North Richmond seniors welcome ‘brighter, more inviting’ center

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The North Richmond Family Senior Center received a volunteer-driven makeover over a one week period ending June 9.

The seniors having lunch at the North Richmond Family Senior Center on Wednesday nodded all at once.

“It’s brighter in here,” one said.

“Really lights it up,” said another.

They were referring to the stunning results of a community-wide effort launched last week to spruce up their important center at 515 Silver Ave. The improvements included new interior paint, landscape and beautification of the outdoor patio, and installation of new blinds.

Much of the work was done on three work sessions between June 2 and June 9. Volunteers included representatives from the local neighborhood, Chevron, the city of Richmond, Richmond-based Hasan Painting, Supervisor John Gioia’s Office, NeigborWorks and others. Leading the patio landscaping work was Iyalode Kinney, founder of Richmond-based Communities United Restoring Mother Earth.

The results of their hard work were evident Wednesday, with the formerly dark colors on the walls replaced by white, brightening paint, and with gleaming new blinds opened to provide a view of a clean, inviting patio space.

More improvements are on the way, said Janie Holland, a director with the CHDC, which runs the center’s programs. Mechanics Bank is funding patio furniture, Richmond-based Overaa Construction plans to help renovate a separate room at the center, and funding has also been identified to spruce up the center’s floors, Holland said.

Chevron Richmond donated both volunteers and funds to the project, as the center is an important community resource that operates on a shoestring budget. During the winter holidays last year, 800 local families were fed there. Hot lunches are provided there five days a week. The center is also where community leaders and advocates meet regularly to plan programs and projects that uplift the neighborhood’s quality of life. Below was a video of the effort we published last week, before the job was competed.

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