By Grace Maselli
Fun, independence, and a daily sense of discovery. These are the values driving the community partnership between the Tampa Bay Timebank and Pearlena’s Adult Activity Center in Tampa. Just like the dynamic, mature seniors in each organization, the association aims to make the most of every day by bringing people together for timebank exchanges, nurturing connections and creative passions—everything from gemstone and jewelry collecting to woodworking and piano playing.
Representatives of TBT’s leadership team recently offered a timebanking how-to presentation to Pearlena members and happily signed a number of the latter to the TBT member roster. The connection between the two organization’s is an organic one, with TBT’s emphasis on social vitality and community—valuing all members of society—echoed in Pearlena’s mission statement, “To provide older adults an opportunity to receive mental, emotional, social, and physical stimulation.”
Katrina Osborne pictured here is Pearlena’s Administrator and actively engaged in the collaborative efforts between Pearlena’s and TBT with Coordinator Rita Cobbs and Leadership Team Member, Christina Bellamy. Katrina’s mother Arlena Chisholm is the Owner and Founder of the organization and named the senior center in her mother Pearlena’s honor.
“I have had a concern for Seniors who idly live alone for many years, desiring to create a place where they could frequent to socialize with others and participate in activities that will add value to their lives,” Arlena says. “My adoration for Seniors and my desire to honor my mother’s memory has been my long-term motivation,” she adds.
“It is a blessing to be able to encourage others to have a better quality of life and lift someone’s spirits,” Pearlena’s granddaughter Katrina says.
The kinship between TBT and Pearlena’s is now part of the local melting pot nourishing the idea of members staying active and developing friendships.
Maintaining vigorous social networks advances healthy aging, evidence-informed research tells us. Community connections and lifelong learning are among the best ways to reduce the risk of cognitive decline, a circumstance that respondents feared most about old age, according to a Consumer Reports’ survey of 2,066 Americans age 50 who also placed a high value on maintaining quality of life into retirement and well beyond. Here here!