Lisa Yeager, long-time director of the Sno-Valley Senior Center, will move into a new position as supervisor for the Issaquah Senior Center beginning May 1.
“One of the things I love about working with seniors is that depth of experience, the amazing backgrounds people have, and the stories they have to tell,” Yeager said.
Yeager held the director position for over a decade, with the exception of a nine-year break between 2007 and 2016 to explore the field of volunteer management. She worked for various organizations and managed thousands of volunteers, including the Pacific Science Center.
Yeager said about 90% of her role at the senior center focused on fundraising, in addition to staff supervision, grant writing and dealing with an aging facility.
“I will be changing my focus from fundraising to community outreach and programming,” she said. “Those are two things I really enjoy.”
Sno-Valley already partners with Issaquah Senior Center for joint programming through the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy. Yeager will be reporting to the city of Issaquah’s Parks Department rather than a typical board of directors, she said.
She said it will be “a different, new adventure” to work for a city. Yeager accepted the job at the end of February but chose to take two months before starting to get things in order at Sno-Valley.
“Right now, I am constantly inspired by the Sno-Valley community, especially the notes of support, money people have sent and the outpouring of love for the seniors,” she said.
Yeager said the center has been providing meals to seniors during the coronavirus pandemic. The facility is technically closed, but staffers distribute and deliver between 50-70 meals each day, as well as puzzles, activities and information to stay active during the outbreak.
“During this whole coronavirus, the seniors have had more perspective than anyone,” Yeager said. “People have seen life happen and they know that eventually, everything has an end, and so they are able to keep perspective.”
She said many of the seniors have lived through the Polio epidemic and other life-threatening events. While the center serves as a hub for people in Carnation, Duvall and Fall City, the current closures have continued to bring the community together.
The business community has provided donations and staff has gone “above and beyond,” Yeager said. She added that people are still interconnected through the school districts, city councils and the local chambers of commerce.
“It’s a really vibrant, fun place,” she said. “I think of the center as the heartbeat of the community. The gathering place is a focal point for people to find fitness and friendship. This is just a wonderful place.”
Yeager said she is excited for the future of the Sno-Valley Senior Center as it undergoes “big changes” in strategic planning and figures out how to proceed with the Reincarnation Thrift Store and senior housing.
“She loves the mission of the center,” said Michelle Raymond, president of the Sno-Valley Senior Center. “Her knowledge of the people and resources in the community will be a huge loss for us.”