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Lifestyles over 50

Enjoy Life at Lehigh Valley Active Life!

Oct 11, 2022 12:42PM ● By Alan Allegra
What comes to mind when you hear the words, “senior center”? If you only think of a run-down building that smells like cabbage and is occupied by lifeless people with walkers—you have not been to Lehigh Valley Active Life (LVAL)!

I had the pleasure of touring the center with Executive Director Rick Daugherty. His pride and passion for working with seniors are infectious. When we finally sat down, I learned why LVAL is so popular.

The facility is more than just a place to drop off Grandma for the day. It’s a modern community meeting place that actively encourages participation in—well—anything you want.
Instead of a handshake (a big one came later), Rick handed me 15 pages of activities and information about LVAL. The building reminded me of a conference center, and that is what it is meant to be. Rick invites interested parties to participate in, and even initiate, games, programs, entertainment, and discussion groups that include anyone who is interested. Sharing, growing, and having fun are what LVAL is all about! With 15,000 square feet and a dedicated staff of seven, it is an ideal venue for just about anything that interests you.

In his 27 years of service, Rick has seen attendance and participation blossom. He is always looking for new ideas, such as more discussion groups, study groups, board games, activity and movement classes, and entertainers. There are opportunities to empower volunteers with leadership skills to take on new challenges.

The overarching goal for LVAL is “to leave you with something positive. We want the single person to get involved, meet new people or just play a round of pinball. Above all, we want people to want to stay.”

We talked about how many seniors believe it’s time to hang up their gloves, running shoes, or playing cards because the calendar says so. LVAL wants you to “bring it back!” You might find a support group for “wannabes” in running, photography, or whatever suits you. LVAL wants seniors to thrive in a supportive, accepting atmosphere.

COVID dealt a bit of a blow to the center, but also proved to be a boon. Thanks to a compensatory grant, the center, for whom safety is always a priority, was able to make improvements that make it easier to clean and sanitize the building. These include fresh paint, new flooring, tiled walls and floors in the restrooms, new easier-to-clean floors in gathering rooms, and plexiglass shields at the front desk. These materials make cleaning easier, saving time and costs. There is also a state-of-the-art industrial air purification system for added comfort and safety.

Rick is always on the lookout for new things—new programs, discussion groups, games, and volunteers. Volunteers with dedication and leadership skills can lead groups and activities, and even work at the desk, in the kitchen, or take on other responsibilities. Volunteering at the center can renew a sense of purpose and bring joy to others.

Lehigh Valley Active Life is an expandable resource for just about anything you might like to do: play cards, do bible studies, dance, exercise, discuss, sit quietly, be entertained, win prizes, meet or make friends, and have lunch. It is also available to rent for ongoing gatherings, day or night. There are no geographical limits—people travel from all around the area, especially for the longer programs.

If you think life ends at 55, come to 1633 West Elm Street in Allentown and meet folks who will prove that saying wrong! Call 610-437-3700 for schedules, costs, directions, and other information. You can also visit