Recently retired Executive Director of the Chatham Senior Services Center Micki Chaput Credits: Jason Cohen
Chatham Township Committee Member Bailey Brower thanking Chaput Credits: Jason Cohen
Chatham Senior Services Center founder Terry Berry (left) Credits: Jason Cohen
Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris giving Chaput a proclamation Credits: Jason Cohen
Chatham Senior Services Center Honors Newly Retired Executive Director Micki Chaput
Monday, January 28, 2013 • 5:31pm
CHATHAM, NJ - When people become older, they are often put in nursing homes, retirement communities or assisted living and forgotten about. However, about 30 years ago a group of Chatham residents made sure this wouldn’t be the case when they started the Chatham Senior Services Center. On Sunday, Jan. 27, friends, family members, volunteers and elected officials came out to honor and thank recently retired executive director of the organization, Micki Chaput.
According to its website, “Senior Services is a not for profit corporation that provides programs, activities and services specifically for adults over the age of 60 although we certainly welcome adults of any age. This is accomplished via a Senior Center located at 58 Meyersville Rd. in Chatham Township, a senior bus service and information and referral services for senior citizens and their families.”
Terry Berry founded the Chatham Senior Services Center with the idea of creating affordable housing for seniors, but it grew to be much more. With seniors from the borough and the township coming together, not everyone thought highly of it at first, she said. She started out with an office in her home, then expanded to the Chatham Methodist Church and finally found a space at the municipal building.
“It’s just gotten better and better,” Berry said. “I’m very pleased. Micki’s done a great job.”
Throughout the afternoon, Chaput was praised by numerous people, including proclamations from Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris and Chatham Township Committee Member Bailey Brower.
Chaput started as a volunteer in the summer of 1990 and when most of the staff went on vacation in August, she was in charge for a month. When they returned, the nurse resigned, but Chaput took her position, and in a matter of a just a few months she became the executive director.
“In the very beginning, we had very little credibility in the town and nobody understood the need for a senior center,” Chaput said.
She said having a senior center is important because for many grandparents that move close to their families, they don’t know anyone in town. It really becomes a support group for people and they get to know each other quite well, she said. Each year, the amount of volunteers and people who participate in activities has increased, but what really put them over the top was when Partnership in Philanthropy, an organization that works with nonprofits, helped them in 2004.
They educated the board on how to govern themselves, fundraise and how to select board members. It was a tough three-year process, but it was extremely beneficial, she said.
“It made the biggest difference in our organization,” Chaput said.
Chaput said she is proud of how far they have come since she started and after officially retiring on Dec. 21, 2012, she feels they are in good hands with new Executive Director Pam Mansfield.
“Micki is a delight to work with,” Mansfield said. “’She’s a bubbly and warm personality that makes everyone feel at home and at welcome at the senior center.”