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New coordinator for Independence Township Senior Center

New Senior Center Coordinator Barbara Rollins, outside Independence Township Senior Center. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
September 01, 2010 - After months of searching for new senior center coordinator, Independence Township finally found someone suitable for the job.

Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to make Barbara Rollin the new senior center coordinator at a salary of $40,400, plus benefits and a member of the Teamsters Union. This is pay reduction from previous coordinator Margaret Bartos' $44,890 plus benefits. Bartos stepped down this past May.

For the past 10 years, Rollin worked as the senior center director in Highland Township.

"I was full-time up to nine years, and then I became part-time," Rollin said. "I loved Highland, and it was a really good place to work."

Wanting a full-time job, she saw a job opening for Independence and decided to apply, and said she is "thrilled" to be here.

"Here I'll be working with Parks and Rec. and that was what my original degree was in, community recreations, so I am excited about that," she said.

Rollin was born in East Tawas, where she and her husband graduated from Tawas High School. She went on to get her degree from Central Michigan University.

"I went to Northern one year, but there was too much snow up there," she said. "I've worked with seniors since graduating from college in 1981."

Since college, Rollin and her husband have lived in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina, and South Carolina. While living in other states, Rollin was able to work in nursing homes, adult day care, and retirement homes. She is also a recreation therapist.

"I've always stayed in the field and I've always loved this field," she said. "I wouldn't have it any other way."

Rollin and her husband moved back to Michigan 11 years ago when he had the chance to get transferred. They currently live in Brighton.

"I'm a little bit of a drive," she said. "But it's all back roads, so it's kind of cool because it's like driving through the country to get here."

From observations, Rollin said the center currently has "wonderful programs for 50 plus," much better than she was able to operate in Highland, and with a lot better cooperation with churches and parks.

"What I think could be improved a little bit here is having more seniors actually come here to the center. In Highland I was able to accomplish that. We had a lot of seniors who would come and over a cup of coffee like to visit with each other," she said. "It was a comfortable place to visit, it didn't start off that way, but you kind of got to break those barriers that senior centers are just for 80 plus."

Only being here a week or so, she said she is currently getting "the lay of the land" and the "know how everything operates."

"If things need to be changed, then I'll change them," she said. "But, I'm not going to change things that are working well."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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