sure to check out the links to the left about upcoming classes, lectures, clinics, services, presentations - and a whole plethora of events - coming to the Tallahassee Senior Center and its Neighborhood Sites over the next few months!
Silver Stars Shine Bright!
Kelsey Murray and Qaree Dreher, Interns, Sachs Media Group
On May 26, the Tallahassee Senior Center & Foundation will celebrate the 15th Annual Silver Stars, a gala that recognizes volunteers, sponsors and Silver Stars Award Winners. We congratulate the 2016 Silver Stars who represent all walks of life. Each recipient was selected for their service and optimal aging after turning age 60. The common thread is their continuous dedication to a positive outlook on life.
A sharp businessman with a servant’s heart, Stephen Beasley strives to make a positive, sustainable impact on Tallahassee’s Southside.
The Tallahassee native is the son of former Florida A&M professor Sylvester “Jap” Beasley, which explains Stephen’s love for FAMU. Stephen developed a passion for photography while attending FAMU High and then moved on to his beloved university, where he majored in business administration and minored in accounting and marketing.
In 1965, Stephen combined his degree, his passion for photography, and his entrepreneurial spirit when he began a photography and advertising business, Beasley & Associates. Five years later, he founded the Capital Hour Newspaper, which he published for five years. In 1976, he established the renowned Capital Outlook newspaper. After 50 years at the helm of his advertising business, Stephen finally retired and focused fully on service.
More than 30 years after helping to found the MLK Foundation, Stephen serves as the organization’s CEO. The foundation aligns with so much of what Stephen stands for: promoting charity, community, and leadership, while also spreading the spirit of community pride and equality embodied by Dr. King.
Stephen considers himself blessed as a businessman and as a person, which inspires him to give back. During his youth, his family stressed the importance of civic engagement. This environment of deeply valuing service and love inspired him to do the same for the youth on the Southside. As a result, he has started three Boy Scouts troops and dedicates his time to mentoring.
Stephen Beasley and his late wife Nickie, a school administrator for Leon County Schools, were married for 38 years. They have one daughter and two grandchildren.
It seems as though Dr. Ada Puryear Burnette has taught everywhere and everyone. She began her far-reaching career as a public school teacher in North Carolina and Illinois, before moving into higher education. She served in a variety of key positions at universities in Virginia, Alabama, and Tennessee before accepting a position as administrator of Florida’s early childhood, basic skills, and elementary education programs – the first African-American to hold such a position for the State of Florida since the Reconstruction period.
After five years in that position, Ada craved the excitement of teaching. She moved to Daytona Beach for a return to higher education at Bethune-Cookman College (now University), where she served as an administrator, and later to Valdosta State University.
In 2006, Ada was inducted into Florida A&M University’s Gallery of Distinction. The next year, the school’s president and other top administrators lured her out of semi-retirement to chair the Department of Educational Leadership and Human Services. She still spends her days spreading her positivity through the school and through her diverse and extensive charity work, mentorships, and social organizations.
Dr. Ada Burnette has dedicated her life and career to educational leadership, even giving three presentations at Oxford on the subject. Despite her countless professional accolades, what brings her the most joy is spending time with family, and helping to enrich the lives of others through her generous charity work and community service. She currently serves on the Tallahassee-Leon County Commission on the Status of Women & Girls and mentors students at Sealey Elementary School.
Ada’s key to a happy life is living according to the simple but effective motto, “Look at things positively.” This motto is wisdom that she applies to every aspect of her full and exciting life as an educator, volunteer, and mentor.
One’s lifelong passion for learning doesn’t stop during retirement years, as Chuck Lee continues to impact the Tallahassee community through his education initiatives and passion for volunteering.
The Ohio transplant gathered 20 years of rich experiences in counseling before retiring. Finding solace in Miami, he had the privilege of a “full practical experience” at Life Resources Counseling Center, as director for seven years. Through his academic focus on counseling, Chuck helped cultivate a safe space for growth and healing for a diverse population.
