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Home away from home celebrating 25 years

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Marilyn Regiec considers the Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre, at 1588 Main Street, a "hidden gem" in North End Winnipeg.

And that’s not just because she happens to be the centre’s longtime executive director.

Many others, like Sophie Shinewald — who will celebrate her 100th birthday this month—  feel the same way about the place.

"I’ve been coming to the Gwen Secter for 27 years now," said Shinewald, a grandmother and great-grandmother who lives in West Kildonan.

"I volunteer there two days a week. I do everything that’s necessary for me to do. I feel warm and comfortable there. There’s love and communication. I recommend that everyone who can should come here. They don’t know what they’re missing."

The centre, which marks its 25th anniversary this year, is a multi-purpose seniors’ centre that strives to promote the physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being of older adults, Regiec said.

The Gwen Secter Creative Living Centre was originally formed as the Golden Age Club. It began in 1949 when the National Council of Jewish Women acknowledged the need for older members of the Jewish community to continue to participate in community living. The Golden Age Club was the first drop-in senior centre in Canada.

In 1962, the group moved to its current site (a former Firestone Tire store), and also renamed the organization the GSCLC.

Regiec said the centre offers a wide range of activities including: community internet access; cultural programs; a Yiddish Reading Circle; Kosher Meals on Wheels; congregate meals; monthly foot clinics; blood pressure clinics; information and referrals; assistance filling out forms; fitness classes; computer classes; bingo; bridge and mah jongg; cribbage; and a Holocaust survivor program.

"This is a home away from home for many Jewish older adults who spend countless hours of enjoyment with old and new friends," said Elaine Stern, the centre’s program/volunteer co-ordinator. The centre is open to seniors of any cultural and faith background from throughout the city.

"It’s a place to reminisce, build new relationships and discover that life is still exciting and full of vitality even as we grow older."

Regiec added that the centre will host its Silver Anniversary celebratory dinner and social evening May 23 at 6:30 p.m. Mazel Tov!

For further information, call 204-339-1701 or email: gwensecter@shaw.ca.

Martin Zeilig is a community correspondent for the North End. You can contact him at mzeilig@mymts.net.

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