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Senior Center Board elects three new members as fundraising efforts ramp up

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New Board Members Mildred Wood (left), Mary West (center), and Jan Kramer (right) were elected Friday to the Olequa Senior Center Advisory Board as the board is renewing their efforts to engage the local community in fundraising efforts.

Patrons of the Olequa Senior Center, in Winlock, have elected three new members to their Advisory Board amid efforts to reinvigorate the center's role in the community.

Chosen during the annual general meeting of the board, area residents Mary West, Jan Kramer and Mildred Wood were elected to fill three vacant positions on the 10-person board, which meets regularly to coordinate fundraising efforts for the center.

Glenda Forga, coordinator for Lewis County's Senior Center Programs, was able to attend the meeting and explained the Advisory Board was originally created, both for Winlock and all other senior centers throughout the county, in an effort to satisfy concerns from the state to prevent possible conflicts of interest regarding fundraising.

"A lot of things have happened around here through the years through the board," said Forga of the activities made possible by the funds the board raises, such as the addition of a kitchen facility at the site, completed in 2003. "We've got a really good deal going on here."

Forga did clarify the Advisory Board is not necessarily in a position to direct senior center policy and management, as these responsibilities are in the hands of Lewis County Commissioners and Site Leader Karen Von Seggern. But she did state the board's role remains significant when it comes to helping select the center's enrichment programs and how to fund them.

"This board, and [Von Seggern], are designed for you guys to work cohesively," she said.

Among the recent efforts undertaken by members of the board has been to restore their 501(c)3 tax status, with Board President JoAnn Porter stating she is grateful to local accountant Viola Chickese for serving as treasurer temporarily and resorting the board's tax-exempt status.

"This is not unusual for some non-profits, when you're run by volunteers," she said of the lapse in 501(c)3 status, stating the board will simply have to continue filing for renewal each year to stay current.

Porter also said she is hoping to establish a policy to hold board elections each year, both to provide opportunities for new leadership and to continue filling positions as they become vacant. She added documents related to operation of the board are going to be filed in such a way that new leaders will easily be able to access and utilize them in the future.

With these updates in operations for the board, they are hoping to put a strong foot forward with fundraising for this year, having already experienced success with a Valentine's Day Dinner Theater back in February.

On April 25, the center plans to renew their monthly community breakfasts, with that day also doubling as an open house. The breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. with pancakes and other items for $5, while community members are welcome to drop by and learn more about the center until 2:30 p.m. A silent auction will be taking place throughout the day, while door prizes will be given away every hour.

For more information on these and other activities at the Olequa Senior Center, visit them during their hours of operation at 119 SW Kerron St., in Winlock, or call (360) 785-4325.

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