Genoveva Perez spent some of her best years at a club by the same name at Northside Community Center on 1100 Northwest 18th St. For her, 10 years of membership has given her the opportunity to spend time with other senior residents in the area.
“We walk around, enjoy each other’s company and play all the activities as a group,” Perez said in Spanish. She has been living in Northside Fort Worth for 41 years.
Northside Community Center closed 18 months ago as it went through interior renovations. Staff members temporarily moved operations to the nearby North Tri-Ethnic Community Center on 2950 Roosevelt Ave. The temporary space made gathering in large groups challenging.
“One advantage to moving was having all the senior residents in one room and everyone got to participate in an activity,” Angelica Ramirez, Northside Community Center aid, said.
Northside Community Center officially reopened on July 25. Now, senior members are excited to reunite at their club’s original home.
“It’s so elegant now, there is so much more space,” Perez said in Spanish.
Best Years Club is one of the Northside community center’s core programs, Eric Lopez, coordinator at Northside Community Center, said. The club is free for senior residents with the purchase of a community center membership, he added.
Lopez manages and oversees operations at the community center, including programs, budgets, services, maintenance and building operations. He has been in the position for five years.
Senior residents have access to the club from 9 a.m. to noon. They participate in physical activities such as pickleball, bean bag baseball and walking around the gym.
“They’re actively moving and they’re laughing and they don’t even realize that they’re exercising,” Ramirez said.
Senior residents are also provided with wellness activities, including financial empowerment and fraud prevention.
The center also partners with Meals on Wheels to provide transportation and meals to residents.
“A lot of them are hesitant to come to a place like this, especially in the Hispanic community,” Ramirez said. “They think that they need to be at home taking care of grandkids, but this is definitely an age where they should be more appreciated and here, they get to be an individual and feel like they serve a purpose.”
With the community center reopened, Lopez hopes volunteers will come out and assist with Best Years Club and other programs.
“In a community center, with so many activities and programs going on, like we have here, it is always important to have volunteers,” Lopez said.
In the future, Lopez and Ramirez hope to start a community garden to keep the senior residents engaged.
David Moreno is a multimedia specialist fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.