Lillian De La Cruz

The new Senior Program Supervisor, Lillian De La Cruz, at Pecos Senior Center on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Pecos Senior Center’s new supervisor is no stranger to seniors and senior center programs.

Lillian De La Cruz has been working with seniors since she was a teenager. At the time her mom worked at a nursing home and De La Cruz said she would go with her father to the home every evening and help feed the patients and then stay and visit with them. The experience instilled a love for seniors in De La Cruz.

“I learned to like seniors and be with them and to listen to their stories,” she said. “They have interesting stories. You can learn a lot from them.”

Now De La Cruz has been working at the city of Phoenix senior centers for seven years, first as a “floater” working wherever she was needed across the city. She was assigned to be assistant supervisor at Pecos Senior Center for two years before being transferred to the Chinese Senior Center. Being back at Pecos, working in the community where she lives, is exciting for De La Cruz.

“It’s nice to come back,” she said. “When I was leaving the Chinese center and transitioning everyone was sad and then I came here and everyone was happy to have me back. That helped it to be an easy transition for me here because a lot of people already knew me. They were happy I was coming back and that opened the doors for other people who didn’t know me.”

De La Cruz took over the center in May, after former supervisor, Terri Roza, retired, and has spent some time getting organized and learning from the seniors the programs they enjoy. Membership has already been up since De La Cruz took over.

The seniors at Pecos have some big activities planned for the rest of October. Today, Oct. 4, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. they’ll have a rummage sale at 17010 S. 48th St. On Friday, Oct. 25, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. there is a craft sale. Space is available for vendors for $25 to sell holiday crafts.

On Monday, Oct. 28, from 1 to 3 p.m. the public will have a chance to stop by and meet the new supervisor of the center and enjoy some refreshments during a Halloween “happy hour.” All the October events are free to the public.

There are more events in the works. De La Cruz said the seniors are planning a senior prom for early next year and possibly a Kentucky Derby with help from Hawthorn Court and Mountain Park Senior Living in May of 2014.

The senior center has a wide variety of activities, classes and programs for senior residents.

For more information, call (602) 534-5366 or email

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or

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