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Senior Services Welcomes New Administration

New Senior Services Director Melvin Deer (l) and Assistant Director Alice Manuel. Photo courtesy of Senior Services

Changes have been taking place at the Senior Services Department in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, including the recent retirement of its longtime director, Bobbi Carlos, and the hiring of a new director, Community member Melvin Deer. He was promoted from within the department, from his previous position as food services supervisor. Alice Manuel, formerly of the SRPMIC Cultural Resources Department, was named assistant director, and Kandis Balderra is the department’s executive secretary.

Senior Services wanted to update the Community on the new administration, as well as department updates and future plans.

“We are fairly new in these positions,” said Deer. “One neat thing is that we have all came from other divisions or departments in the Community.”

There are 60 employees in the Senior Services Department, which encompasses five divisions: services, transportation, recreation, food and administrative. The department serves almost 200 Community seniors by providing services such as house cleaning, meals, recreational activities and more.

“I don’t think people realize the amount of work that comes out of this department,” said Manuel. “Staff are always on the move here, every day.”

Updates to the recreation division include new plans for trips and activities for the seniors. There will be a new calendar format and a new way of activity participation, such as selecting participants for the ongoing monthly trips. Also, there will be an out-of-state trip each quarter.

The staff is accepting more suggestions from seniors regarding trips they would like to take, and the trips that are already planned have come from the seniors.

Currently, each activity has a number of slots that can be filled, and soon there will also be an activity and event hotline, which will improve the sign-up process for the seniors.

An outreach program for the seniors is currently in the works; the goal is to get more information to the seniors, like updates, fliers and news.

“We are attempting to touch base with all the seniors,” said Deer, adding that he encourages all the seniors to update their mailing addresses at the Enrollment Division of the Community Development Department at Two Waters.

“We realize our senior population is growing, and we will do our best to serve them the best way possible,” he said.

“I worked very closely with my former director of the department, so I knew some of what this new job entails,” Deer said. “I’m familiar with how things work. I feel the transition was much easier than expected, rather than someone coming in from the outside and working into the position.

“I am always willing to hear feedback, and my staff and seniors will give it to me.”

To contact the SRPMIC Senior Services Department, call (480) 362-6350.