MOENKOPI -- After 20 years of planning, the new Moenkopi Senior Citizen Center has become a reality. On July 8, the senior center, located at the Northeast Hopi Housing Sub-Division near the village of Moenkopi, held its dedication ceremony.
Leroy Shingoitewa, served as master of ceremonies for the special event. Sipalovi Tribal Council Representative Cedric Kuwaninvaya presented an invocation. Speakers included Lt. Governor of Moenkopi Yvonne Hoosava, Michael Elmer, chairman of the Moenkopi Senior Task Team; Mark Lorensen, owner of LOR Construction; Jeremiah LaMesa, engineer for the senior center project and Linda Honahni, director of the Senior Center.
"Thanks to all of you for making this center a reality," said Honahni. "The center is open to everyone. This is your home. The board of directors wants everyone to use this building."
She pointed out that the board is currently working on many programs for the community.
"We will offer programs to help the elderly be served better and cut down on waiting times at the hospital through a new pharmacy program as well as other projects," Honahni said. "Our elders have the secrets to the past, and they need to teach our youth through many new projects so that the elderly and the youth can learn their secrets together."
A tour of the building followed the dedication ceremony as well as a delicious meal provided by the members of the villages of Upper and Lower Moenkopi.
The senior center's mission is to improve the quality of life for seniors 55 years and older by offering educational, recreational and social activities, and by providing support services for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.
Additional administrative personnel for the new center include Claudina Burgener, Elderly Activities coordinator and Erica Myron, receptionist.
The Moenkopi Senior Citizen Center Board of Directors are Chairperson Margaret Ahsona, Vice-Chairperson Mary Outie, and Secretary Leroy Shingoitewa. Board members are Michael Elmer and Louis Jenkins.
The Center Citizen Task Team officers include Chairman Elmer, Vice-Chairman Yvonne Hoosava, Secretary Linda Honahni. Members are Martha Numkena, Margaret Ahsona, Sylvia Holmes, Florence Albert, Shirley Seweyestewa, and Robert Sakiestewa Jr. All the positions were appointed by the elders of both villages.
Special recognition of elders was extended to Betty Suetopka, Martha Numkena, Laura Katherine Honahni, Arlene Puhuyaoma, Florence Sauerberg, Sandra Honanie and former cook, Bernice Talahytewa for keeping the former Sooveni Elderly Center open daily.
Many individuals helped to make the senior center a reality including the elderly and youth of Upper and Lower Moenkopi, the Otten Foundation, Coconino County Supervisor Deb Hill, Upper and Lower Village of Moenkopi Administration Offices, Board of Directors and Task Teams, Arizona Public Service, Basha's, True Value and many others.
The senior citizen center is open to all elderly residents as well as other elderly and youth from other villages. The center will serve as a learning place for both the elderly and the youth.