You can come home again

© 2018-Ogle County Life

MOUNT MORRIS – There is nothing like coming home – just ask Melissa Nicholson.

She grew up on a farm just outside of Mount Morris, but has spent years away, first at college in Wisconsin and then working in Michigan and Columbia, Ill.

But two weeks ago, Nicholson returned to Mount Morris to take the job as executive director at the Mount Morris Senior Center.

“ .  I am excited to be back in my home town!” she said. “I have only been back for two weeks, but I can’t wait to get more involved in the community and get reacquainted with everyone in Mount Morris and Oregon."


Question: How did you hear about the opening at the Senior Center?


Answer: For about the past 10 years my dad, Bill Nicholson, has been sending me job postings for different positions in Mount Morris and Oregon. Although they have enjoyed hearing about my adventures and visiting me in the different places I have lived, my parents have always wanted me back. No matter where I have been, I have always considered this community home. 

When he sent me a photo of the posting for this position I brushed it off as I have all the others. I loved my job and the youth I served in Columbia, Ill. I didn’t want to leave everything I had built there. I found that I couldn’t get the job out of my head, and I decided to follow where I believe God was calling me and head back home. I think this position is an amazing opportunity to serve the community.


Q: What is something special that you bring to the job?


A: I am a very ambitious, faithful, and dedicated person. I am not afraid to take on big tasks or try things that I have never done before in order to serve this community. I trust in God completely, and therefore I don’t worry about anything. I know he will provide in every circumstance. I will put in whatever is necessary to serve not just the seniors in Mount Morris, but the entire community. I do my best in every situation, and I accept and love people for who they are and where they are. I think these are very important qualities in today’s world, and I know they will serve me well in my position at the Mount Morris Senior Center.


Q: Can the community expect many changes at the Senior Center?


A: The short answer is yes! The Mount Morris Senior Center has fantastic traditions and has started some great things in the past couple of years. I am excited to make my mark on this place. 

I want people to know that they don’t have to be over 55 in order to step foot in these doors. I want people to not only feel welcome, but to feel like this is really the place to be. Mount Morris is an awesome town with a lot of potential and great people. I have a lot of ideas for different programs, crafts, activities, games, and meals. That being said, I don’t want to turn people off by changing things too quickly. It will take time, because change is tough, but I am confident that I will be able to help the Senior Center become an even greater place than it already is.


Q: What are some of your most popular programs currently?


A: I haven’t had the chance to experience all of the most popular programs yet, but from what I hear here are some of the favorites. We serve biscuits and gravy every Wednesday morning 8-10:30 a.m. and have our coffee shop open every day. We have a jam session with live music once a month. We play bingo and have a birthday party lunch each month as well as a potluck dinner. Each week you can find people playing Bridge and another card game called Hand and Foot, and three days a week we have a fitness class. We also support SHIP (Senior Health Insurance Program), sponsor overnight and day trips, and have many other activities like crafts and movies.  


Q: What is your favorite part of the job so far?


A: My favorite part of the job so far is talking with people. I have learned many things about this community and even my own grandparents in my first two weeks. There is a lot to being the executive director of the Mount Morris Senior Center, but I believe this is the most important part. Office work can always be done later, and I look forward to spending as much time as possible with the awesome people of this community.


Q: How important is the Mount Morris Senior Center to the community?


A: I believe the Mount Morris Senior Center is a very important part of this community. Our slogan is “Seniors on the Move. Caring, Sharing, Serving.” Our world today needs more people who do these things. We need people who are willing to get up and do the work. We need people who care about others. We need people who are willing to share their talents and resources. We need people who want to serve their community in whatever ways they can. 

This is what the Mount Morris Senior Center is about, and what we will always be striving towards.


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