A new day at the Codding Recreation Center
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By Steve Bryan  November 5, 2009 06:01 pm

Today, discussions on Medicare, Alzheimer’s and healthy bones are daily topics many seniors engaged in. While other young adults her age are finishing their scholastic goals or taking their first steps into the career market, Jessica Schieberl, 22, is busy concentrating on the aspects that effect today’s senior community.
Schieberl (pronounced SHY-beryl) was recently named Technical Advisor at the Codding Recreation Center in Rohnert Park and is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities at the recreation center. Her duties include scheduling the lectures on topics that impact today’s seniors, topics ranging from health issues and identity theft to where to shop.
Other responsibilities include working with Recreation Services Manager Guy Miller on the budget for the center, directing the monthly newsletter, renting the hall at the center and scheduling of all the programs for the members of the facility.
When former director Vicki Wilkerson retired earlier this year, Schieberl knew that she wanted the job. She had been working with Petaluma seniors at the Lucchesi Park facility for the past three years.
“I put together a portfolio of sorts,” she said. “Newsletters that I had created, letters of recommendation, referrals and went through the interview process. I had worried that my young age may be held against me, but within two weeks I received the call that I had gotten the job. It was my proudest moment. It just about blew me out of my shoes.”
A 2004 graduate of Piner High School in Santa Rosa, Schieberl was introduced at Rohnert Park City Hall as the new Technical Advisor of the Codding Recreation Center in October.
An athlete through high school, she originally wanted to be a first responder when she left high school and began taking general education classes at Santa Rosa Junior College the fall after graduation.
“I took all sorts of general education classes including sign language classes, math classes and other general courses before sitting down with a school councilor to determine a career path. It was then that I decided that I wanted to be a first responder or maybe a nurse. I began taking emergency medical technician (EMT) classes and volunteering through Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital,” she said.
“I realized that I was becoming too focused on the sickness and depression at the hospital”, she said. “I knew that I needed to look for something else. I began to volunteer at Neighborhood Services in Santa Rosa. I got to work with children through low income schools and shelters.”
It was during this volunteer job that Schieberl learned how to create schedules and develop activities for groups. This worked out very well for her, until her volunteer service began to conflict with her class schedule. “I was working at the Finley Aquatic Complex as a private swim instructor, going to school in the evening and volunteering all at the same time.”
In 2006, a friend recommended that she take an office job at the Lucchesi senior center located in Petaluma. A simple office job that consisted of answering the phone, some filing and general customer service. Schieberl instantly fell in love with the members of the center, and soon began to look for more ways to become involved.
“My boss told me that I had a natural patience with the elderly, and that reinforced my commitment to the center.” Her first task was to update the monthly newsletter. She began working with director, Don Streeper, to learn how to create new programs and activities for the senior community.
Today Schieberl is working on bringing life back to the recreation center. “All of the programs were cancelled in May when the director retired, and most people still do not know that we are open. Word that we were closed spread fast throughout the community. It is going to take a lot of effort to get the word out.”
Part of that effort is spent working on creating new programs like the upcoming Christmas choir show, and even shopping trips to San Francisco. “I am hoping to spread the word so that we can bring in new sponsors so that we can offer even more programs to our members,” she stated. “Everyone knows that the city budget is tight, and it is going to take creative measures to make these programs work.”
She is hoping that with the news that the recreation center still being open, a fresh set of volunteers and sponsors will come forward. “I have a great small staff,” she said. “But we need more people willing to volunteer to make this center as great as I believe it can be. We will need sponsors and donations to fix the roof, repair the floor in the hall, and hopefully update the kitchen.”
While Schieberl does not know exactly what the future holds for her, she is doing what she loves and plans to attend Sonoma State University to continue her education in senior programming.
For more information about the activities at the Codding Recreation Center, visit www.rpcity.org or call 585-6780.

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