“When Burnham Brook East closed due to budget constraints in 2005 two of its members, Ione Kaiser and Beverly Bentley, said they wouldn’t let Albion seniors be without a place to call home.” (Battle Creek Enquirer, 2005)
Under the direction of Kaiser and Bentley, a local committee was organized and town hall meetings were held to gather input from senior citizens and community members throughout Albion and surrounding areas. Together they organized resources to start up a senior center to provide a social and activity center for active adults aged 50 and older.
The dream became a reality in 2005 when the Forks Senior Center opened in the Albion First United Methodist Church. Rev. Dwayne Bagley offered two large community rooms, free of charge, to house the Center. Burnham Brook donated back exercise equipment, tables and chairs. Members in the community contributed computers, printers, exercise equipment, and other items. Countless volunteers pushed up their sleeves to make it all possible. “Many people got behind us to help, and we thank them so much for that,” Kaiser said. “We would be nothing without our volunteers.”
Why The Name?
Many wonder why the name is "the Forks Senior Center"? The word "Forks" signifies the confluence of the two branches of the Kalamazoo River in Albion, specifically in the area known as Rieger Park. Albionites are proud of this fact and the word "Forks" is often used as part of the name of many things in Albion. For example, Albion has an annual festival known as the Festival of the Forks!
Today the same spirit of volunteerism is alive and well at the Forks Senior Center. The FSC operates out of the Albion Public School District Building (Crowell School) on Cooper Street in Albion (view map). Since the FSC was first established eight years ago, the organization has grown to nearly 350 members who support the Center through their membership and volunteerism. Throughout the year, close to 90 volunteers donate their time and expertise; many volunteering on a regular weekly basis. The FSC now employs a small but capable staff which includes an executive director, associate director, program coordinator, and volunteer Medicare/Medicaid and Income Tax advisor. The Board of Directors is comprised of 11 community leaders and professionals that guide the organization and provide governance.
Grants Provide Growth
Grants provided by the Albion Community Foundation, Albion-Homer United Way, City of Albion Recreation Millage, Area Agency on Aging Region 3B, Calhoun County Senior Millage, and Community Foundation Alliance of Calhoun County help support current programs and expand new initiatives.
The Forks Senior Center operates a vibrant program in a spacious and convenient location provided by the Albion Public Schools (view map). Yearly membership dues are modest and include full use of the Fitness Center. Scholarships are available for those who qualify. More information is available on membership and the program by contacting the office staff.