Elders Stay Active At Senior Resource Center  

By Cheryl Conway 


Individuals aged 55 and older who live in the surrounding area are invited to join a nearby resource center to enjoy a wide array of programs geared to improving health both mentally and physically.

The Senior Resource Center of Chester is widening its doors to more members to participate in its growing program. Located in the Church of the Messiah on Route 24, the center is non-denominational and non-profit serving any member for free.

For some this may be the next best kept secret.

“Not too many people in Mt. Olive, Roxbury and surrounding areas even know about us,” says SRC Program Director Lisa Sibelman of Mt. Olive. “I’ve been trying to grow the membership at SRC by bringing new programs and events to the building, especially for younger seniors (55–70-year-olds).  Us baby boomers are getting older but we still are extremely young minded.”  

Sibelman has been directing the center since February, but it has been around for the past 23 years.

SRC was founded in 2000 as a 501(c)3 community outreach ministry for the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, explains Sibelman.  In August of 2011, the SRC was reincorporated as a non-denominational community center serving people of all faiths.

“Our services are open to all people regardless of economic, social or religious background,” says Sibelman. 

“There is no membership fee and there is no waiting list,” says Sibelman. “The Senior Resource Center is a not-for-profit organization relying on various grants and donations.  We ask our participants for a voluntary donation of $2 a class.”   

The center offers a wide array of programs for beginners as well as long-time participants in exercise. 


“These programs are all geared to improving everyday life, allowing our participants to grow older, healthier and “age in place,” she says. “Our monthly Lunch & Learn outreach programs offer presentations on many topics of the day that affect our seniors and/or their caregivers. Many of these programs are presented by local health professionals and service providers.”


Participants reside in areas such as Chester, Long Valley, Mt. Olive, Hackettstown and surrounding towns.

“We serve over 300 participants a week and are growing every month,” says Sibelman. “We have a walking group of 100 and visit a different location every Friday. We use many of the rooms of the church and at any time we could accommodate over 100 people.

“We have recurring weekly exercise programs Mondays through Thursdays,” she explains. “Twice a month we offer lectures and presentations on a variety of topics related to issues of aging and the caregiving of the aging. Speakers include medical professionals and service providers in the local area.  We also have special monthly workshops such as Jewelry with Julia, Basic First Aid with the Chester First Aid Squad, Nutrition Workshops, etc.  We also just formed the SRC String Band made up of musicians who are seniors, many close to 80 years old!  They will be performing for the community in the future.”

While most towns do have their own senior centers, some decide not to join or there is a waiting list. The SRC welcomes all and provides seniors to get to know other people outside or their local towns.  

“The members of the Senior Resource Center are made up of a vibrant, active group of people who are eager to learn and want to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” says Sibelman. “The Senior Resource Center is a warm and welcoming place where seniors will make new friends while getting and staying active and healthy.  SRC is also a place of continuous learning.

During the winter holidays, the SRC holds an annual community-wide celebration called the Festival of Trees featuring decorated holiday trees in a rustic winter wonderland setting at the Barn at Highlands Ridge Park in Chester. 

“The trees are individually decorated by families, businesses and civic organizations and are enjoyed by hundreds of people every year,” she adds.

To get involved, call Sibelman at 908-879-2202 or just come to the center and take a class. Visit www.srcnj.org or email programdirector@srcnj.org.


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