Programmer made ‘big impact’ on seniors

Breakfast with Santa, craft bazaars, the senior picnic at Renton River Days, a Hawaiian Luau, a ‘50s party and the annual Senior Review (talent show). These are just some of the events Wendy Kirchner organized during her nine years as recreation programmer at Renton Senior Activity Center.

Wendy Kirchner

is now working

with neighborhoods

Breakfast with Santa, craft bazaars, the senior picnic at Renton River Days, a Hawaiian Luau, a ‘50s party and the annual Senior Review (talent show). These are just some of the events Wendy Kirchner organized during her nine years as recreation programmer at Renton Senior Activity Center.

Kirchner took a new job July 1 with the City of Renton Neighborhood Program. She is now the neighborhood program assistant.

“I’m very excited,” Kirchner says of her new job, based in City Hall. “It’s a nice change. A lot more of what I was doing to a lot bigger extent. Really connecting with the community, really building a lot of relationships.”

Kirchner is also looking forward to more hours. Her city job is full-time, while her senior center job was only part-time. But she will miss the senior center.

“I’ve met some wonderful, wonderful people and established some really close friendships with some of my coworkers and a lot of people who come to the senior center,” Kirchner says.

Sixty to 70 of those people attended Kirchner’s going-away party.

“I was pretty overwhelmed,” Kirchner says of the large turnout. “It sort of hit me, ‘I’m leaving and this many people care about me.’ It’s kind of amazing.”

Debbie Little wasn’t surprised at the turnout. Little is a recreation specialist who worked alongside Kirchner.

“She made such a big impact on these people,” Little says.

Kirchner’s people skills are what made her so good at her job, adds Shawn Daly, director of the senior center.

“Debbie loved her, I loved her. She had no background in senior citizens, but she was a caring person,” Daly said. And being a caring person is more important, Daly added.

Before the senior center, Kirchner was a preschool teacher.

Kirchner plans to visit her old friends at the senior center. But for now she is excited about digging into her new job with the city.

“I love just really getting to know people,” she says. “Taking the time, really sitting down and talking to people. Who they are what makes them tick. That’s what I’m looking forward to here. Getting to know people, building relationships and connecting people.”


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