Senior Center in dire straights

Lynette Veit, ECB Publishing, Inc.

After serving a decade on the board of directors for the Jefferson Senior Citizens Center, Len Dodson stepped down about six years ago.
Now he is back to help raise funds to retire the $30,000 indebtedness that has the Center on the verge of closure. Having served on some 30 boards during his lifetime, this is something with which he has much experience.
He has spoken to Rotary, Kiwanis, the Lions Club and other groups, and now he wants to send the message out to the community at large.
“I want it to be known that I am asking for 30 Monticello citizens who believe in the Monticello community strongly enough to pledge $100 a month for ten months, or make a one-time cash gift of $1000. During that ten months, we will look at a budget we can depend on and build on.”
With Monticello citizens stepping up to help retire the indebtedness, he believes they will be willing to take ownership of the Center and think
of it as their center, not the government's.
“The building is underutilized,” he said later. “Building a financial base underneath it will mean fully utilizing that building.”
He envisions office space being rented out, and local civic clubs renting space for their monthly meetings. Bands could rent venues and hold dances there. It needs to become a community center as much as it is a senior center during that ten months, in order to build a financially stable base.
“The community is aware of the problem, and we're asking the community to step up,” he added. “Unless citizens reach out, I don't see how it can continue.”
Every gift will be acknowledge with a thank-you letter and a receipt, and since the Center is a 501(c)(3), it is tax deductible. Checks should be made out to the Jefferson Senior Citizens Center, and be sure to write “debt retirement” on the memo line. All funds raised for debt retirement will be used solely for the debt retirement, he stated. None will be used for day-to-day operations. Money for daily expenses will have to be fundraised through other means, such as the series of fish-fries during the season of Lent.
Send your checks to the Jefferson Senior Citizen's Center, 1155 N. Jefferson Street, Monticello, 32344. Even if you can't make a monthly donation, but still want to help, send what you can. Every little bit helps, and every gift will be acknowledged.
At the beginning of each month, there will be an update on the Center's progress retiring the debt along with a budget report, published in the Monticello News.
“It's your center,” said Dodson. “It belongs to you.”