The San Francisco Senior Center (SFSC) has had its doors open to older adults for 68 years. Founded in 1947, they are the oldest nonprofit senior center in the country. They are fortunate to serve our city’s older adults at two separate sites: the Aquatic Park Center, at the San Francisco Maritime Historical National Park, and the Downtown Center, in the Tenderloin. Learn more at www.sfsenior.com.
By the Numbers
68: years and counting in our Aquatic Park location 400%: our projected fee increase from 2012-2018 2,000: active members who reap the benefits of our programs 36,000: meals served last year 66%: percentage of members who live below the poverty line
Why They Need Your Help
Like many in San Francisco, the Aquatic Park Center, located on the water near Fisherman’s Wharf, is facing dramatic increases in fees and higher operating costs. From 2013 to 2015, the fees more than doubled. The fees will continue to increase in the coming years; by 2018, it will be four times as much as it was in 2012. The SF Senior Center simply don’t know how they can sustain the work they're doing.
They have a 68-year history at Aquatic Park. With the help of the Community, they can keep their history alive and continue to serve our most vulnerable population of seniors.
SFSC prides itself on offering compassionate, inclusive, dynamic programs and services to adults with disabilities, low-income and ethnically diverse seniors, their families and their caregivers. They encourage socialization, lifelong learning, healthy living, and independence within a supportive community of caring.
Their members’ own words say it all:
“We depend so much on the community services that your program offers us. Loneliness and depression are the monsters we have to fight off.”
“I’m all alone, and I live in my van...so it’s easy to get in there and get depressed. I look forward to coming down here to enjoy everyone’s company.”
“This is my second home. I am happy coming here, meeting new people, talking, and exchanging what’s going on in our daily lives.”
“After I retired, there was an emptiness. But in Story Telling class, I was able to tell my story, there was a person that listened.”
“San Francisco Senior Center gave me life.”
What They Do
What all of SFSC's participants have in common is a need for socialization, companionship, and intellectual, physical, and emotional stimulation. What SFSC does at their two centers is provide a caring and safe space for growth, support, and self-exploration.
Their programs and services are as diverse as they come: From daily, delicious, nourishing, low-cost lunches, to one-on-one comprehensive social services and case management; from affordable fitness classes like yoga, Feldenkrais, Zumba, and circuit training, to free arts classes like ceramics, painting, life drawing, and photography. All activities are designed to encourage independent and active living while preventing isolation.
Last year, 36,473 meals were served to seniors at SFSC, more than 66% of whom live in poverty. For many, this low-cost meal is the only one they have all day and it is often their only opportunity to socialize.
SFSC provides services to more than 2,000 seniors at their two San Francisco centers. The population at each center is varied—those at the Downtown Center are very low-income, extremely isolated, ethnically diverse, often frail, and many with limited English. The Downtown Center is a safe refuge in the Tenderloin, one of San Francisco’s poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods. As one of their participants says, “I regard the Senior Center as an oasis in this desert known as the Tenderloin.”
Their Aquatic Park Center serves a larger age range of older adults who are educationally, economically and ethnically diverse, live in wide-ranging social environments, and are more invested in physical fitness. Programs are geared toward visual arts, continuing education, and a variety of fitness and wellness classes.