Members of the Pecos Senior Center in Ahwatukee Foothills aren't your typical seniors.
"There's such a misconception that ‘senior center' somehow means infirmed or disabled, and that's so untrue," said Connie Holcomb, a volunteer at the senior center.
"We have a very, very active group. They're not your parents' ‘seniors' anymore."
These seniors often participate in numerous activities that the Pecos Senior Center has to offer. From exercising on cycling equipment in the community center to playing bingo and participating in Wii Bowling tournament events, they always make the most out of their visits.
The activities and programs, though, aren't free. Although the city of Phoenix financed the building, it is up to the center to fund all activities and programs themselves, explained Pecos Senior Center Supervisor Terri Roza.
Fundraisers are particularly important to the center. In September, they threw an old-fashioned sock hop for the whole community. In November, they'll have a rummage sale.
On Oct. 21, they'll be hosting an arts and craft fair, open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Just last year, Roza came up with the idea of having an art fair because of the center's need to fundraise. The first art fair, held last December, didn't have the turnout she had wished for. This year, she's hoping to raise more than last year's result of $275.
The money benefitting the Pecos Senior Center isn't from the selling of goods, but rather the selling of actual tables for vendors and artists.
A table for the art fair is $25, and although there are already participants signed up, Roza is still seeking more.
Vendors can sell anything from clothing to pottery. Some of the seniors will even have their own table to sell their hand-stitched hats, scarves, and other hand-made items. Others will be taking part in the event by volunteering.
"This year, we're going to have a variety of costs (for items), starting at as little as $1," said Liz Flake, vice president of the site council for the center.
All of the proceeds from the tables directly benefit the center's seniors, and help to maintain and create new programs to fulfill the center's mission.
"The first part of our mission is to serve them (the seniors) lunch," Roza said.
In doing so, the center has a dietician from the city of Phoenix to help provide a menu for seniors to have a healthy, hot meal at least once a day.
"The second part is to have them socialize. They like to have entertainment," Rosa added.
The center purchased a Nintendo Wii system, which has been a hit among the seniors. They were also fortunate enough to have a television donated by a local Best Buy employee.
Holcomb said the center is a great place for seniors to come and not have to feel alone.
"No senior needs to be alone by him or herself and feel lonely," she said. "If there aren't enough people participating (in fundraising events), it could get closed. We've been really fortunate that that hasn't been the case."
In addition to vendors, there will also be door prizes, raffles and fresh popcorn.
"I envision it as a mini Tempe art fair, except without 600 artists," Roza said.
The Pecos Senior Center, which will be the site of the art fair, is located at 17010 S. 48th St.
To be a vendor or to learn more, contact Roza at (602)-534-5362 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Ashley Haines is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.