What's New at the Senior Center: Haitian History Talk

A weekly look at the Needham COA's new and upcoming events and programs.

Submitted by Sherry Jackson, Associate Director

The Rev. Sandra Dorsainvil will offer an engaging talk and presentation about Haitian history and culture on Monday, May 21 at the . She is the pastor at The First Baptist Church of Sharon and is the third woman to be called in the church’s 198-year history.

In addition to her pastoral ministry degree from Boston College, Dorsainvil holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Boston University. Her passion for mission work was ignited during the sixteen years she lived in various African countries with her family in the 1960s and 1970s. She has led several mission trips nationally to Oklahoma and internationally to Haiti and Peru.

This presentation and luncheon will be held at 11:30 a.m. All are welcome to attend. There is no fee, but registration is required; call the Senior Center at 781-455-7555.


Join the Friends of the Needham Elderly on Wednesday, May 23 on a tour of magnificent estates, gardens and the historic waterfront of Bristol, RI, plus a luncheon at the Atlantic Beach Club.

Discover Blithewood Mansion, a majestic English Style Manor with one of the finest garden estates in New England on a self-guided tour. Explore the history and delights of the Great House and Estate of Linden Plane on the guided tour.  Enjoy a special guided adventure of Bristol, RI, America's most patriotic town, highlighting historic waterfront, downtown, Colt Park and more. Plus, a delicious luncheon at the Atlantic Beach Club—all inclusive for only $72 including tips.

The bus will depart at 9 a.m. from Linden and Chambers St. and at 9.15 a.m. from the Senior Center. Approximate return will be around 6:30-6:45 p.m.

For reservations, cal the Friends trip desk at 781-455-7555 ext. 209. 

The trip requires 30 passengers to operate, so tell your friends and book now—sure to be popular. Secure your seat today with full payment, payable to "FONE," Needham Senior Center, 83 Pickering St., Needham, MA 02492, ATTN: Trips.


On Wednesday, June 20, The Friends of the Needham Elderly will take a trip to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Gardens Guided Tour, with lunch at the Venezia on the Waterfront in Boston. Cost is $65 including tips.


These programs are going on this week at the or require registration this week. To sign up, call the Senior Center at 781-455-7555.

  • Weekly Flicks—Watch "The Artist" (2011) on Friday, May 18 and “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) on Friday, May 25 at 1 p.m. at the Senior Center. This is free, and there is no sign-up required. 
  • Monday’s Lunch Bunch—Try someplace new, socialize and enjoy a good meal with Monday's Lunch Bunch. The group meets at the Senior Center at 11:30 a.m. to board a van to the lunch destination. Coming up: A trip to One Bistro in Norwood on Monday, May 21 and a trip to Bamboo in Dedham on Monday, June 4. A suggested donation of $5 will be collected on the van. Participants also pay the cost of their meals.
  • Book Review with Gail Rice—Monday, May 21, 1 p.m. Come discuss the book, “Clara and Mr. Tiffany,” by Susan Vreeland. This novel is based on the letters of Clara Driscoll, the leading light of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s women’s studio. Driscoll was a designer who loved working with stained glass. Until recently, it was assumed that Louis Tiffany was the designer of the celebrated lampshades, but it was actually Driscoll who designed the floral shades as well as many of the bronze bases. Besides her professional life and her relationship with Tiffany, the novel goes on to interpret Driscoll’s personal life, her loves and losses, triumphs and her startling decisions. There is no sign-up or fee for this event.
  • Shred-A-Thon by Appointment—Looking to get rid of old papers but don’t just want to toss them in the trash? The Senior Center will host a shred-a-thon in the parking lot on Thursday, May 24 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Call to schedule a drop-off appointment. The first box of paper to be shredded is free; each additional box costs $5.


Are you fed up with your increasing weight? Do you reach for food when you’re bored, tired, stressed, or anxious, instead of when you’re hungry? This program will teach you how to make doable lifestyle changes to achieve your weight-loss goals. The five-week support group will be led by Pearl Pressman, a Certified Weight Management Consultant, who has lost more than 100 pounds. Pressman is a member of the National Weight Loss Registry and has worked as a Weight Watchers group leader. Sessions will be held on Mondays beginning May 21 from 12:45-1:45 p.m. Cost is $20, due at the first class. To sign up, call the Needham Senior Center at 781-455-7555.


