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Parks and Recreation

Senior Center Offers Connection and Community

four women in red shirts smiling

Recently reopened to serve local seniors with opportunities for learning and connection, The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center hosted an open house today, attended by special guests including Mayor Todd Gloria, City leaders and community members. After a long history in the North Clairemont community, The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center has been operated by the Parks and Recreation Department since March 2023 and welcomes people ages 60 and better with activities, programs and services.  


Guests at the open house had the opportunity to tour the center, learn about the daily activities offered, provide suggestions for future program/service opportunities, meet the staff and hear remarks from City leaders including Mayor Todd Gloria and City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell. The walls of the center were also adorned with artwork created by AgeWell Services participants, in advance of their 48th annual art contest reception scheduled for Monday, June 17.


"The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center is part of our commitment to ensuring our seniors have access to vital services and a vibrant community space to support aging well," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "It's inspiring to see this center reopen and thrive, offering countless opportunities for connection, learning, and health and wellness."

Named after the late Cathy Hopper who was instrumental in the center’s founding in the 1970s, The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center operated for decades under the management of local nonprofit organizations, the last of which shut its doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Located adjacent to the North Clairemont Park complex along Bannock Avenue, senior citizens in the area expressed the need for the return of activities and programming that had been lost when the center shuttered. The City of San Diego’s Parks and Recreation Department answered the call and began operating the center in March 2023 through the AgeWell Services program.


In 2021, the City’s Age Friendly San Diego Action Plan was adopted, a plan that identifies and promotes improvements that help make Park and Recreation facilities and programs more supportive of not only older adult residents, but people of all ages. Providing programming at facilities like The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center helps increase the quality of life for participants who have the opportunity to take part in an array of programs, services and activities.


A robust menu of activities and programs happen each day at the center, including coffee service, art and writing classes, fitness programs such as walking and yoga, line dancing, games, movies, and special presentations on topics of interest like legal matters and caregiving. Card and table games like Bingo, Bridge and Mah Jongg are also very popular at the center, with sessions scheduled throughout the summer. Participants can even learn to play the ukulele with a class scheduled weekly starting in July. Programs and classes are free or low cost, with partial scholarships available for some fee-based activities.


The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center’s summer 2024 activities program is listed on pages 16-17 of the AgeWell Services Scroll newsletter.


“Along with our other sites around the City, The Cathy Hopper Friendship Center fills a need for activities and programs for the 60 and better population in Clairemont and surrounding areas,” said Kristi Fenick, Parks and Recreation Department District Manager for AgeWell Services. “Since the Parks and Recreation Department began providing programming in the space last year, it has become a vibrant hub of activity and people are really enjoying the space!”


AgeWell Services provides free and low-cost programs, services and activities for seniors ages 60 and better at sites across San Diego. These include classes, social activities, dances, free lunches and the social calls program. The first ever AgeWell Services Summer Camp is also being planned for this year, July 16-18, providing a fun week of activities for senior participants.