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Engage... at any age: DL community center adds new program for senior members

Engage program member Sue Baker recently read to a couple of local students as part of a "Reading Buddies" activity held in the group's activity room, located in the basement of the DLCCC/Holmes Theatre complex. (Submitted photo)1 / 2
Engage members from the DLCCC recently toured Lakeshirts in Detroit Lakes as a group activity. (Submitted photo)2 / 2

The Detroit Lakes Senior Center has been offering Meals on Wheels, congregate dining and other social activities for local seniors in the basement level of the Historic Holmes Theatre/Detroit Lakes Community & Cultural Center complex since before the theater opened its doors in 2003, while the DLCCC has been hosting Silver Sneakers fitness and health classes, geared specifically toward its senior members, since 2006.

Yet it wasn't until the Holmes Theatre/DLCCC and the Senior Center began collaborating this past fall — on a project to renovate a portion of the senior center space to house the new Holmes Art Cellar — that the two entities began to look at new opportunities for collaborating on activities geared toward the community's senior residents.

Last month, the DLCCC launched a new program, "Engage: At Any Age," which is designed to offer area residents — aged 65 and up — a variety of programs, classes and social activities. The new program is housed in the theater's lower level, in the same space as the Senior Center and Holmes Art Cellar.

The program's coordinator, Melia Kerrins-Stevenson, says she has been busy coordinating approximately 15-20 hours of activities a week, "to engage our senior members in body, mind and spirit."

From a tour of Lakeshirts' Detroit Lakes headquarters, to being "Reading Buddies" for local schoolchildren and attending various events at the Holmes Theatre as a group, the activities and programs offered via Engage are as varied as its members want them to be.

"The sky's the limit!" exclaimed Kerrins-Stevenson. "I have been polling our members each month and asking them what they want to do."

She added that so far, the goal for each month's activities has been to focus on three main areas: Giving back to the community; "Passport Around the World," which involves learning about a new country or culture (this month's focus is India and its Festival of Colors); and stimulating their minds, whether it's with puzzles, book discussions, or presentations on a variety of educational topics.

"We put out a new calendar each month," Kerrins-Stevenson said, adding that they plan to launch an activities calendar page on the DLCCC website ( sometime this spring as well.

"We've also teamed up with the Holmes Theatre to offer a group rate for various shows," she added. "We're planning a whole gamut of activities — whatever they want to do, within reason."

Some of their weekly activities include a walking group for women every Monday morning at the DLCCC track, starting at 8:30 a.m., followed by crumbcake and coffee, or "C & C," in the Engage room at 9:30; Penny Bingo every Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. in the Engage room; martini-making classes at Hub 41; group billiards and puzzle-solving sessions in the Engage room; potluck lunch socials, wellness seminars and more.

Many of the activities are designed to take place after Silver Sneakers classes at the DLCCC, so members can simply go downstairs after class and relax.

Engage members are also welcome to come and explore the new Holmes Art Cellar (HAC), which will be open to the public every Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well as for two hours prior to every main theater show at the Holmes Theatre. The HAC offers local art displays, a small gift shop, and opportunities sign up for upcoming art classes and activities.

For more information about Engage, or to sign up, please contact LaCarra Larson, the DLCCC's director of memberships, corporate and senior wellness activities, at 218-844-4221, extension 116, or

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 18-plus years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Detroit Lakes School Board. 

(218) 844-1454