The History of the Whiteside County Senior Center
- The Whiteside County Senior Center (WCSC) with Director Jenny Lendman, first opened itís doors in 1979, in
what is now known as Midland State Bank. In 1985 the center moved to its present location at 1207 W. Ninth Street
in Sterling. The previous occupant of this location was The Bronze Social Club; this was only the original part
of the building that is now the kitchen and part of the dining room. WCSC still has the pool table originally from
the Bronze Club to this day.
- The first addition to the senior center was added in 1986 and is now what we know as the dining room. An addition
to the kitchen and dining room was added in 1993. In 1998, as the need for more services increased for the senior
population, the center decided to add on to the building.
- In the fall of 1999, the WCSC opened the new addition for more office space, more dining space, a bingo hall,
and an Adult Day Care Center. Unfortunately in 2005, due to lack of funding, WCSC had to close the Adult Care Center.
However, the center has been able to utilize the space known as the Big Room for a new Computer Lab, room rentals,
banquets, networking meetings, training and more office space. In 2000, Warren Baxter and Jack Wilson remodeled
the kitchen like brand new. They volunteered their time for this project. In 2006 the house on the south part of
the lot was torn down to expand the parking lot.
- On February 1, 2006, the Emporium Thrift Center was opened to try to help provide more funding for the WCSC.
Money was borrowed to pay the first months rent. Local businesses helped by donating racks, shelves, hangers and
miscellaneous items. The first public donation was a green chenille bunny rabbit, which is the storeís mascot.
Their goal was to support the WCSC, and they surely have. It operates completely with volunteers, donations, and
provides the community with a place to purchase gently used items for a low cost. The Emporium Thrift Center is
located at 115 West Third Street, Sterling.
- In 2006 the Outreach department expanded its services to better serve all of Whiteside County by way of four
locations in Prophetstown, Fulton, Morrison and Erie. The Outreach department has three full-time case-workers
and one part-time case-worker that assist clients with a wide range of information and assistance. The Outreach
case-workers are all Certified Information and Assistance and Referral Specialists in Aging (CIRS-A) and are trained
Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) counselors. In 2012, the Outreach Department received the Counselors of
the Year award, an honor usually given only to an individual. In the fall of 2012 the Outreach Department started
providing a monthly Medicare Information class because of the baby boomers becoming Medicare eligible. The class
provides basic information for Medicare recipients to help them make more informed choices when it comes to their
Medicare coverage. The class not only has had Medicare recipients attend their classes, but they have had caregivers
and other professionals attend as well.
- The WCSC Transportation Program has been operating for several years. In 1981 the transportation program started
with two buses. When the Senior Center first started the Transportation Program it was only available to the senior
population of 60 years and older in Sterling and Rock Falls. The current Public Transportation Program provides
transportation throughout Whiteside County to everyone. Whiteside County citizens use the service to and from work,
college, doctor appointments, grocery stores, etc. The WCSC vehicles are all equipped with lifts or ramps to accommodate
and meet all individualís needs.
- In 2009 the WCSC added a program for kids for Christmas called Santaís Workshop and Breakfast with Santa. The
program allows families to eat breakfast, get pictures with Santa and allows the children to purchase gifts and
wrap them for their family for Christmas.
- In 2010 the WCSC opened a satellite senior in Fulton at Fultonís old fire station called the Riverbend Senior
Center and Transit (RBSC).
- The Whiteside County Senior Center, with current Executive Director, Doug Vandersee, continually look to add
new programs for the community as we enter the era of the Baby Boomers reaching retirement age. Seniors are no
longer considering themselves seniors and the WCSC, looking to bring in the baby boomers, has added programs such
as line dancing class and Zumba for the young at heart. The WCSC has other programs and activities for everyone
such as bingo for prizes, Wii, pool tables, Euchre, Hand and Foot, Pinochle, Kings on the Corner, crochet/knitting
club, Mexican Train dominoes, and much more. The WCSC also has a wonderful Computer Resource Center available Monday
thru Friday as long as it is not holding classes. Most programs at the WCSC are geared for seniors, but is also
a booming center for the whole community.