Story by Kelli Reynolds/Staff writer/@kellidelrae
Theresa Brunella has been appointed director of the Senior Studies Learning Lifetime program at the PCC.
The center is a non-profit operating under the LBCC Foundation. The director manages the senior centers activities, classes, tours and fundraising events.
Tanisha Harding, 45, an administrative assisting major, has been working at the senior center for two years. She said she loves working there because the seniors are “so full of life and they have a lot of fun. I think it gives them something to do, it keeps them active and gets them out of the house.”
Brunella has been serving as director for two months and has always enjoyed working with people and planning events and activities. Before taking over as director, she served with the American Red Cross for 23 years and spent five years working with home and healthcare services.
“One of my goals is to increase fundraising activity to ensure that we are self-sustaining for many years.” She said she plans to explore the opportunity to add more classes to the program such as a health and wellness class and ageless fashion. Brunella also said the center hopes to develop classes that will work with a variety of departments such as culinary and horticulture.
Brunella was a member of the Long Beach Rotary Club when approached to become the director by Virginia Baxter, LBCC trustee and director of the LBCC Foundation, and Gail Schwandner, a Board of Governors Executive Committee member.
Former director Mary Thoits held the position for over 30 years before retiring in 2015. She is still active at the center and teaches the world affairs class on Wednesdays and said, “I think it is fine to have continuity, but it is also exciting to try a new adventure.”
PCC recently broke ground for a new building to expand the center’s program. Construction is anticipated to be complete by Spring 2017 and classes are planned to begin in Fall 2017. Thoits said center organizers also are exploring the opportunity at starting an encore program to work with people who are 65 or older and want to start a new career.
The center is in FF108.