Holyoke – Kathy Bowler, Executive Director of the Holyoke Council on Aging is being honored by Loomis Communities with the Elvira Whiting Ball Award for improving the lives of older adults. She will be honored at the Loomis Communities Spring Reception on Thursday, May 15, 4:30 pm at the Holyoke Senior Center, 291 Pine Street, Holyoke.
Kathy always enjoyed being around older adults. Growing up on Norwood Terrace in Holyoke, she would make the rounds in her neighborhood visiting her older neighbors. She enjoyed the time she spent with them, the conversations and their stories.
When it came time for her to go to college and choose a career, she knew what she wanted. She attended College of the Holy Cross and became part of the first group to receive a Certificate in Gerontology from the Worcester Consortium of Higher Education. Upon graduation, she went to work as a Social Worker for the Adult Day Health Program at the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke. Eight years later she was appointed the Executive Director of the Holyoke Council on Aging. That was 26 years ago.
When she first started, the Holyoke Senior Center was in the basement of the Holyoke War Memorial Building, Proposition 2½ had just passed, and her first responsibility was to cut programs and lay off staff. Despite the less than ideal circumstances, she gradually built a program that gained popularity with the older adults of Holyoke and respect from the greater community. Over the past five years, Kathy’s role expanded to oversight of an $8 million construction project.
In its new location, participation and programs have grown exponentially. Currently 2,200 individuals are registered with the Senior Center, and programs include: transportation, social services, daily meals, tax preparation, a tax work-off program, classes for fitness, health education, art and computer literacy, cultural events, and a Learning in Later Life program, all supported by an extensive volunteer program. With a mission of providing programs and services to meet the needs of older adults, under Kathy’s able leadership, the Holyoke Senior Center does just that!
Kathy’s leadership is not limited to her career. Kathy is past President and on the Board of the Holyoke Health Center, has served on several committees of the United Way of Pioneer Valley, is on the Advisory Board of Mont Marie Housing for the Sisters of St. Joseph. She also has been active in the Western Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, the statewide Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, and she is a Master Trainer in the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.
Kathy continues to love being around older adults and the work that encourages older adults to grow, remain independent, live with dignity, and make connections with old and new friends. It is for this remarkable work that Kathy Bowler is being honored.
Reservations for the Spring Reception are $20 and may be made by contacting Andrea Brennan, 413-532-5325 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About The Loomis Communities:
The Loomis Communities has been a visionary in exceptional senior living throughout the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts. It was the first organization in the state to open a continuing care retirement community.
With a mission of enriching the lives of older adults, The Loomis Communities offers independent living apartments and cottages, assisted living and skilled nursing care on three campuses in the Pioneer Valley: Applewood in Amherst, Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing in Springfield, and Loomis Village in South Hadley.
For more information, call us.