Center in the Park celebrated its 45th anniversary Thursday night with a mixture of jazz and line dancing to thank nearly 200 of its members.
Brannon Johnson, the program director at Center in the Park, said it was important to celebrate the people behind the scenes as the facility remembered nearly half a century of success.
“I think Center in the Park has really become a cornerstone in the community,” said Johnson.
Center in the Park, located in the heart of Vernon Park at Germantown and Chelten avenues, offers services like classes in the arts and fitness and has particularly benefited local seniors.
“It’s important to have a gathering place – a home outside of your home – where you can come and socialize and be around other people who are like you going through similar experiences of aging,” said Marie-Monique Marthol-Clark, who has been the center’s health promotion coordinator for the last five years.
“This is part of my social life,” said Martha Lambert, a member who enjoys the center’s tap dance and guitar programs.
“My social calendar is filled up with AARP stuff and Center in the Park stuff.”
Robert Bailey, 74, said he participates in classes on history, stress and first aid. The 20-year member said more community residents could benefit by becoming members. “A lot of people that live around here don’t know this place exists,” said Bailey.