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Dietert Center demonstrates its important place in the community

An open house showcases the senior center's wide range of offerings for Kerr County

There was definitely energy in the building on Saturday at the Dietert Center.

You could feel it in the clogging studio and the art studio. And those were just two of the offerings on display at the Kerrville center's open house.

"I feel so energized right now," said Dietert Center director Brenda Thompson as she circulated through one of the dining rooms talking with visitors and volunteers.

The Dietert Center is Kerr County's hub for senior citizen activities, providing a wide range of services, but Thompson emphasized that the center is also an all-age community asset.

"This shows you what we have the ability to do," Thompson said of the open house.

More importantly, the open house showcased the volunteer efforts that helped define the center's programming. Throughout the building, visitors were able to connect with the ample offerings at the Dietert Center, and you couldn't help but stop and watch the cloggers.

"We had people interested," said Molly Martin, the enthusiastic leader of the clogging effort. The old-timey dancing is something to behold.

Molly Martin, right, leads a clogging class at the Dietert Center.

"As much as anything, we just love dancing," Martin said. "When you hear music and feet tapping, it lowers the blood pressure, and it makes you smile. It's just good."

Next door to the clogging was the quilters, working on an expansive project that would help benefit the center. The quilters will take a project from someone and, for a fee, complete the work. The proceeds of that work go back to the Dietert Center.

On Saturday, Norma Richardson, Cathy Casey, Susan Capozzoli and Mary Lou Shelton were busy working on a quilt while answering questions from the visitors.

Mary Lou Shelton works on a quilt at the Dietert Center in Kerrville on Jan. 15, 2022.

Down the hall, Jim Campbell was sharing his art kits with visitors. A longtime artist, Campbell said the COVID-19 shutdown allowed him time to develop his kits that feature a simple drawing that teaches you how to shade and color.

A fan of Walt Disney Animation, Campbell has another kit that allows the user to apply the drawing to transparent layers that can be colored. In turn, a background of the user's choice can be added — just like an animated film cell.

"I have two classes, I teach at Dietert — one is a drawing class, where we do still drawings," Campbell said. "I've created the sketch, the little dotted outline, and when you come in, you get to fill out the dots."

In many ways, that was what was happening at Dietert — making connections to those services dotted throughout the building.

Jim Campbell, right, discusses his art classes with a prospective student.

"This has been a great thing for the staff to feel energized," Thompson said. "Lot of these are our volunteers that do our (greeting card) recycling, our crafting, our art and yoga is in there."

Other offerings included computer classes, an emergency preparedness class, travel groups, educational opportunities, a life alert program and a slew of different programs. Of course, in one room is where the real action takes place at the Dietert Center — the card room.

"We want everyone to feel comfortable," Thompson said. "I've had a lot of first-timers (visit). We've had a lot of people sign up for the volunteer opportunities."

Visitors arrive at the Dietert Center for an open house.


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