Next, Chuck and his family rooted themselves in Tallahassee, where he took on a new career role as part-time Coordinator of Judicial Affairs at Tallahassee Community College. He rounded out his professional career as the part-time Lifelong Learning Coordinator for the Tallahassee Senior Center.
During retirement, Chuck and Muriel have relocated to Westminster Oaks where he has been influential in furthering the arts, culture, and lifelong learning program within this active community. Hard-working, innovative, and always looking for an opportunity to get involved, Chuck developed his passion for serving by endeavoring to pursue all of his scholastic interests.
A multi-talented person, one might often find Chuck working on a new painting, sharing bits of wisdom in his blog, or helping Muriel tend to their flower beds.
Chuck’s civic engagement runs wide and deep, once serving as a full-time volunteer with Capital City Christian Church’s senior adult ministry. His influence spans many generations throughout the years.
Chuck married his high school sweetheart, Muriel, 57 years ago. He deeply values his family and exudes tremendous pride as he talks about his four children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Asked how they kept love alive for so many years, Chuck responded: “Be flexible and work to remain on the same page,” he smiled. “Trite but true–communication and openness is the secret.”
His strong belief in being a doer drives his love for helping others. Living life to the fullest, Chuck Lee lives by this simple motto: Never give up.
Barbara Mann may be an expert woodcarver, but it’s the lives she shapes that are the true measure of her success.
Barbara learned her deep passion and skillset for woodcarving from a group of Cherokee Indians while serving as Dean of Students at West Carolina University in 1971. Since then, she has dedicated her life to teaching and volunteering as a woodcarving instructor across the country.
Upon moving to Tallahassee in 1988, Barbara began teaching her own woodcarving class at Oglesby Union on Florida State University’s campus. Her class was so popular that she decided to team up with fellow woodcarver Jack Rutledge to begin a social woodcarving club in 1994. Now, the club meets on weeknights at the Tallahassee Senior Center, the place where Barbara says, “It was all born.” An instructor for Capital City Carvers and Westminster Oaks, she has volunteered at Woodcarvers Roundup events in Florida, Michigan, and Indiana.
Before she began shaping lives through woodcarving, Barbara served as a role model and mentor for college students across the country. She received a degree in physical education from Bowling Green State before earning a master’s degree in counseling at Wayne State University. She then spent two years as a residence hall director at Ball State University followed by three years as Director of Student Housing at Frostburg State University. “I loved working with college kids,” Barbara recalls. “They kept me young all those years.”
Barbara came to Florida State University in 1980 and earned a degree in higher education. She then served as Vice President of Student Services for the University of North Carolina system. Returning to FSU in 1988, she worked as an associate professor of higher education, where she served as a major professor for 32 doctoral students and 240 master’s students.
Barbara Mann has developed a strong legacy to be followed by woodcarvers and students alike. “Pursue your dreams. Even if you don’t reach them, you’ll find something you love along the way,” she says.
Happiness is finding the perfect dance partner. Fortunately, Nina and Cooper Mingledorff found that and so much more when they tied the knot 65 years ago. This dynamic duo has spent more than four decades twisting and twirling their way across the country as officers and dancers for the Tallahassee Twirlers Square Dancing Club. They have participated in numerous festivals and dance competitions everywhere from Kirkwood, Missouri, to English Mountain, Tennessee.
Cooper is a proud military veteran whose service included time in Japan, where he helped with cleanup operations after World War II and made sure a high-ranking colonel got where he was supposed to be. When he returned home, Cooper began forestry school, where he developed a passion and impressive knack for growing trees. After finishing forestry school in 1949, he moved to the Wakulla County community of Newport, where he met Nina at a local church.
After they were married, the couple moved to Tallahassee. Cooper began his first and only career – working at St. Joe Paper Company, where he helped grow pine trees from 1979 to 1991. Meanwhile, Nina began 25 years at Florida State University as a staff assistant.
