Decades ago, Carol moved to Columbus not knowing anyone.
She and her husband, Steven moved to Bartholomew County from Batesville as empty nesters. Their two adult daughters lived in other parts of the country.
The couple knew no one in Columbus prior to their move. But, they had each other and Carol planned on getting a job to get to know her new community.
Carol began working as an administrative assistant at Cummins to stem her loneliness. She loved the job, the camaraderie and the way her coworkers instantly became her friends.
She took Kung-Fu classes to get her exercise. Her job and those classes were helping her get integrated into her new home.
Then Steven passed away. Health issues including COPD, a stroke, a blood clot in her lung and asthma forced Carol to give up the job she loved a few years later.
“I didn’t want to retire because I was scared of the social aspect,” she said. “It scared me, because I was like what am I going to do?”
She tried church groups and other social groups in Columbus, but none quite fit. Her health problems forced her to give up Kung-Fu, which exacerbated her loneliness following Steve’s death and her retirement.
Carol turned to Mill Race Center. Mill Race Center is one of 17 certified United Way agencies. The center is nationally recognized for programming for adults in the age 50 plus population.
Carol had heard of Mill Race when she had previously taken a Zumba class there. She enrolled in an exercise class that she could do with her health issues.
“I had to think of something when I couldn’t do anything,” Carol said.
Friendships with other exercise class attendees grew into after class brunches. Now, Carol crafts seasonal ornaments in crafting classes at Mill Race Center and participates in a support class for people who have lost spouses.
One of Carol’s first thoughts about Mill Race Center was how welcoming and warm everyone was once she began participating in activities there.
“As far as the social aspect goes, it was one of the greatest things in the world,” Carol said. “They brought me into the circle right away, there was no waiting.”
Without Mill Race Center, Carol is not sure what she would have done after Steven passed away and she had to give up her job at Cummins.
“Mill Race, it saved my sanity,” Carol said. “Mill Race gives me the will to get up and get out of my house.”