Words by Anna Lee Vaughn | Images by Justin Hunter
Renita Waldrop has worked for the City of Jasper since she graduated from Walker High School. Her first job was a part-time position at the Memorial Park Natatorium before she moved to a full-time position at the City Hall Annex, where she stayed for five years.
Following her time at City Hall, Renita was ready for a change but still wanted to work for the community. When a position as a Ceramics Art Teacher at the Jasper Senior Activity Center became available, Renita knew this was just the change she needed. However, she knew nothing about ceramics.
“I started watching YouTube videos and learning from the art teacher who used to work here,” Renita says. “She taught me how to do ceramics, so I taught that for a while and really enjoyed doing it.”
The Covid pandemic proved difficult for the center, shutting down all the activities, including Renita’s ceramics class. The current location closed for a while, and operations moved to the old senior center location, where Renita and the other employees began preparing, serving, and delivering food to seniors in the community.
But while the pandemic strained daily operations and activities, upon its end, the center was back in full force at its current location. Renita’s efforts were fruitful, and she was named Director of the Jasper Senior Activity Center. She also recently completed her associate degree in business from the University of Phoenix.
Renita still oversees the center’s food program, working with coworkers to prepare and serve daily meals while coordinating the center’s frequent activities. Her daily goal is that no one enters or leaves the Jasper Senior Activity Center feeling sad or alone; she wants to provide a family atmosphere that uplifts and encourages anyone who walks through the doors.
“A day at work is so fun. I look forward to coming here every day and our different activities, whether playing bingo or just socializing; I love getting to know everyone. The most rewarding thing about this job is seeing others be able to come here and have a place they could call home. We’re just like a big family here, and that’s rewarding to me.” WL
The Jasper Senior Activity Center, located at 800 14th Avenue West, is open to adults 50 and older. For more information on activities and events, visit their Facebook page or visit the center to pick up an event calendar.