Williams Senior Center offers fellowship, community services and more

Wiliams senior residents Jim Pettit and Thomas Duran enjoy some fellowship activities at the Williams Senior Center. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Wiliams senior residents Jim Pettit and Thomas Duran enjoy some fellowship activities at the Williams Senior Center. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Despite the blowing wind and swirling snow, there’s a lot of action going on at Williams Senior Center.

Under the direction of program coordinator Dolores Parades, the center not only hosts activities and provides meals for seniors, but also is

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Seniors enjoy a game of pool Feb. 8. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

home to numerous Coconino County and state of Arizona community services.

“We have a lot to offer, but if we can’t help we can direct people to other resources,” Paredes said.

The center is home to the Bill Williams Seniors, a group of residents who gather to enjoy fellowship, eat nutritious meals and fundraise for the community.

“It’s not just about a nutritious meal, it’s about getting out and coming in and talking to people their own age,” Paredes said. “We don’t want people sitting at home on the couch alone, we do nutrition classes, exercise classes and field trips.”

Parades said the group recently built a horseshoe pit and are going to start playing bocce ball.

Wii Bowling, 8-ball pool, Harkins Theatre trips and shopping in Flagstaff are also some of the activities organized by the Bill Williams Seniors.

The 40 member group meets monthly for activities and to discuss fundraising ideas. The group donates money raised by the Senior Center Thrift Store to civic groups in Williams.

“The winter is a little cold, our numbers are always down in the winter,” she said. “We actually discourage them from

coming in when it’s this cold since many are walking here.”

Paredes also is in charge of the Meals on Wheels program in Williams.

“Right now our Meals on Wheels serves about 22 people,” she said. “We also have about 25 people coming in for lunch in wither. We give them a hot meal at noon and they can come talk to people their own age.”

The center has a medical shuttle that takes people to Flagstaff for doctor appointments. If there is room, the van often takes seniors shopping or to run errands.

The Senior Center Thrift Store not only raises money for community groups but also has items they can donate to those in need. The thrift store is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. most days and is always seeking donations.

“We are always looking for clothing and household items in good condition,” Paredes said. “We don’t really have room for large furniture or appliances.”

The senior center is also hosting the AARP, which is offering free tax preparation assistance. The group will be at the center every Wednesday.

The Williams Senior Center is funded by Northern Arizona Council of Governments, Coconino County, the city of Williams and other organizations. More information about Senior Center activities can be found by calling Paredes at (928) 220-5625.

State and county services

The Williams Senior Center also is the location for many state and county programs.

For pregnant women, mothers and young children, the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program has an office in Williams. They are open every Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The WIC program provides nutrition education and breastfeeding support services, supplemental nutritious foods and referrals to health and social services. WIC serves pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women; infants; and children under the age of five. They provide nutrition education, breastfeeding support, referrals to health care and healthy foods.

Coconino County Community Services also has an office in the building where employees can help residents with various services, including utility and rental assistance.

Community Services is also offering Financial Literacy workshops to the community. These workshops provide financial coaching and debt management for the community.

“All of our case workers are certified as financial coaches,” said Ashli Bintz, Lead Case Worker for Community Services.

Bintz said the class is beneficial for many people and covers the basics of credit, income and income to debt ratios and provides tools to pay off debt. The class is 2.5 hours and is free for the community. It is required for community services clients.

Community services is offering a new program for seniors where they can apply once in a five year period for $800 in utility assistance. This covers electric, gas, propane and firewood.

For future business owners or current business owners, Coconino County Community Services is offering a Basic Business Empowerment Course. The 12-week, 36-hour course helps entrepreneurs assess the feasibility of their business ideas and assists existing owners to stabilize and grow small businesses. The next class will begin tentatively in May. The course fee is $125, with scholarships available.

Currently the community services office is open Tuesdays and Thursdays all day. Customers are encouraged to call ahead for an appointment. More information about rental and utility assistance and other services offered is available by calling (928) 649-7453.

Paredes said the center also can provide people with information regarding other community services such as the Salvation Army, St. Vince de Paul, the VFW and Knights of Columbus and more.

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