‘I want to show them appreciation’

Brandee Derieux, the director of community affairs, is implementing new initiatives

There’s a new sheriff in town when it comes to the Pfeiffer Community Center. Brandee Derieux took over as the director of community affairs last month, and she has her sights set on revamping the opportunities for senior citizens at the center.

Derieux, a resident of Monroe Township for 46 years, is a mother of two and a do-er as opposed to a say-er.

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“I’m one of those people who looks to do for others,” she said. “It’s important to be able to give back, make sure other people are taken care of as well. When you give you get, it doesn’t have to be monetary.”

Derieux is looking for ways to get seniors more active at Pfeiffer. She is touring senior facilities in other towns, like Glassboro, Voorhees and Washington Township, and taking notes on what they offer.

“Currently, I’m investigating ideas like arts and crafts, exercise activities, trips to the movie theaters,” she said. “I would like to see different activities.”

An example of a different activity is the Valentine’s Day celebration Derieux is planning. In addition to the breakfast and lunch provided by the county at the Pfeiffer Center, Derieux plans to have both sugar and sugar-free desserts, crafts and other snacks for the seniors.

“I want to show them appreciation. That’s our first thing to do,” she said.

Derieux’s determination to revitalize the senior center fits into one of Mayor Rich DiLucia’s initiatives. At the latest council meeting, he addressed Derieux’s role.

“In addition to supervising the bus activities and the secretaries that work there, putting together a program on a regular basis where seniors can enjoy some activities,” he said. “Whether it’s bingo, crocheting, crafts, movies, whatever, it is that elderly people would enjoy so they can get out of the house, get away and have some meaningful activity rather than sitting in a chair and vegetating.”

One of the things the Pfeiffer Center offers is bus transportation for seniors who don’t have access to transportation of their own. A senior can register by calling Derieux at (856) 728–9841. The bus can pick up a senior citizen and take them wherever they need to go, whether it be to the grocery store, the pharmacy or the doctor. The bus transportation is also used for recreational group trips like the movie theater or Amish market.

Working with seniors is something that hits close to home for Derieux, as her parents passed at a young age.

“My parents never made it to be seniors,” she said. “I think most senior citizens who either don’t have children or do but have their own lives and are retired or disabled, it’s something for them to get together and be with people their age with similar interests. They do activities and get out of the house. It’s positive, it gives them something to look forward to.”

The Pfeiffer Comunity Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information on senior citizen programming, call Derieux at (856) 728–9841. If you are looking to volunteer at the center, contact Derieux as well.

ANTHONY J MAZZIOTTI III
ANTHONY J MAZZIOTTI III
Anthony is a graduate of Rowan University and a proud freelance contributor for 08108 magazine. He has past bylines in The Sun Newspapers and the Burlington County Times.
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