1015 North Congress, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 734-483-5014

Intergenerational storytelling – how being “Homebound” affects us all

An original podcast featuring conversation and stories between one of our cultures most under-utilized natural resources…our elders, and our culture’s juniors, those in search of their own chairs, young folks whose own stories are just beginning!  This intergenerational conversation is part of the activities of the Ypsilanti Senior Center.

Limelight, LLC, a Michigan-based theatre consulting company founded by Jessica “Decky” Alexander, will be releasing the first episode of a new podcast entitled, Homebound: A Dialogue for the Ages on November 9, 2020. The podcast, a collaboration between Limelight, the Ypsilanti Senior Center through its Intergenerational Partnership and Generations United, features conversation and stories shared between our culture’s elders and youth. Homebound: A Dialogue for the Ages will be available for streaming on a variety of platforms with new episodes released every Monday. A teaser for the first episode can be heard here.

In the new reality of COVID 19, older adults are more than likely confined to single space,
housebound, less able to socialize or move with ease (and without fear of infection) throughout
the community or neighborhood. Young adults have begun to experience similar isolation, many
of them for the first time. With Homebound , Limelight celebrates the impact of intergenerational
interaction as members of both generations confront the “new normal” together in conversation,
seek solutions through sharing their stories, and sometimes find common ground.

New episodes of Homebound will be available every Monday starting November 9, and can be
streamed from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Stitcher among
other streaming services. More information can be found on the Limelight website,
www.limelightlive.org/homebound. Homebound is mixed and produced by Eric Minni,
conceptualized and directed by Decky Alexander, and supported by the production team Tyler
Calhoun and Catherine Coffey-Burns.

Call for Volunteers!

The Ypsilanti Senior Center recently became an officially recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization.  As such, we have the great opportunity to raise funds to both continue and expand the work that we do as a community-based organization to support and enhance the lives of local families—particularly older adults.  The Ypsilanti Senior Center’s mission is to create great experiences for older adults in a welcoming environment that encourages learning, active engagement, fitness and healthy living, and this focus is even more important today. Though the doors of the Senior Center building remain closed during this current pandemic, we are working harder than ever behind the scenes (and from the parking lot) to continue to provide essential services that help keep our community healthy, informed, and connected.

Join the volunteer team and help us reach more seniors with services!  The Senior Center is supported by a fun group of old, young, and differently-abled folks who all want to make life easier for our city’s seniors. Do you have some fantastic fundraising ideas? We can use you. Do you love social media and are always in the know? We can use you. Got some time to put some retired expertise to work? We definitely can use you.

Here are the specifics on how you can help:

With the establishment of the 501(c)3 organization, the board and staff of the Ypsilanti Senior Center are striving to personalize and professionalize the marketing communication and fundraising efforts of the Senior Center in order to drive awareness of services, connect with seniors who need assistance, and secure renewable funding.  The board and staff have finalized a brand image (logo package, letterhead, etc.) and brand mission statement, as well as have created a new WordPress website; however, we need assistance with the creation and execution of marketing collateral and fundraising.  Overall, our goal is to increase the Senior Center’s fundraising capacity as well as replace income that normally would have accrued from facilities rentals to expand who we serve and what we provide.

We are seeking people who can:

  • Lead or contribute to the development and launch of direct fundraising campaigns, including letter, phone, and email campaigns. Help us reach those who can support seniors!
  • Lead or contribute to the development and launch of fundraising events. The Senior Center has traditionally run 3-4 community-building events that have a fundraising component; however, we are seeking to expand and differentiate these events. Help us create exciting, fun events that provide substantial income to allow the Senior Center to expand its services!
  • Research and write grants that will support the current operation and activities of the Senior Center. Help us find those resources out there that already exist!

To join us, please contact:

Monica Prince, Executive Director

We are incredibly excited about the future and the opportunities that await! We hope you will consider joining us on this journey.

Quilt Raffle!

2020 Quilt #1It’s Quilt Raffle time again! Every year, our group of expert quilters volunteer their time to create beautiful quilts for us to raffle.  This year, with COVID-19 shutting the building, the Going to Pieces Gang was unable to finish the joint quilt.  However, we’re delighted to say that one of the members came to the rescue with a beautiful quilt that he had made just for fun, which you can see here!

In all, there will be three quilts raffled. Tickets are $5 for one or $10 for three ($30 for all 10 tickets). For every ticket you buy, there are three chances to win! The winning tickets will be drawn on Sunday, August 30 from 3-5pm at the Ypsilanti Senior Center, and will be shown live on our Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/ypsiseniorcenter.  If the weather cooperates, we will hold the raffle on the patio of the senior center, so you can come and social distance in the park.  We hope to have a few speakers from 3-4, and we will be selling last-minute tickets at that time.  We will then pick the names at 4pm.

The funds we raise during the Quilt Raffle help support the center in the following ways:

  • Replace funds lost due to COVID-19 & social distancing regulations
  • Provide low cost meals to our community seniors
  • Offer affordable classes in arts, crafts, exercise and more
  • Providing a large meeting place for all types of community groups
  • Support all the new programs we are offering
  • And much, much more!

