Clients swaying to music during a game of Name That Tune at the Progress Village Senior Center.

In March 2020, the Hillsborough County Aging Services senior centers closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 25, three locations, including those local to Southeastern Hillsborough County in Ruskin, Plant City and Progress Village, reopened, offering events and activities for seniors and service opportunities for local volunteers. By the end of June of this year, all 22 locations will be reopened.

Last month, the Progress Village location had a bongo and conga drum player, Name That Tune, testimonials and more for the attendees. The location is implementing many safety protocols, including extra sanitizing and operating at a 50 percent capacity.

Mary Jo McKay, nutrition and wellness manager at the Hillsborough County Aging Services, explained that lower COVID numbers are the reason as to why the senior centers are reopening.

According to McKay, although the senior centers are reopening, virtual activities will still be available, as it is important to the group that it continues reaching those homebound seniors so they, too, can participate and not miss out.

“I am excited as many of our seniors had asked about when it would reopen,” McKay said.

“The seniors could not wait to see one another face to face,” she added.

Volunteers of all ages are needed. Students interested in volunteering can earn community services hours that qualify towards the Bright Futures Scholarships. Some of the areas where the volunteers will be assisting in would be facilitating an exercise activity and much more.

Hillsborough County Aging Services provides an array of services, such as in-home services, active adult programming, referral services and hot meals. It is geared toward enhancing the lives of older adults ages 50 and up.

The senior centers will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Many of the activities are driven by the seniors.

For more information, visit https://www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/government/departments/aging. Anyone seeking general information about the aging services should call 813-272-5250. Those with questions about volunteering should call 813-853-2017.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.