EAST LANSING, Mich. — East Lansing Prime Time Seniors Program Director Kelly Arndt is retiring at the end of this month after 31 years of dedicated service to the City of East Lansing.
Arndt was hired in the spring of 1992 to work in what was then called the Older People’s Program and is now known as the East Lansing Prime Time Seniors Program (Prime Time). Community members, aged 55 years and older, are eligible for membership in Prime Time, which offers diverse enrichment activities and special events for both members and non-members. Among its many offerings are health and fitness classes, music and art classes and miscellaneous classes on subjects such as birding and foreign languages. Prime Time also hosts discussion groups, games and special events like a holiday shopping trip to the Somerset Collection, lunch on the Michigan Princess Riverboat and other fine dining opportunities.
Arndt graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in applied arts and marketing. During her career as Prime Time director, Arndt was elected president of the Michigan Association of Senior Centers, representing more than 150 Michigan senior center directors statewide. In 2013, Arndt was a top ten finalist for Greater Lansing Woman of the Year.
“The City has been very fortunate to have Kelly serve as the Prime Time Seniors Program director for the last 31 years,” said East Lansing Interim City Manager Randy Talifarro. “She has been a highly effective director and we will miss her innovative leadership. We wish her all the best in her retirement.”
Under Arndt’s leadership, Prime Time achieved national accreditation through the National Council on Aging, which is granted to less than one percent of the nation’s senior centers. Arndt also led a grant application in 2013 to renovate one of the East Lansing Hannah Community Center classrooms, where the Prime Time Seniors Program is housed, to serve as an art studio for Prime Time members.
Prime Time benefits from partnerships with various stakeholders in the community including Michigan State University (MSU). The Senior Ambassador Program, which matches Prime Time members with MSU college students, was the recipient of a joint award earlier this month from MSU University Outreach and Engagement. The Senior Ambassadors Program was recognized for its collaborative effort to reduce isolation among seniors by pairing them with MSU students who share similar interests. Additionally, services like the Friday Technology Lab, the Foot Care Clinic and the Town and Gown Speaker’s Series are made possible through partnerships with departments and scholars from MSU.
“Through the years, our big mission has always been to change the way people think about aging,” said Arndt. “As I recall the highlights of my career here, many of them include our members and allies. I am grateful for all they have done to assist our efforts in helping others live better, longer. And, of course, part of the success of any program is who you hire. I feel incredibly lucky to have been part of a top-notch staff that dwells in possibilities.”
Arndt is also particularly proud of her involvement with the East Lansing Artist Alleys project. As a part of that project, a community mosaic was made by middle school students and retirees and installed in the pedestrian alley in the 500 block of Grand River Avenue in downtown East Lansing. The mosaic, entitled “Spirit of East Lansing,” depicts landmarks in East Lansing. Arndt recently came across one of the young boys who worked on the mosaic and he told her that he rides his bike downtown on occasion just to see it.
“Now that’s community pride! Those are the special moments I will carry with me. It’s nice to live and work in a youthful community. There’s no limit to the magic that happens when young and old come together,” said Arndt.
Prime Time Seniors Program Manager Lisa Richey will be serving as interim director after Arndt’s departure. Arndt’s last day of work is Friday, March 31. Community members are invited to attend an open house in her honor on that day from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Prime Time offices inside the East Lansing Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbot Road.
For more information about Prime Time, including how to become a member, visit www.cityofeastlansing.com/primetime.