Seniors Stay Active and Help Others – by Bethiah Shuemaker

Shuemaker with one of her seniors

Each week, you read about the different programs and special events we have here at the Manassas Park Community Center (MPCC). Each of our programs is age specific and designed specifically for our patrons. As a longtime staffer here at MPCC, I am very proud of the diversity and quality of our programs. However, the program that I am most proud of is our charity crafting program. Charity Crafting meets every Tuesday morning from 10:00am – 11:30am. We share knitting and crocheting patterns and learn beginner to advanced stiches as we create items such as scarves, blankets, booties, and hats to donate.

Each week, a dedicated group of seniors puts forth their time and efforts creating items for others. After our time is up, what often happens next is that our seniors take home their projects and finish them during the rest of the week. Each returns the next Tuesday with a completed project and are ready for another!

One local recipient of our Charity Crafting efforts is Novant Health Prince William Medical Center. Seniors at MPCC knit sweater, hat, and bootie sets throughout the year. These sweater and bootie sets are donated to Novant to help those in need.

Seniors also knit baby blankets for the “Bundles of Love” program at Ft. Bragg. Here, military moms receive a gift bag after having a baby! Our soft, colorful blankets are the perfect for newborns! We also knit and crochet red scarves for The Foster Care to Success Program based in Sterling, VA.

Mrs. Lee with an afghan she made

We love to show our support for active duty military families and honor their sacrifice. In fact, each fall, we collect Slim Jims for Soldiers. Slim Jims are shelf safe, sustainable food source for our active duty service men and women. We want them to know we appreciate all they do for us.

These charity programs keep our seniors busy creating and giving to others. However, what I have seen lately is truly amazing. Every Friday, we have one of our newest programs: Plarning. This program is on Fridays from 9:00am -12:00pm. It is a great recycle/green project teaching seniors to make yarn from plastic bags (plastic yard equals plarn). Our seniors have created large and small mats for bedding and tote bags, which we are donating to homeless people.

Each of our seniors agree that it truly is a great feeling to give back. We feel lucky that we have what we need, but helping others gives us a sense of community. The opportunity to display our talents makes it all the more worthwhile.

There are many programs and special events happening daily, weekly and monthly for our seniors here at the MPCC. From Pickleball to our newly started Shutterbug Club, our seniors are staying active, keeping busy, and helping others.

Bethiah Shuemaker is the Recreation Specialist for Seniors for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. She can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at

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