THE MARIELDERS, INC.
In The Fall of 1976, the Kiwanis Club of Mariemont invited Ms. Jane Carothers, Director of the Hyde Park Center for Older Adults, as a guest speaker. From that presentation, Mr. Harmon Wilson, President of the Mariemont Village Assembly, suggested that a similar program for older adults be established in Mariemont. On February 22, 1977 the first of several community meetings were held. By the time the last meeting was completed, it was decided that the Village would establish The Mariemont Assembly Program for Older Adults. Mr. Harmon Wilson and Mr. Marvin Ralston were instrumental in establishing this group.
The Center was officially opened on November 2, 1977. It was housed at the Community Church Parish Center. The first year’s budget was approximately $19,000 and the service area for the Mariemont Assembly Program for Older Adults included Mariemont, Fairfax, Madison Place and Terrace Park.
The Assembly appointed a Board of Trustees consisting of twelve board members. Mr. Robert Martin was elected as the first Board President. Initial funding was provided by the Kiwanis, the Village Assembly, the Community Church, the Village of Mariemont and private donations. The first director was Lynn Anderson and the secretary was Barbara Collins. Their salaries were paid for by CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) through 1979.
The first tax levy to help support the Mariemont Assembly Program for Older Adults was passed on November 7, 1978. This was the first levy in the state of Ohio to be passed to support a senior center. The levy was for ½ mill. Without the passage of the levy, the Center would have closed as on-going financial support was needed. The CETA grant provided funds for only one year.
The Mariemont Assembly Program for Older Adults became known as MariElders in 1979. The logo was designed by Ed Steinau. Linda Anderson was hired as the Director of MariElders and in 1980 Barbara Anderson (no relation) was hired as the Director and served until her retirement in 2011. Kathy Chapman-Dick was hired as the Director in 2012 and retired with 19+ years of service in December, 2019. Stephanie Crellin is MariElder's Executive Director from January 2020 to present.
Serving the members of MariElders is reason the Center exists. Without them, there wouldn’t be a Center for Older Adults in Mariemont. The members support the activities of MariElders through various fundraisers and volunteer opportunities. The Members Council, comprised of active members of MariElders, was formally established in 1980 with adoption of their Constitution and By-Laws. The President of the Members Council serves as an Ex-Officio member of the Board of Trustees. The President serves a one year term and the members hold a meeting the first Tuesday of each month at the Center.
In 1981, the Board of Trustees had the foresight to establish an Endowment Fund for MariElders. In 1983, the Center moved from the Parish Center to the Dale Park Building. In 1986 the Center filed for corporation, and left the Mariemont Village Assembly. In 1987 the Center’s legal name became, THE MARIELDERS, INC.
In June, 1995, MariElders moved to their current location, a free standing building which they purchased on Madisonville Road, near the Mariemont square.
The mission of MariElders is that we are dedicated to the enrichment of life for adults 55 years and older by providing activities and services. The main services provided by the Center include transportation, social services, educational and recreational activities. Some the activities include exercise classes, book clubs, lectures, tech support classes, current events and day trips.
MariElders is funded by a local property tax levy through the Village of Mariemont, The Older Americans Act through the Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio, contributions from local businesses and individuals. We also do a variety of fundraisers including a yearly junk sale and an annual appeal in the fall. Other activities may take place during the year as new sources of funding and support are always being sought.
From its incorporation, the Board of Trustees has provided guidance for the MARIELDERS. It has been a vital part of its growth and an important service for the staff, members and communities served by the MariElders.