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By Maggie Schmutz
Writer Intern 

Over-50 crowd finds fun at Fallbrook Senior Center


Last updated 6/24/2019 at 10:15am

Maggie Schmutz photos

Seniors participate in the weekly line dancing class at the Fallbrook Senior Center.

The Fallbrook Senior Center has a variety of activities for Fallbrook's 50-plus crowd Monday through Friday. The center has served the community since the 1970s.

"We're an activity center," Susie Gonsalves, operations manager, said. "So we have activities like line dancing, yoga, cards, games, ukulele classes, things like that, just a variety of activities and social things for seniors to come to."

Anyone over 50 can become a member for just $15 a year. This membership grants them access to activities, events and classes. They also have their own exercise equipment.

"It's a great place, instead of going to Paradise Fitness, we have our own gym here that they can come and use for $15 a year," Gonsalves said.

The Senior Center also serves meals every day, both to those who come to the center and to those who are homebound.

"We have about 60 homebound seniors we feed every day and about 40 folks that will come in and eat lunch," Gonsalves said.

The Fallbrook Senior Center also has a thrift store. The money from the store, as well as from fundraisers, help the nonprofit operate and be able to continue serving the community.

"We fundraise a lot," Gonsalves said. "Phyllis Sweeney is our special projects manager. She does the fundraising and any special events."

Sweeney's job is to inform the community about what the senior center does to help the community and to help fundraise to keep the center up and running.

"I prepare grants and fundraising. I'm out in the community talking to different organizations and groups and informing them," Sweeney said.

Sweeney said that sometimes people are surprised by the amount the senior center has to offer. It plays different roles for everyone who comes in, as everyone has a different favorite activity. Sweeney said that people don't realize how much fun is had at the senior center.

Some of the most popular activities include line dancing, the exercise classes they do three days a week and bridge. Bridge is so popular that both professional and strictly social groups participate.

"It's a fun place because it's all about activities and socialization. (People) are happy here. They're coming here to work out, or to meet their friends, or those kinds of things," Sweeney said. "It's kind of like a YMCA or a Boys and Girls club for adults. It's a fun place to go."

Visitors to the Fallbrook Senior Center will meet, from left, Susie Gonsalves, Operations Manager; Jack Schirner, Fallbrook Senior Citizens Service Club President and Phyllis Sweeney, Special Projects Manager.

When asked to describe the atmosphere at the senior center, both Sweeney and Gonsalves said it was a lot of fun, and it's evident from just walking through while some of the activities are taking place. The staff is friendly, and the mood is high as soon as anyone walks through the door, they said. Whether people are participating in a small game of Scrabble or line dancing in a room of 20 people, it's clear that everyone is enjoying where they are and what they are doing.

"I love to encourage people to be who they are, to embrace and enjoy life because the greatest gifts we have are our lifetime and our health," Sweeney said.

To find out more about the Fallbrook Senior Center, visit their website at Their website has their weekly meal and activities calendars as well as a newsletter. Interested seniors can also visit them at 399 Heald Lane in Fallbrook.


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