When people walk through the doors of the Lions Club Park Senior Center, the staff knows them by name. They also know how to say “good morning” to seniors who are from various parts of the world in their native language.

“We’re the best-kept secret in Killeen,” said Debbie Edwards, senior center manager.

When residents join the center, they gain access to the Lions Club facility and the Bob Gilmore Senior Center, both of which provide a wide array of activities to peak the interest of all seniors.

The centers offer art and pottery classes, exercise classes, computer classes, scrapbooking, dance classes, yoga and tai chi, and knitting and crocheting. There’s something for everyone.

“When seniors come through the front door, they leave their status, they leave their infirmities and all their hang-ups at the door,” Edwards said. “We’re here to have a good time, that’s it.”

The centers also host games from dominos and bridge to pinochle and bingo. They have weekly billiards tournaments, and are equipped with a fitness room and a library for people who just want to sit in a quiet place and read a book.

“All these things keep seniors busy

and active in life,” Edwards said. “The most wonderful compliment we receive is that this doesn’t feel like a senior center. We don’t want it to feel like a senior center. Seniors are still active and participating in life. We’re still having fun.”

In April, Edwards said more than 4,200 seniors went through the Lions Club center doors.

“As a person ages, they have to re-direct their life. Once a person retires, they feel they have to find meaning,” she said. “The healthiest ones are those who get out of the house and get active whether they’re volunteering or participating.”

Edwards said the elderly have a crucial purpose, and that’s to be an example to youth — showing them how to live their lives up until their last breaths.

“We don’t age here,” she said. “Your body can physically age, but don’t let your spirit age. When you stop participating in life, that’s when you become old.”

The Lions Club Park Senior Center, 1700-B E. Stan Schlueter Loop, is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Tuesdays, the center stays open until 9:30 p.m. Joining the center is free; the only requirement is that a person be 55 or older. Call 254-501-6399.

The Bob Gilmore Senior Center, 2205 E. Veterans Memorial Blvd., is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 254-699-1717.

Contact Natalie Stewart at nstewart@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7555

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