The Center at Belvedere: Reinventing the senior center, breaking stereotypes by Marilynn Larkin, MA
The Center at Belvedere--or, simply, The Center--is a testament to the drive and determination of stakeholders to break stereotypes of senior centers and of what it means to be "older." The 47,000-sq.-ft. building in Charlottesville, Virginia, which recently garnered a national award from the American Institute of Architects, "is an exceptional resource for our community," says Executive Director Peter Thompson. "It demonstrates the power of collaboration among experts and community members who understand the impacts of healthy aging. The appeal of The Center is reflected in the numbers of people participating in programs on-site. Thompson commented that those numbers are up about 20% over two years ago in the former building, despite the pandemic, and without counting virtual expansion. The Journal on Active Aging caught up with Thompson in a Zoom interview to learn more about The Center's evolution and determination to serve as a model for other organizations.