  • Lunch and Learn Lecture “Meditation Techniques for Beginners”—Wednesday, May 30, noon, at the Senior Center. Mary Jo Ricketson, BS, MS, will lead this lecture in honor of National Meditation Month. Learn how to begin and sustain a meditation practice that will allow you to experience many benefits including deep restful sleep, reduced stress, increased energy, decreased heart rate, breathing rate, muscle tension, and blood pressure. There is no fee for this program. Sign-up is required. Call 781-455-7555.
  • Art Class for All Levels—Mondays, June 4 and 25, 9-10:30 a.m. at the Senior Center. Students should bring their own materials and ideas for projects. Each student will work on projects of their own choosing with guidance and suggestions from the instructor. All levels are welcome. Ramune Jauniskis, longtime watercolor teacher at the Stephen Palmer Senior Center, is currently teaching art in Belmont, Brookline, Needham, and Wellesley. She is a teacher and craftsman selling her work in local stores and on the Cape as well. To sign up, contact Sherry at 781-455-7555. Fee is $8 for both classes.


Get fit and learn something new with Council on Aging dance and exercise classes. Sign up in advance by calling 781-455-7555. Payment is due at the first class.

  • Line Dancing Class—This five-week course will be held on Mondays, beginning May 21, from 12-1 p.m. at . Cost is $20. Instructor is Manny Correia.
  • Senior Strength Exercise Class—This five-week course will be held on Mondays, beginning May 21, at 10:15 a.m. at the Senior Center. Cost is $20. Instructor is Pearl Pressman.
  • Ballroom Dancing: “Swing”—This four-week class will be held on Tuesdays, beginning June 5, at 2 p.m. at the on Chestnut Street. Cost is $16. Instructor is Betty Hood.Please wear shoes that allow movement on a wood floor—not rubber soles.
  • Zumba—This four-week class will be held on Thursdays, beginning June 7, at 10 a.m. at . Discover Zumba, an exciting dance-fitness program that’s more of a party than a workout. Enjoy Latin-inspired music as you pump your legs, swing your hips, clap your hands—and achieve a blended balance of cardio-and muscle-toning benefits in the process. Instructor, Louise Carbone has taught at the Newton and Waltham Senior Center, the West Newton YMCA, and Lesley. Depending on interest, this class will be offered on an ongoing basis. Cost is $16. Make cash or check payable to Friends of the Needham Elderly.


Spring is in the air! Get out and get walking with these programs offered by the Council on Aging. To sign up, call Sherry at 781-455-7555.

  • The Walking Club—If you walk two to four miles, a couple of days a week, then this walking club is for you. The walks are designed to offer variety. Participants will have an opportunity to walk with other walking clubs and explore trails outside the local area, with transportation provided. Upcoming walks include: Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Friday, May 25.


  • Singers wanted—If you can read music or can carry a tune, join this new group meeting on Tuesday afternoons from 12:45-1:45 p.m. at the Senior Center. Fred Shaw will lead the group in song and will provide the lyrics to songs old and new. Shaw said that his interest in music sprang from listening to barbershop and leaning to harmonize certain tunes. Shaw has performed for a wide variety of locations and audiences; however, he may be best known for his role as "Ring Master" of the mid-1960s television show “Bozo the Clown.” No audition required. Sign up is appreciated in order to have enough song sheets for all to participate. Call the Senior Center at 781-455-7555 to sign up.
  • Low-Vision Support Group—The Low-Vision Support Group meets at the Senior Center on the third Friday of every month. The group provides an opportunity for newly blind and visually impaired persons to come together to discuss issues relating to their vision loss. The group addresses topics about how to use specialized equipment in the home or on the job; how to maintain independence, aging and vision loss, or the effects of vision loss on family and friends. If you need a ride, call the Senior Center at 781-455-7555


  • Computer Lessons—The Council on Aging offers computer lessons on Thursday afternoons by appointment. Those who would like to learn about computers in a one-on-one session with an instructor are invited to these classes. Lessons are offered on Thursdays from noon to 3 p.m. (by appointment). There is no fee for this class. To make a 45-minute appointment, call the COA at 781-455-7555.
  • Creative Writing Group—The COA writing group meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Senior Center. All are welcome, and sign-up is not required. This writing group is for all levels. The class is not about using proper grammar. It is about capturing memories or stories on paper and most of all having fun. The class is facilitated by a published writer.


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