To obtain tickets, contact ypsilantiseniors@gmail.com, and we will mail you a set of tickets!  If you’re just interested in supporting the Senior Center with a donation, please visit our Donate and Support page where you can give a gift via PayPal.  Thank you for your support!



Ypsilanti Senior Center Featured in Concentrate

Concentrate’s On The Ground Ypsilanti interviewed Monica Prince regarding the meals and activities the center is running through COVID-19.  Read the full piece here!



Virtual Cooking Classes!

Learn to make new, tasty recipes via virtual cooking classes offered through the Ypsilanti Senior Center!  Join Chef Jeff as he creates easy-to-make dishes you can try in your own home.  Set up your phone or laptop in the kitchen, and start cooking!

This month’s recipe was Michigan Cherry Chili.  Download the recipe here, and watch Chef Jeff’s YouTube video to learn how to put it together!

Michigan Cherry Chili

Board member Robinson-Lane Discusses Care Facilities

Sheria Robinson-Lane, a member of the board of directors of the Ypsilanti Senior Center, is a gerontologist and assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.  Dr. Robinson-Lane recently sat down with Minnesota Public Radio to discuss what care facilities might look like after COVID-19.  You can listen to her interview here.

Dr. Robinson-Lane also talked with Michigan Medicine about the effect of the pandemic on nursing homes, providing a variety of questions to review when considering a loved one’s care needs.  You can read her interview here.

Help the Senior Center Provide Meals and Programming During COVID-19!

The Ypsilanti Senior Center may have closed its doors temporarily due to COVID-19, but services are still being provided! The staff and volunteers are still hard at work making during that there are lunches and wellness check-ins for seniors during this time.  If you want to connect with the Center staff for these, please give us a call on 734-483-5014!

The Senior Center is run by an independent 501c3 nonprofit that funds all of its payroll and activities through donations, grants, and rentals. However, spring and summer are the busiest seasons for rental of the building, meaning that the Senior Center is losing significant income to cover operational and program costs at the same time it is providing this aid. Therefore we have launched a GoFundMe Charity campaign to help the Center continue to support seniors!  Can you give a gift to help keep the Center running and providing these critical services, and can you forward this campaign to spread the word?  See the campaign on https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/help-the-ypsi-senior-center-during-covid19.  Thank you for your support!!

April 2020 – From the Director

Hope you are all well and taking care of yourself. Make sure you stay home. If you need to go out wear a mask and gloves and stay 6 feet away from other people. In the April 2020 newsletter, I attached a flyer about different ways to make masks for your safety. It is very tempting with the weather changes to want to get out and see friends and family, but don’t. This is a great time to call or video call your family. I have spent more time with my family, who live all over the country, through an app called “Houseparty.” Through it, we can all be on a video call together. I know there are other apps that can connect us.  In the newsletter, I have also added a flyer which we received from AAA1B that give curbside/delivery options to getting what you need from stores.

The Ypsi Senior Center board and I have decided to keep the center closed through May 31st. We think this will be the safest for all involved. We are still offering key services during this time.  I am here Monday through Friday to help you out any way we can. We are following safety guidelines that have been established by the County Health Department. We have available frozen meals that can be picked up once a week. This is part of our lunch program. We can add new people to the program. I have paperwork work for the program. Either call or email me to get signed up for the program. After you sign up the meals can be picked up on Mondays from 11-2. Please wear a mask and keep a safe distance from others. If you would like you can call when you have arrived and a volunteer can bring the food to your car.

There are so many things we are doing differently at this time. WCC is offering online free classes in April. You can get access to them through this link: https://www.wccnet.edu/learn/our-offerings/webinars-campaign.php.  They are also going to hold all their spring/summer emeritus classes online. We will know within the next couple of weeks how to register for these classes. So, if you are interested in Mark’s, Liz’s or Dee’s classes, email me so I can get the registration information to you. I will also post it on our website and Facebook when it comes in.

I have continued my work on the intergenerational project. We are working on a couple of projects with students from EMU. Everyone has a story to tell. Starting soon we would like to pair seniors up with students to do collaborative story telling. This can be done over the phone or computer. Through this program you will be able to learn how to tell that story about your history, an incident that you lived through or how you are doing right now. You will need to email or call to sign up for it.

Another thing we are working on is purchasing restored laptops from EMU’s Digital Inclusion that can be lent out to seniors that want to stay connected. The EMU students are working on developing online tech help to instruct those interested on how to use the devise. This will help keep you connected and entertained.

The third thing we are looking at is starting an intergenerational Spanish class. It will be taught by an EMU professor and be offered online until we can meet again. Contact me if you’re interested.

Keep in touch and let us know how the Senior Center can help.

No in-person activities due to COVID-19

The Ypsilanti Senior Center is currently closed for in-person activities due to actions taken in relation to COVID-19.  See the notice from the Center below and in PDF.  Updates will be posted here as the situation evolves.  If you have any questions or concerns, especially with regard to receipt of meals that had been provided by the meal program, contact the Center via phone during its normal business hours to reach a staff member. 

