Community center at St. Athanasius has something to please everyone
Gina Mazza | Jun 6, 2012, 11:25 p.m.
Bridge, basket weaving, floral arranging, Irish Ceili dancing, wine tasting, sewing and beading, conversational Spanish, email for seniors, first aid certification, introduction to American classical music, Zumba . . . what don’t seniors do over at the St. Athanasius Parish Education and Community Center (SAPECC) in West View?
When St. Athanasius School closed and the parish underwent an “assessment and renewal” process in 2010, the results showed that parishioners wanted to transform the school building into a vibrant community center. “We wanted to provide opportunities to enhance the quality of life for the young and old as a gathering place, while promoting involvement and fellowship,” says coordinator Patrice Mikec. “Many volunteers came forward to help with everything from moving furnishings and cleaning the building to teaching classes and much more.”
The doors to SAPECC opened in September 2011 for parishioners and members of the surrounding community. Almost immediately, volunteers started pitching in to offer classes.
Benedictine Sister Donna Wojtyna was one of the first to do so by offering instruction in basket weaving and wood carving. With a degree in art education and studies in fine arts and sculpture, Sister Donna began teaching herself how to weave baskets in 1980. Her artisanship has since earned much recognition; in fact, her unique works are currently being featured at Shizen, an artists’ gallery on South Highland Avenue in Shadyside. “She certainly is an asset to the programs at the SAPECC and is very generous with her time and talent,” Patrice comments.
The Needle Threaders sewing group is another active group at SAPECC. The group makes items for sale to help support the center’s operation, as well as teaching classes for both adults and children. “Women of all ages have found this group to be a place for ministry work, project work and socialization,” Patrice says. “Our sewing group is an inviting place for women to feel part of an already established group.”
Here’s a short list of some of the many activities and amenities offered through SAPECC.
Art group: Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Attendees create beautiful artwork and interact with other artists who are invited to the group to share their knowledge.
APPRISE Open Enrollment event: APPRISE representatives are on hand to answer questions about Medicare and supplemental health insurance, and provide tips for easy enrollment. Counselors are available to review an individual’s current insurance plan and talk about options for medical and prescription drug coverage.
Book club and walking club: These two clubs are currently being formulated.
Bridge group: Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m.
Children’s programs: Little Angels program for children birth through four years old and their caretaker is offered once a week for three six-week sessions. The free program includes a half hour of structured instructional time followed by an hour of independent playtime in our center’s children’s room and gym.
Coffee shop: Includes a vending coffee machine, free tea, a TV with VCR and DVD, a stereo for music and eight computers with Internet access. The space has dining room tables and chairs, love seats and a couch that provide a cozy, comfortable atmosphere.