In the heart of Nesquehoning, at 90 E. Catawissa Street, sits the old high school. It's been renovated into a senior apartment building, but there's more to this place that meets the eye.
Inside the building, across the short, wide hall, are white doors that open up to the Panther Valley Senior Center. About 8 a.m. the center comes to life as early birds from the surrounding apartments enter first, followed by others from Jim Thorpe, Nesquehoning and Lansford. Out comes the coffee and newspapers, along with the morning chatter, while meals are being packed for the meals on wheels delivery.
By 11 a.m., most of the people have arrived. Fran Craigie, the manager of the center, gets the activities under way for the day. Some of them include bowling, cards, bingo, (up to 30 come in for bingo) and penny games. Movies are available and exercise equipment is in the back of the center. You can even play a game of pool with Fran's dad, Francis O'Donnell and the rest of the crew, or practice shooting darts for next year's senior game competition.
Along with the daily activities and meals, Fran offers many outings which include the popular trips to the casinos, Penn's Peak, dinner theater, shopping trips to Boscov's and occasional trips to the Hometown Farmer's Market. There are also picnics, minigolf and many parties (some with live entertainment, singing and dancing). Speakers come in and offer information about nursing care, prescription drug precautions, blood pressure checks, health signals and your body and even safe driver courses offered by AARP.
To become a member of the center, you must be 60 years of age, but there are a lot of older very active people in their 70s and 80s here.
If you want to be a part of this active circle of people, this is the place to be. Come on out and spend some time with your fellow seniors. You can give Fran a call at 570-669-9930.