New Senior Center Director Settling Into The Job Nicely
Ashley Stuart, Tewksbury Senior Center director.
But while, at first glance, the fresh-faced Stuart may seem out of place in a group of senior citizens, the truth is she is settling in rather nicely to her role as the new Senior Center director.
Stuart took the reins in April, succeeding Linda Brabant, who had retired earlier in the year. She said she has a great deal of respect for Brabant and the work she did during her tenure. With that in mind, she is not looking to making any radical changes to how things operate.
"I don't want to jump into anything," said Stuart. "I just want to get accustomed to how things are and make small, beneficial changes."
One special skill set Stuart brings to the job is that of a licensed social worker. She will be putting these skills to work by starting an outreach campaign aimed at those senior citizens in the community who don't presently, or are unable to, utilize the Senior Center resources and programs. Stuart will also be looking to coordinate support for the caregivers of the elderly or home-bound. It's a role she took on while working for the Amesbury Council on Aging.
Stuart's affinity for senior citizens and their care can be traced to her childhood. She tells the story of how, when she was 3, her grandmother took her to a nursing home to visit her grand aunt. The staff was amazed at how at-home Ashley was in those surroundings.
"I can remember being very comfortable," she said. "It's been a passion of mine my whole life to work with this (age) group of people."
That passion seems well suited for Tewksbury, a community with a growing and vibrant senior citizen population. Not to mention a thriving Senior Center.
"This place has so many activities," said Stuart. "We have got some very active groups who organize trips, dances and other events."
The Senior Center provides space to such groups as the Red Hat Carnation Belles and the Golden Agers. During the renovation of Town Hall, the Senior Center is also playing host to the Health Department and the Office of Veterans Affairs.