Director of senior citizens center resigns to be stay-at-home mom
Jamie Lee resigned this week after serving five years as director of the Carson City Senior Citizens Center to stay at home with her new baby, Sterling, and 7-year-old daughter, Shelby.
“It was a blessing to have had a second child, and the opportunity to stay home and raise him and my other child was one that I couldn’t pass up,” Lee said. “They need a full-time mom.”
Janice Ayers, executive director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, said she supported Lee’s decision.
“It’s hard to do this kind of work and have a family,” Ayers said. “If I was in a position where I had to choose between working at the center and my family, I’d choose my family too.”
However, Lee said the decision to leave work was a difficult one. Before serving as director in Carson City, she worked for five years with senior citizens in Lovelock.
“For 10 years, seniors have been my extended family,” Lee said. “It was a very tough decision.”
Lee added that the recent complaints raised by some seniors at the center did not affect her decision to resign.
“I am taking on the most important job of my life and it (the complaints) had absolutely nothing to do with my decision,” Lee said.
She said that complaints were made to the board while she was on maternity leave, from September to November, and that the board has dealt with them.
As director, Lee dedicated much time and effort to Meals on Wheels, a program designed to provide seniors with a meal in their own homes that they would be unable to prepare.
Lee said that in addition to delivering daily meals, the drivers also check in on the senior citizens to ensure that there are no problems.
“It’s more than just a meal, it’s that daily checkup,” she said. “It’s that emotional support that someone’s going to stop by.”
Lee also organized many fund-raisers to benefit the program, including the first Cal-Fed Golf Tournament last spring and the Senior Follies held for the last four years.
Bob Kennedy, chairman of the governing board of the Carson City Senior Citizens Center, said the center will miss Lee and the work that she did.
“She did an outstanding job in the five years she was here,” Kennedy said. “We’re going to miss her and wish her the best in her decision to stay at home.”
Lee said that during her time as director she met many important people.
However, she said that the person that impressed her most was Edna Nielsen, an 84-year-old volunteer at the center.
“She’s the most impressive person I’ve met,” she said. “She’s always out there volunteering and smiling and hugging everyone.”
Kennedy said they will begin searching for a new director immediately and hope to have a replacement by March.
Until the replacement is found, Colleen Maheux, the Senior Services manager, will serve as acting director. Lee will serve as adviser to the acting director.