A group of senior adults received a surprise visit from Dolly Parton on Monday, May 7, 2018. Dolly dropped in the newly renamed My People Senior Activity Center for a special dedication ceremony in honor of her parents, Lee and Avie Lee Parton.
Before the dedication and renaming ceremony, Dolly toured the facility. She sat in on an exercise class and a woodworking demonstration. There she was given a wooden bowl made from trees burned in the Gatlinburg wildfires. Another crafting club gave her a beautiful mosaic butterfly. She also popped in on a quilting class where talented quilters practice their handiwork. The beautiful quilts reminded her of her mother's handmade quilts and clothes that were such a big part of her childhood.
At the center, seniors in Sevier County enjoy a number of activities, including fitness classes, crafting clubs, games and much more. As one of the center's newest members, Dolly received her membership card allowing her access to all the amenities offered at the center. Of course, Dolly joked about her own senior status. She said,
"I am so excited to be part of this today. Of course, you know I'm a senior too. When I was over in Sevier County High School, I couldn't wait to be a senior, and now that I'm in my second childhood, I'm a senior again."
The name change is part of a rebranding initiative. The goal is to set the center apart from area medical facilities and remind people of their focus on programs, activities and services for adults over 60. The center provides a place for seniors to keep active and involved in a number of areas. Dolly spoke about how she maintains her young-at-heart mentality.
"I just keep myself busy, and I think that's the key to staying young, and I'm proud to be a senior citizen. Of course, we all wish we could stay 30 forever, but we can't, so I think it's important that we stay active," Dolly said. "We stay with a good attitude and get out and stay involved, make friends and be whatever, and I think being a part of this whole thing is really great, and it is my pleasure to dedicate this to my people."
A number of Dolly's family attended the dedication ceremony. Sevier County Mayor, Larry Waters and Sevierville Mayor, Bryan Atchley were also present. And Mayor Waters announced plans to expand the facility.
The My People Senior Activity Center is located at 1220 West Main Street Sevierville, TN 37862. Call 865-453-8080 for more information on programs and membership.