Corey Center ‘a community inside a community’

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Eric Bach

Corey Center director Mark Jenks meets with volunteers to organize an evening euchre tournament.

HOLT — When Addie Mutch shows up to the Sam Corey Senior Center on a Wednesday morning, she gets excited knowing nearly 300 seniors will be there for their weekly lunch social.  Mutch, a resident of Holt for 50 years, is president of the senior club that organizes daily activities in the building.

“The Corey Center is a special place,” Mutch said.  “Our staff of 70 is entirely volunteers. Everyone is always so excited for Wednesday lunch, it’s like their second family.”

The Corey Center provides seniors with a wide variety of activities and socials.  There are daily exercise classes coordinated with the local YMCA, euchre and poker nights, movie screenings, book clubs, bingo and guest speakers from the community.  

“Wednesday lunch is the highlight of our week,” said Tim Cegeggi, 68, of Mason.  Cegeggi and his wife, Sue, are regulars at the Corey Center.

“When you retire, you kind of lose your contacts and become disconnected from others,” Cegeggi said.  “When we go to the center, we feel like we’re right at home. We love to meet new people, our table is always the one they send the new folks during Wednesday lunch.

“We also really like to have guest speakers in from the community, and I think those people like to come speak to us because they know they’ll have an audience that is going to listen to them and ask them questions.”

For Joanne Scott, volunteering at the Corey Center helped her overcome a personal tragedy.  Scott is the former president and current treasurer of the club, and in August of 2016, her oldest son took his life. Scott said friends she has made at the center helped her come back stronger.

“My friends from the center really helped me so much during that time,” Scott said.  “I have a small family. The nearest relative is about a 13-hour drive. These people really came together and helped me out with the funeral, and they were just there for moral support.

“I know most people that come through because I check everyone in for Wednesday lunch, so the support I received from them meant the world to me.  I am so grateful to them and the center for helping me so much.”

Mark Jenks is director of Parks & Recreation for Delhi Township and oversees the Corey Center.  

“For me, one of the biggest perks of the Corey Center is the help it gives to the families of seniors in our area,” Jenks said.  “Most of these people have adult children, and I’ve had lots of those people come and tell me that the center has really improved the outlook on life for their parents.  It helps connect these folks to their community.”

The Corey Center is owned by Delhi Township, which oversees maintenance and takes on the majority of the cost to run the building.  It was the first building constructed in the township with an LEED Certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). It features a geothermal heating and cooling system and live roof, making the building very environmentally friendly.

“It’s really a state-of-the-art building,” Jenks said.  “And the best part is, it’s a very minimal cost to seniors to use it.”

Membership costs only $1 per month.  Once members turn 90, they can use the center for free.  

For Scott, the friendships are priceless.

“We really have a special thing going here,” she said.  “I always find myself looking forward to the next event.”

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