The Middlefied Seniors Wellness Club (MSWC) launched over 15 years ago, now growing to over 300 active members. They are also kicking off their new project inside the walls of Aaniin Community Centre, in the form of a volunteer-led cafe.

The initiative is the first of its kind in Canada that is run by seniors and seniors only. Funds generated through cafe sales are going right back into supporting seniors groups across the community.

In the meantime, they are getting used to an 18-hour weekly volunteer schedule that incorporates supervising the indoor playground.

Membership of the MSWC has grown from 165 to 305 since their first took up residency at Aaniin Community Centre. Juanita Nathan, veteran York Region District School Board trustee for Ward 7 and 8 recalled their days operating inside Middlefield High School.

During her ceremonial address, Nathan reminisced on the clubs consistent attendance to weekly meetings while at Middlefield. They even paid for their own insurance, providing scholarships to the students assisting them from within the high school.

Giving back comes naturally to this amazing group of community leaders, already exemplified by their willingness to add pitching in at the indoor playground to their volunteer commitment.

Being able to participate while making an outstanding contribution back into the community, is also helping with isolation. Mayor Frank Scarpitti spoke of the benefits of meeting other seniors, young people and families in the community.

Logan Kanapathi, Member of Provincial Parliament for Markham-Thornhill spoke of the social and economic challenges seniors are facing. “You guys look after one another,” he told the mainly Tamil audience before addressing them in their native tongue.

Before doing that, Kanapathi also spoke of the importance of lifting up and helping one another. “This cafe will bring seniors to the Aaniin Community Centre and bring them out of isolation,” said Kanapathi.

The cafe is looking to be a healthy business model and an even healthier addition to seniors quality of life. Inspiring, encouraging and engaging all members of the community with this new initiative was the general sentiment at the ceremony.

C. Arul Rajasingam, MSCW President rounded up the ceremony by describing the cafe as a milestone in the seniors community. Their goal is to have over 100 volunteers from within the group who can (by the way) eat, drink and socialize freely during their shifts.

Rajasingam also pointed to the distinct health benefits of active engagement for seniors at risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

The cafe is located on the ground level of Aaniin Community Centre and open daily.

(Pictured above: Ward 2 Councillor, Alan Ho; Ward 7 Councillor, Khalid Usman; Ward 8 Councillor, Isa Lee, YRDSB Trustee Ward 7 and 8, Juanita Nathan; C. Arul Rajasingam, MSCW President; Community Recreation Manager – South Area, Anthony Ierulli; MPP Logan Kanapathi; and Mayor Frank Scarpitti)