HISTORY OF THE WALLINGFORD SENIOR CENTER AND WALLINGFORD COMMITTEE ON AGING, INC.
In 1970, a committee was appointed under the Community Development Action Plan to survey the needs of the Town of Wallingford and propose programs to meet them. The study resulted in a recommendation that programs be undertaken to provide services for young people and older citizens and on February 5, 1971, the original Committee on Aging was appointed by the Town Council. It consisted of: Muriel Lemay, VNA Director, as Chair, Rev. Father Stanley Abugel, Rev. Mr. Leonard Flisher, Caroline Kilcayne, Margaret Lang, John Masselli, Hazel Sargent, and Stephen Walford. Programs for seniors were developed and administered by successors of this committee until September, 1987, when the present Committee on Aging took over the responsibility of administering programs for seniors under contract to the Town of Wallingford. The Board of Directors consists of fifteen members, three of whom are appointed or approved by the Town Council.
One of the first projects of the new committee was a “drop-in center for seniors” at the First Baptist Church. The seniors organized themselves as the Wallingford Senior Citizens, with Cecile Satton as the first president of the group. From the very beginning, the seniors took a great interest in their new center and over time raised thousands of dollars for a great variety of projects. Without their help, the Senior Center would not have succeeded.
The original name of the group, Wallingford Senior Citizens, was later changed to Wallingford Associated Seniors (W.A.S.). Margaret Bordeleau was the first paid director of the Senior Citizens Center which moved to the newly renovated railroad station in March, 1973. The second director was Dianne Saunders, hired in January, 1978. Under her leadership and that of Mayor Rocco Vumbaco, the former electric generating station on Washington Street was renovated to become the Senior Center facility.
In August of 1987, Sandra Rogerson succeeded Dianne Saunders as the Executive Director of the newly incorporated Committee on Aging, Inc. Under her leadership, an intensive long range study of future program needs for the center was carried out which resulted in a committee, appointed by the Town Council in 1993, to study the need for a new building to house the Senior Center and its programs.
Virginia Phillips became Executive Director in 1994 and funds were allocated by the Town of Wallingford to have an architect evaluate five possible sites for a new Senior Center. Once the site was selected, the firm of Lazarus and Sargeant designed the current beautiful facility that was built and opened for use in June, 2001. Generously funded by the Town of Wallingford thanks to the support of both the Mayor and the Town Council, and with Henry McCully serving as Project Manager, the Senior Center Membership, the Committee on Aging and both the Expansion and Building Committees realized their dream of facilitating a modern and functional yet aesthetically pleasing Senior Center which will provide a variety of quality programs and services to the older adults of Wallingford through the coming decades.
In 2002, William Viola became the present Executive Director of the Center. In 2006, following several years of growth and expansion of services, the center received an initial five-year accreditation by the National Institute of Senior Centers and was nationally accredited by NISC for a second time in 2012.
Wallingford Senior Center – Directors
1972 Mrs. Margaret Long (Volunteer)
1973 Mrs. Margaret Bordeleau
1977 Dianne Dwyer Saunders
1987 Sandra Rogerson Poppalardo
1994 Virginia Phillips
2002 William Viola