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McCarthy: ‘It’s all about the people’

By Anne O’Connor

PEPPERELL — When talking with the director of the Council on Aging, it quickly becomes obvious that she loves her job.

“It’s so much fun,” said Susan McCarthy, 13 months after she took the position. She runs the Senior Center, with the help of a few other staff people and 185 volunteers, most seniors.

For her, it’s all about the people. “I’ve always been a part of seniors’ lives,” she said.

“I want them to know that I’m here for them,” she said. “I love them. I tell them every single day. I hug them.”

Since she has been in the corner office, 99 new people have joined. “Classes are extremely full,” she said.

McCarthy takes time to keep the members informed, holding a monthly meeting where she reads the director’s report and talks about her goals.

When folks talk, she listens.

She had some doubts about holding an adult coloring group, but is thrilled with the class. Groups get together to color and chat and don’t want to leave at the end of the day, she said.

One of her goals is increasing community involvement. Art students at Nissitissit Middle School are making a four-season mural for an under-decorated exercise area.

“I was really excited,” she said.

McCarthy started as a volunteer at the Senior Center after she left her job in dentistry, a 20-year career. She realized that working with seniors was a great job match for her. Soon she become the paid activities director then assistant director.

“I’m still learning,” she said. “There’s a lot to it.”

She credits the folks at Town Hall in guiding her through the first year as director. “I could not have more support from the town,” she said.

Even preparing a narrative for the Finance Committee to discuss the COA budget was a positive experience. “It’s a great process,” McCarthy said.

As much as she loves her job and the people she serves, they love her right back.

A group from the Senior Center, dining out at Bailey’s Bar and Grille in Townsend, were tickled when they heard a story on their director was planned.

They agreed that the Senior Center was a great place to go and getting better all the time.

Follow Anne O’Connor on Twitter and Tout @a1oconnor.

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