Ypsilanti Senior Center Update – COVID-19 Preparedness

In light of Gov. Whitmer’s March 10, 2020 declared State of Emergency and related concerns over the spread of coronavirus (COVID 19) in Michigan, the Ypsilanti Senior Center’s Board of Directors has adopted the following protocol to protect the health and safety of program participants, employees, volunteers, and community members. The Ypsilanti Senior Center will continue to monitor and take guidance from federal, state, and local health organizations, including the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, and the Washtenaw County Health Department.

Stage 1: Heightened Awareness

  • Current health department guidelines will be prominently displayed;
  • Individuals at the Ypsilanti Senior Center will be reminded that handwashing is critically important to preventing the spread of illness. Hand sanitizer will be readily available for frequent use;
  • Extra diligence will be used to disinfect objects/surfaces which may harbor the virus by staff and volunteers;
  • Employees/volunteers feeling sick will be directed to stay home;
  • Visitors displaying symptoms will be asked not to visit the Ypsilanti Senior Center;
  • Frequency of current cleaning protocols will be increased;
  • Additional signage to encourage users to practice healthy personal hygiene habits.

Stage 2: Limited Closure

  • Only programs deemed to be essential will take place (i.e. nutrition/meal program);
  • Only essential employees/volunteers will be permitted at the Ypsilanti Senior Center;
  • Ypsilanti Senior Center will take all reasonable steps to fulfill essential program needs while simultaneously minimizing contact with potentially-infected individuals (i.e. providing meals to be picked up/delivered);
  • Above Stage 1 protocol will be followed.

Stage 3: Complete Closure (currently in effect)

  • All Ypsilanti Senior Center programs/events will be indefinitely suspended;
  • All Ypsilanti Senior Center employees will be directed to work from home.

Stage 3 is currently in effect. The stage currently in effect will be published on our website www.ypsiseniorcenter.org. Please check the website before visiting the Center.

In addition to our efforts, there are steps you can take to help keep you and the Senior Center safe:

  • Stay home if you feel sick. The best thing for you and for others is to stay home.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and immediately throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands by washing or with sanitizer.
  • Consider alternatives to shaking hands for greetings

The Ypsilanti Senior Center is committed to keeping all those affected by the State of Emergency fully informed. The Ypsilanti Senior Center will start development of a phone-tree system so that members of our community can be quickly informed of any developments.

Thank you in advance for your patience, understanding, and cooperation during this stressful situation. Please do not hesitate to contact the Ypsilanti Senior Center with any questions or concerns. Like “Ypsilanti Senior Center” on Facebook for updates on the Senior Center’s status.

Other Resources

This situation may change quickly. Ypsilanti Senior Center Staff & Board of Directors are continually monitoring the situation with local agency partners. We are committed to sharing new information as it becomes available. Please refer to the following websites for the most current information:

Washtenaw County Health Department Updates

How to be Prepared for Coronavirus Fact Sheet

COVID-19 What you Need to Know Fact Sheet

COVID-19 Map

CDC Flu Estimates

Guidelines for Volunteers Assisting the Center during COVID-19

On March 23, 2020, Governor Whitmer of Michigan issued an Executive Order (EO) requiring all businesses to refrain from requiring workers to leave their homes except to the extent that a worker is necessary to “sustain or protect life” or “to conduct minimum basic operations” at the business.  Additionally, the EO allows individuals to “work or volunteer for businesses or operations (including both and religious and secular nonprofit organizations) that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals, individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency, and people with disabilities.” The current EO remains effective through April 30, 2020.

The food and agricultural industries have been designated an essential service so the people who provide that service are essential. The EO allows businesses/organizations to designate specific volunteers to carry out these minimum basic operations.  Volunteers who have been designated by the nonprofit Ypsilanti Senior Center as individuals who are essential to food service and food delivery for the Ypsilanti Senior Center are part of this group. 

Volunteers should remember that while they are conducting these minimum basic operations, they should abide by the EO’s requirement to continue practicing “social distancing” and other mitigation measures recommended by the State and CDC.  The pertinent section of the EO that outlines these measures is as follows:

(1) Restricting the number of workers present on premises to no more than is strictly necessary to perform the business’s or operation’s critical infrastructure functions.

(2) Promoting remote work to the fullest extent possible.

(3) Keeping workers and patrons who are on premises at least six feet from one another to the maximum extent possible, including for customers who are standing in line.

(4) Increasing standards of facility cleaning and disinfection to limit worker and patron exposure to COVID-19, as well as adopting protocols to clean and disinfect in the event of a positive COVID-19 case in the workplace.

(5) Adopting policies to prevent workers from entering the premises if they display respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person who is known or suspected to have COVID-19.

(6) Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Should volunteers have any questions regarding duties during this time, or obligations to ensure that the above mitigation measures are being followed in the performance of duties, please contact Monica Prince.

Thank you for your continued support during these challenging times.