Now retired, the two enjoy volunteering at the Tallahassee Senior Center concession stand where they keep the popcorn machine popping during antique shows and other special events. Over the last decade, Nina served at the Senior Center’s reception desk and financial office. But it isn’t all “work” for this retired couple – Nina and Cooper make sure to spend time with their children and grandchildren at weekly Friday night dinner gatherings.
So what’s Cooper’s secret to a long and happy marriage? “When she asks you to do something, say ‘Yes, ma’am’!” Similarly, Nina’s words of wisdom for young adults in search of a bright future: “Enjoy life while you can, live every moment to the fullest, and do what makes you happy.”
Learning new skills is nothing new for Martha Rodeseike.
That was really driven home when she was just 18 and was uprooted from her home in the Netherlands after World War II when her parents moved Martha and her four siblings to the United States. While many teenage girls would find this move daunting, Martha recalls the experience as the greatest adventure of her life.
She moved first to Milwaukee, where she met her husband, an electrical engineer, and had her daughter. The young family moved to Pennsylvania, but eventually she made a return to the continent of her birth. They lived in France and then England, but finally moved back to the States. That may explain why Martha now counts travelling among her many passions.
Before her first venture “across the pond,” Martha picked up needlework skills from her mother and grandmother. She now passes her love of the art to eager students every Monday and Wednesday at the Tallahassee Senior Center, where for the past seven years she has taught all forms of needlework, including crocheting, knitting, needlepoint, and quilting. As the class leader, Martha ensures supplies are available for the class and follows up on those who miss to make sure they are well.
Martha’s classes don’t just benefit her students, however. The classes have donated more than 350 lap blankets and other handmade goods to veterans, long-term care patients, and babies in neonatal care.
When she’s not helping others through her knitting, she may be at the bowling alley participating in league play. She is also a Gold medal winner in the 2016 Capital City Senior Games.
On how she stays active, Martha’s secret is simply: “Work – keep on working. Don’t sit at home.” She lives out this message by in all of her activities. Whatever the project, Martha Rodeseike is always ready and happy to learn!
For Dr. Carolyn Ryals, a deep life-long passion for education stems from segregation’s depriving her of it when she was young.
Today, most Americans assume access to education as an entitlement. But for Carolyn, education was a privilege, one she reflected upon every day while riding a train to a distant school because the one in her Southwest Florida hometown of Boca Grande was segregated.
“It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re going,” Carolyn says, recalling the maxim that motivated her to continue pushing forward through the obstacles she faced.
The adversity Carolyn experienced in gaining an education reaffirmed two things for her: She wanted to dedicate her life to education, and she wanted to provide that opportunity to others.
Her academic achievements are a reflection of the promise she made to herself. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Florida A&M University, a master’s in education from Indiana University, and a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University.
Carolyn is the owner of KopyKat Copy Center, located near FAMU’s campus. She also spearheads “Passion for Reading,” serves on the boards of the Tallahassee Shelter and the C. K. Steele Sr. Foundation, and volunteers with Bethel Missionary Baptist Church. She has served on the Tallahassee Mayor’s Task Force to End Homelessness and the Coalition for the Homeless.
Carolyn has had the privilege of passing her passion and dedication to three more generations – her daughter, two granddaughters, and a great-granddaughter.
Asked where she derives her strength and grace from, Dr. Ryals points to her faith. “God told us to do two things: love him and love others. That’s how I live my life.”
Environmentally conscious. Innovative. Civic minded. These are just some of the phrases that describe the dynamic life of Dot Skofronick.
Embodying positive, sustainable change, Dot is on the forefront of making Tallahassee environmentally friendly. For her, sustainability and environmental service simply make sense.
When she first arrived in Tallahassee with her husband Jim, she started a gardening club to engage her community. She always sought ways to make her passion for being environmentally conscious approachable. Whether it was walking – not driving – her children to school or handing out cloth bags for recycling at her church, Dot took advantage of every opportunity to make environmental service accessible to others.
Dot is involved with a myriad of environmental organizations, including ReThink Energy, Sustainable Tallahassee, and Friends of Wakulla Springs. Also a champion of community solar power, she proudly counts among her many outstanding accomplishments a successful push for a solar farm at the Tallahassee airport.
