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Sherwood senior center manager Maiya Martin Burbank stays active in the community, advocating for seniors.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Maiya Martin Burbank stands in front of the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center in Sherwood. Not only are her hours filled as manager of the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center in Sherwood, but Maiya Martin Burbank finds time to advocate on behalf of Sherwood's senior citizens.

Martin Burbank says her senior center fills a number of needs in the community, from providing nutritious lunches, with the help of Chef Dominic Sachet, to offering exercise classes, arts and crafts, games, painting, writing and group activities.

The center has stayed strong, even when it had to close in March 2020 for in-person dining and activities due to COVID-19.

But it's fully open now, with lunches provided Monday through Friday.

Recalling the thick of the pandemic, Martin Burbank said, "We pivoted right over to delivering pick-up meals." PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Maiya Martin Burbank is the only full-time worker at the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center.

Martin Burbank is nearly a one-person show at the center, being the only full-time employee, along with two part-time employees.

But throughout her daily activities, Martin Burbank is always looking out for seniors.

"I believe everybody needs an advocate, especially when it comes to meeting self-care, whether that's emotional support, nutritional support, medical support," she said. "Everybody needs somebody to be their backup person for that."

Noting that older Americans can sometimes be portrayed negatively in the media, Martin Burbank said, "It's really a strong point for us here to make sure that everybody knows that older adults are still avid participants in the community and have a lot to give and receive from the community."

In addition to advocating for the senior citizen community, Martin Burbank serves on the Washington County Suicide Prevention Council. She sits on the council's steering committee.

Martin Burbank noted that seniors have been particularly negatively impacted by the pandemic, with isolation being a constant factor. COVID-19 is considerably more dangerous for older adults than it is for children and younger adults, and organizations like the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center have taken special care to protect their patrons.

At the senior center, a depression management program for older adults will soon be offered.

"It is a problem-solving treatment program that we will be offering here," Martin Burbank said. "We're also partnering with George Fox University and Pacific University to be able to have their psychology students here at the center to provide one-on-one counseling support and support group facilitation."

Martin Burbank added, "We also have a program starting called "Circle of Friends," which is a program that will be six to eight individuals. … We're looking for social support and some escape from isolation. This group is expected to meet once a week to get involved in activities and build their friendship and support circle."PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ  - Maiya Martin Burbank, manager of the Marjorie Stewart Senior Community Center, enjoys serving guests.

Martin Burbank is pleased that the senior center has adapted to changes in the community and the world.

"I am always optimistic, but I'm also always ready to adapt when we need to," she said. "We've gone through this past experience with COVID, and it has really shown us that we can adapt to the community's needs and do what's needed to meet them where they are."

Editor's note: This story originally appeared in our 2022 Amazing Neighbors special publication. Special thanks to our sponsor, Grimms Fuel Company, who made this story possible.

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