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Edwards a ‘joy’ at Senior Center

Edwards is the senior activities coordinator for the Madison Senior Center.

Joy Edwards is one woman who lives up to her name.

Visitors to the Madison Senior Center recognize Edwards by her ever-cheerful personality and inviting presence.

“I’m rarely in a bad mood,” Edwards said.

Edwards is the senior activities director for the center. The 76-year-old has worked there for the past 20 years and is showing no signs of stopping

“When I first started, I didn’t think I would even get t 10 years in,” Edwards said.

The Center provides seniors a place to socialize and stay active. This is achieved by activities like bingo, water aerobics, line dancing, Spanish class, ceramics class and card and video games, among others.

Edwards, along with Vickie Parker, are responsible for providing those activities to the center’s visitors, free of charge.

“This is their home away from home,” she said. “They tell us all the time they love it here.”

The center has come a long way from what it used to be when Edwards was first hired.

Around that time, the Senior Center building, located on 1282 Hughes Road, used to be the city’s Recreation Center. Only 18 seniors could gather in a small room in the back of the building.

“All my job consisted of at that time was to help the people do ceramics, pick them up in the van and later drive them home. I worked three days a week,” Edwards said.

Once the Dublin Park facility opened 15 years ago, the Recreation Center was moved, and the Senior Center began to expand. Judy Meiers, who retired Dec. 1, 2010, was hired as the center’s new director. Edwards then became activities coordinator.

“I am in contact with 50 to 60 people a day,” Edwards said. “I interview clients, fill out their medical information, file it and answer the phone.”

She helps write the monthly newsletter and plans themed parties every month.

“Joy is a true joy to work with each day,” said Vickie Parker, activities coordinator. “We play off of each other very well when planning activities and parties for the Seniors. She is a lot like the Energizer Bunny in that she hasn’t slowed down any since I came to work here in 2000.”

Edwards is from Birmingham. She moved to the area with her husband who worked for IBM, or as she calls it “I’ve Been Moved.”

She worked at Western Union, an investment company and sold Avon before working at the Senior Center. A friend of hers, Margaret Hurst, suggested she apply for the center’s director position.

“Two people applied and they chose me. I really don’t know why, but I’m so grateful for that.”

Her husband passed away 11 years ago, and she said the people at the center helped her through that time in her life.

“This was a wonderful place for me to be after he died. So many others had already been through the same thing.  They supported me and just loved on me.”

With almost a quarter century under her belt, Edwards said she plans to continue working until she can’t work anymore.

“I Don’t ever want to retire,” she said. “I’m going to keep on going until they carry me out feet first. I’m just going to keep on keeping on.”

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