An active runner and Gulf Winds Track Club Hall of Fame member, Dot teaches water aerobics for the City of Tallahassee and mentors students at Kate Sullivan Elementary School. When she isn’t at her French study group or with an environmental advocacy group, you can find her gardening at home.
Dot and Jim met at the University of Wisconsin. Jim’s acclaim as a physicist grew, and the couple eventually moved to Tallahassee when Jim joined the Physics Department at Florida State University. Dot and Jim raised four children, each of whom became engineers with differing fields of expertise. Together, they started the Outdoor Explorers Group for FSU’s Faculty and Friends Club and recently built a kitchen-family room addition to their home.
Several of Dot’s friends from the Senior Center’s French group had this to say about her: “She is truly a wonderful resource for our community and our planet.”
Thanks to the following sponsors who helped make
2016 Capital City Senior Games a great success!
- Capital Health Plan
- Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare
- Audiology Associates of North Florida
- Friends of Our Parks
- Leon County
- Visit Tallahassee
- Tallahassee Parks, Recreation & Neighborhood Affairs
- Tallahassee Senior Center & Foundation
For 2016 Capital City Senior Games Results & Pictures
For results, by event & age division, visit www.talgov.com/seniors/seniors-seniorgames.aspx.
For pictures by event, visit https://www.facebook.com/TallahasseeSeniorCenter/
Assistant City Manager Cynthia Barber lights the Torch as Bag Toss participant Annie Rolle begins its journey around Lake Ella to the Tallahassee Senior Center.
Bobby Ellison (60-65) takes 1st place in Javelin
Mother & son combo, Jane & Bobby Bacon finish 1st in Mixed Doubles Bowling (60-64).
Alphonso Brown (55-59) lifts to 1st place in the Dead Lift 220 Powerlifting event
Long-time Senior Games Cyclist Rick Ashton (70) carries the Torch into the Senior Center Welcome Reception.
Susanne Fortune (65-69) expresses her excitement with a 1st place finish in Horseshoes
Pickleball medalists (L-R) Tish Cunningham, Linda Smith, Jovita Ashton, & LaRae Donnellan show great sportsmanship following a competitive match up.
Focus pays off as Anthony Hardiman (75-79) places 2nd in Golf.
Paula Mann concentrates on her 1st place finish in Compound Bow with Sights Archery competition.
A Fresh Perspective on Competing in the 2016 Capital City Senior Games
I’ve been talking the talk for years. It became time to walk the walk.
I worked my first Florida Senior Games in 1999 as an experienced Sports Communications professional at the ripe old age of 37. Little did I know at that time, working with Senior Games athletes would be the highlight of my career.
I had worked with college and professional athletes in the media relations field, but few of those high profile athletes showed the appreciation and gratitude offered by athletes age 50 and over.
As the years progressed, I got to know the athletes and spent time with them in their own element at the pool, the track, the tennis courts, the cycling and golf courses, the bowling alley, the archery range, you name it, I was there.
I heard their stories. I listened to their accomplishments both on the field of play and in life. I heard about their professional lives, their family lives and what they’re doing now that they have retired and their children are grown.
I hit the big 5-0 in 2012, and despite my full head of gray hair, I didn’t embrace the Florida Senior Games fully until the 2016 Capital City Senior Games. Want to know why?
After the 2015 Games, I heard the stories and accomplishments of several of my friends, acquaintances, and professional counterparts who had competed. As I’ve heard many times before, I thought to myself, “If they can do it, so can I.”
On Thursday, March 10, there I was at Gaither Gym, checking in at the bag toss event, with Tallahassee’s own Senior Games Rock Star, Bob Keller, throwing bean bags at a piece of plywood 24 feet away with hole near the top.
Little did I know that women dominate this event. Of the 30 competitors, probably 25 were women. Bag Toss was great fun and after a first game loss in our round robin tournament, I figured out the logistics of the game. The bags soon began dropping in the hole with more frequency.
