Center in the Park, located at 5818 Germantown Ave., was filled with laughter as lovers gathered to celebrate Valentine’s Day at Love Café. Senior citizens from the community celebrated their love for life at the annual event.
A heart-shaped balloon greeted the senior citizens at the door, setting the tone of the festivities that lay ahead. As the start of the event drew near, individuals were eager to engage in an afternoon of fun and live entertainment.
Brannon Johnson, program director of Center in the Park, started the tradition of the Love Café in 2008. Johnson still remembers the foundation of the anticipated event.
“It felt more like a program I was putting on for them,” said Johnson. “It was like I was getting the guitarist together, I was getting the poets together. I was emceeing. Now they just do it all.”
The entertainment for the Love Café featured familiar faces. Senior citizens registered in the guitar and poetry class offered at the center produce content for the social gatherings held throughout the year.
Gerald Parker, a member for the Center in the Park for eight years, said he enjoys playing with the other guitarists at the center. “When they come up with the program, they try to integrate the activities of the students of the different classes,” said Parker. “And we’re more than happy to show off what we learned or didn’t learn, he said jokingly.
Providing an environment where senior citizens can learn to perfect a craft is the main objective of Center in the Park.
Sarah Jamison, a new comer to the center said she has enjoyed being as a new member of the center’s poetry and exercise classes. “I’m 60-years-old and I’m proud to be 60. We need to be proud no matter what age they are,” said Jamison. “I love coming to functions like this to encourage others. It’s a twofold. I’m encouraging them and their encouraging me back.”
While Valentine’s Day is often associated with the love of a significant other, the poems and music selections throughout the afternoon highlighted the love of a community.
As the seniors gathered, to laugh over pudding cup refreshments, memories of the past were remembered and discussed. The memories of love continued to appear despite the past that was no longer near.
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