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Independent Thoughts: Allessio reflects on Senior Center legacy

by | Jun 16, 2022 | Featured, Featured: Features

Judi Allessio

Judi Allessio (center) poses for a photo while volunteering at a Veterans Breakfast at the Senior Center with Nancy Tarsi (left) and Ronnie Bicodeau. FILE PHOTO/JOHN CARDILLO

When Judi Allessio first started working for the Senior Center in 2007, the “center” was the basement of Town Hall — a far cry from the stand-alone facility on Mayhew Street that currently serves the town’s older residents.

“I started working at Town Hall about two months before we moved into the brand-new Senior Center,” Allessio recently recalled. “I was actually hired to be a receptionist, but they soon realized that I had more computer software knowledge than any of them, so I quickly became an office manager/administrative assistant. Although, now everyone there knows a lot more than I do.”

Allessio retired last fall after nearly 15 years on the job. Looking back on her time in the position, she said it’s the people that stand out — especially participants and volunteers.

“After we moved into the building, we had over a hundred people lined up as volunteers and then there was a whole big group of teenagers as well that wanted to work in this brand-new Senior Center,” she said. “It’s kind of funny, because you want these people to come and participate, but they all wanted to come and do something and have jobs. That was probably one of the things that impressed me the most when we first opened our doors. And of course they all became active participants as well as volunteers.”

Allessio, whose husband, Hank, organizes the monthly Veterans Breakfast at the Senior Center, encourages residents to check out the facility and take advantage of the programs offered.

“I wish more people understood what is available there,” she said. “It’s a community, it’s activities, it’s a very active place. I think people have the impression that everyone’s sitting in wheelchairs. That is absolutely not what it is there. You have to be independent to go there, or have an aide or family member with you if you’re not independent. As a matter of fact, I got involved myself with Zumba and tap dancing and other fun stuff.”

Senior Services Director Amy Beck indicated she’s pleased to see Allessio volunteer and participate in activities after retiring as an employee.

“Judi has played a large role in the day-to-day, smooth operation of the Senior Center for many years,” Beck stated. “While Judi’s role was not always visible to our participants, without her tireless commitment to the success of the Hopkinton Senior Center, her ongoing efforts putting together our newsletter and her institutional knowledge, we would not have been able to share our many programs and services with our seniors.”

Also recently leaving the Senior Center was Sue Stewart, the volunteer coordinator. Her position is being filled by Robyn Goldberg, who was approved by the Select Board at its June 7 meeting.

“Sue’s enthusiasm and joy showed through her work with our many volunteers,” Beck shared. “Every day she arrived with a smile and a plan to keep us running smoothly, as the Senior Center relies heavily on our volunteers to fill roles from helping at our reception desk to serving in our dining room and everywhere in between.”

Added Beck: “I am excited for both Judi and Sue as they embark on their next adventures — retirement and spending time with family and friends.”

Emma Nguyen

Emma Nguyen was recognized as one of the region’s top sellers of Girl Scout Cookies this year.

Nguyen recognized by Girl Scouts

Congratulations to Emma Nguyen, who became a member of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts 500 Club for her success selling Girl Scout Cookies this year. She is one of 537 Scouts in the region to be so recognized, and she was invited to take part in a celebration at Canobie Lake Park on June 5.

Nguyen, a member of Junior Troop 67208, reports that she sold 605 boxes this year. She plans to use her cookie credits to fund activities and adventures with her troop, such as jewelry making and horseback riding.

HHS juniors remember Miller

While the Hopkinton High School senior class traditionally leaves a gift for the school (this year it was a digital clock for the athletic center), this year’s junior class already has made a memorable impression. Back in April, the Class of 2023 planted a flowering bush to the left of the entrance of the school to mark the one-year anniversary of the death of classmate Mikayla Miller. The flower will bloom every year around the middle of April “to remind our community of the pure joy and kindness that Mikayla brought to Hopkinton.”

Pride Parade returns

Preparations are underway for the second annual LGBTQ+ Pride Parade, sponsored by the Hopkinton Freedom Team in collaboration with Hopkinton Youth & Family Services and the Hopkinton Youth Commission. This year’s event is scheduled for this Sunday, June 19, from 2-5:30 p.m. While last year the event was confined to the HHS track/football field, this year participants will parade one lap of Loop Road around the schools from 3-4 p.m. and then gather on Field 1 behind Hopkinton Middle School for a celebration from 4-5:30 p.m. For more information, visit hopkintonfreedomteam.org.

Drive-up movie at HMS

The annual drive-up movie at Hopkinton High School returns this month with the showing of Disney/Pixar’s “Luca” on June 18. The event was started in 2020, in the early part of the pandemic, and has proven to be popular. It’s put together by Hopkinton Organizing for Prevention (HOP). For details and to register, visit hopkinton-youth–family-services.ticketleap.com/hop-movie-night.

No Horribles Parade this year

The Horribles Parade will continue its hiatus in 2022, but it’s not because of the pandemic. Dan McIntyre, one of the organizers, explained that the road conditions are the primary culprit. The parade traditionally starts at the Town Common and heads down Main Street, and that area is the focal point of the Main Street Corridor Project.

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