Career helping seniors thrive garners director state award
Date: 10/4/2010 Oct. 4, 2010
By Chris Maza
Reminder Assistant Editor
EAST LONGMEADOW -- Carolyn Brennan, Council on Aging executive director at the Pleasant View Senior Center, was recently named the Massachusetts Council on Aging (MCOA) Director of the Year.
Her involvement in the revitalization of the Senior Center, located at 328 North Main St., had a great deal to do with it, but if you ask Brennan, it's her entire body of work that helped her achieve the honor.
"I've been on the board for a long time and I have worked on a bunch of different projects," Brennan said. "I think the combination of things was the reason."
Brennan is a long-standing member of the MCOA board and has been director of the senior center for three years, after spending 12 as the director in Hampden and a brief stint in the private sector. She took over for Rosalind Clark, who passed away in February, 2007.
Continued growth of the center and its programs are vital for the growing senior community, according to Brennan.
"Study after study shows that seniors live healthier and happier lives when they are active and involved in their communities," Brennan said.
Striking a balance between the different services offered has always been a challenge for the Senior Center, but Brennan said she thinks she and her team have done well in that regard.
"We have a wide range of people that come here," she said. "We're balancing services for frail seniors and trying to make transportation more affordable for them so they can get here, while at the same time trying to cater to the younger, more active seniors."
Since the renovations to the facility began in August, 2007, Brennan has seen a jump in the number of people using its resources, but it has been within the last year that the most significant growth has occurred.
"Over the last seven or eight months, we've been increasingly busy," Brennan said.
Brennan said the staff at the Senior Center has been pivotal in its success.
Brennan credited her staff and its dedication for the center's success, which resulted in her award.
"The staff is amazing. When I got here, I shared a vision I had for this place and they all grasped it," Brennan said. "We all have a common goal and everyone know what they need to do for us to achieve it."