One of the competitors was a friend of Carol “Zippy” Wartenberg, possibly the most outgoing and engaging senior athlete in Tallahassee. Zippy’s friend is a slow-pitch softball pitcher and is quite accurate at dropping an object, whether it be a softball or bag full of beans into a certain area.
On Friday, March 11, I joined a group of bowlers for an afternoon at Capital Lanes. The competition and camaraderie were unmatched.
We cheered each other on throughout the afternoon as we rolled strikes. We good-naturedly heckled each other over our form, or lack thereof, as we narrowly missed picking up a pin or two for a spare. We swapped stories about what was aching after spending nearly five hours hurling a ball weighing 10 pounds or more down the lane roughly 50 to 60 times.
I followed the most experienced female bowler of singles competition, Sam Butler, a gold medalist, in the 75-79 age group. There are few things more intimidating than watching her roll a strike and then have her point at me, and say, “Now it’s your turn.”
At least four hours into the day of bowling, there again was Bob Keller, the Rock Star, pairing up for mixed doubles with Sheila Salyer. He had just wrapped up a game totaling more than 150.
“I used to average 180,” Keller said after my compliment on his 150 this far into the day.
In the Florida Senior Games program, it’s not about trying to match the accomplishments we were once able to achieve. It’s about what we can do now as athletes over age 50.
In my younger days, I used to be able to make a throw from deep in the outfield to home plate. Now when I pick up a baseball in the outfield and turn to make the throw, I start looking for the cutoff man at the edge of the infield.
It’s about finding an activity to keep us active and achieve our personal best at this point in our lives. In 2016, I earned a gold medal and two silver medals. That was my reward for getting out and participating in bowling and bag toss, along with two afternoons of the fun and camaraderie of the Senior Games.
The Games will return in the spring of 2017 and I’ve got my eye on the Myers Park Pool and diving in with a new group of athletes. Who’s with me?
Elder Affairs Names Tallahassee First Dementia Caring Community
By Audrey Byrne, Communications Coordinator
On April 7, Elder Affairs Secretary Sam Verghese announced Leon County and the City of Tallahassee as the first Dementia Caring Community in Florida through the Department’s Dementia Care and Cure Initiative.
Pictured, from left, Verghese, Commissioner Gil Ziffer, his wife Gail Stansbury-Ziffer, and Senior Services Manager Sheila Salyer celebrate the new partnership that will serve caregivers and loved ones. Senior Services will work closely with local aging partners to raise awareness of services and support for those affected by this disease.
“Being the first Dementia Caring Community demonstrates the City’s and County’s commitment to working together to address some of the major challenges faced by Tallahassee’s aging population," Ziffer said.
Our Community is "Breaking Down Barriers"
By Debbie Moroney, ACSW, CEO, Alzheimer's Project, Inc.
On March 29, over 100 people gathered at the Senior Center to watch an award-winning film, "Glen Campbell, I'll Be Me," about the entertainer’s diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and his poignant farewell tour. After the movie, a local panel of experts, moderated by City Commissioner Gil Ziffer provided information about services available in the community and answered questions. The showing of the film was timely as the City of Tallahassee and Leon County Commission's recently passed resolutions to make our communities Dementia Friendly.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, every 66 seconds, someone in America is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The impacts to each family varies, and the progression of the disease is unique to each individual. Glen Campbell's family provided insight into the ups and downs of coping with this devastating disease. Family members often become the primary caregivers. The impacts to caregivers are emotional and financial. They watch their loved one slip into a world hidden from them and pay out of pocket to cover medical and if needed institutional care.
Commissioner Ziffer shared personal observations of his friendship with Sandy Halperin, a local dentist diagnosed with the disease. "Don't ask someone with Alzheimer's disease how they are doing, it's the last question they want to answer." Florida has the second highest incident rate in the country with 510,000 people being diagnosed with the disease. As a community we can reach out to support both the individual diagnosed and the caregiver. Local assistance is available; call the Alzheimer's Project at (850) 386-2778 or visit www.alzheimersproject.org.