Senior center seeks new director

Ava Apple (Courtesy Photo)

Ava Apple (Courtesy Photo)

The Vashon Senior Center is in the midst of transition, as Executive Director Ava Apple is stepping down after nearly six years, and a search for her replacement is underway.

Apple is not going far and intends to continue working with the center’s Neighbor to Neighbor program, which helps island elders remain in their homes with the assistance of volunteers. Ready to leave behind administrative work, Apple said she wants to return to working one-on-one with people.

“I got into this line of work to help people, and that is what I want to do,” she said recently.

Under Apple’s direction, the senior center has increased its members — from 160 when she started in 2012 to nearly 600 now. The center has also increased its programs. In fact, Apple counts the creation of three programs among her greatest contributions at the center, including Neighbor to Neighbor and two transportation programs, one that takes seniors to lunch at the center three days a week and another that provides transportation to off-island medical appointments. Additionally, she said she is proud of the senior center remodel, which transformed the facility in 2016 after the center received a grant for the project and — on a lighter note — is pleased to have started rainbow bingo.

“I met almost all the goals I set out for myself,” she said recently.

Board President Susie Kalhorn said the board is sorry to see Apple go, but understands her reasoning.

“It is important for the community to know that Ava has been a great leader and will be sorely missed, but we respect her decision,” she said.

Apple’s job has been posted for two weeks, and Kalhorn indicated the board is moving as quickly as it can in the hiring process, while intending to take the time to find the right person; the application deadline is April 9, with interviews the following week.

“The new person will find that we have a dedicated membership and an energetic group of volunteers and an incredible staff,” Kalhorn said.

She added that, like at most small nonprofits, the largest challenge is the ongoing need for fundraising to support the center, which operates on a $240,000 annual budget.

Apple said she is looking ahead to focusing more on the Neighbor to Neighbor program, which she said has not yet met its potential.

“What I really want to do is home visits, go in and assess the situation. (Seniors) may need more help than they are asking for, and I may be able to fill some of the gaps for them,” she said, adding: I am glad I still get to be part of this mission. It is the best job I ever had.”

— Susan Riemer

More in News

Lawyer to discuss immigrant rights

Matter will tell stories of her personal experience with asylum-seeking refugees and others

IFCH welcomes new president

The council works with islanders who are homeless or at the risk of becoming homeless

VIFR responds to fire at Sawbones

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue responded to a fire at Pacific Research… Continue reading

Workshop offers household preparedness tips

Speakers will cover a wide range of topics

Honoring Martin Luther King, event to examine social justice

“I think this is really an opportunity to see the world from someone else’s point of view.”

Land Trust seeks votes for Matsuda Farm project

Votes for a cold storage and washing facility will be tallied online through Jan. 31.

New scholarship to honor physician Gary Koch

Colleagues of longtime island doctor Gary Koch have recently created a scholarship… Continue reading

Some good news for the southern residents

The arrival of a new calf is the first successful birth for the orcas in three years.

Fate of Tramp Harbor dock is in question

Contamination and safety concerns have plagued the dock for years.

Most Read