“Our goal is to support the health and wellness of older adults, meaning 50 and over,” said Director of Heritage Park Senior Services Evelyn LaRue. The center holds many events throughout the year focusing on health issues that affect seniors such as, arthritis and diabetes.
LaRue said the seniors who live in the Heritage Park community were asked what events they would like to see at their center. “Many mentioned something they could dress up and come to,” she said.
LaRue and her staff canvassed their members so the center “could be alive with services.” The center has several partners to provide a variety of health and wellness programs and amenities. Heritage Park Senior Services Center’s partners include Augustana Care , YMCA, the Courage Center, Heritage Senior Clinic, and Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council. The center, in partnership with these organizations, makes health services such as stoke prevention, cancer screenings, immunizations and speech therapy more accessible to older adults of the North side. The YMCA at Heritage Park and Minnesota Public Housing Authority (MPHA) were the two main sponsors for the Gala.
The Gala was open to the community. LaRue said some attendees came from Sabathani Senior Center and she remembers Minneapolis City Council Ward 5 candidate Brett Buckner appearing at the Gala. Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) Executive Director Cora McCorvey attended the event as well.
“I was really touched by Ms. McCorvey,” said LaRue. “She greeted everybody at the door and went around and met every person that was there. Someone even wrote her a letter thanking her.”
LaRue said McCorvey’s actions demonstrated how grateful the center and its partners were to all of the attendees for showing up and how welcome the attendees were to the event and the space itself.
Another one of LaRue’s favorite moments from the evening was the picture taking. “The seniors went to get their pictures taken, just like the prom.”
The Gala wasn’t just for seniors. “One lady, who celebrated her birthday at the event, ended up bringing her son and his wife and her grandchildren,” said LaRue.
The Gala was the center’s first annual fundraiser and the tickets were sold for $10 each. DJ Malcolm Jones played the music and later on taught attendees the “Wobble.”
The Heritage Park Senior center is located in North Minneapolis and is close to senior low-income public housing.