City Employee Spotlight for March - Andrea Morris
If you had asked Andrea Morris a few years ago if she thought she would be working with the elderly, she would have said you were crazy. “I just didn’t have any desire to do that,” said Morris. “But God changed my heart and after working part time helping at the Senior Center, I fell in love with the job and the senior citizens. They won me over with their wisdom and life lessons. They have already been through what we all are going through now. We are all like family. They love coming here and partaking in all the activities we offer.” Morris has been the Senior Adult Program Coordinator for the city of Jacksonville for five years. She began her job with the city 15 years ago at PARD when Bo Batey was the director. Her initial job duties included working the front desk, assisting with the equipment in the weight room and memberships. “I still call Bo, ‘Boss’ when I see him,” says Morris. When Carter Jones retired from the Senior Center and before Wendy Thompson came on board, Morris assisted at the center. She was going back and forth from PARD to the center. A Coordinator Assistant position became available, and she transitioned to full time at the Senior Center. When Thompson left, Morris took over her position.
Morris grew up in Jacksonville and graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1992. She then attended Gadsden State Community College. She is the daughter of Travis and Freida Morris. She has one brother, Travis Morris, Jr., who has blessed her with three nephews. She loves spending time with the three boys. “I see them every day,” says Morris. “I enjoy attending their sporting events. Family is everything to me.” When asked about her hobbies she said, “I love to worship and sing. Singing is my gift; my passion.” Morris attends New Harvest Christian Center in Anniston where she shares her talent of singing. She also enjoys spending time with friends, movies, and music.
According to her supervisor Janis Burns, "Andrea Morris does a fantastic job coordinating our Senior Center and its programs. She goes above and beyond in making the center a place that is welcoming and safe. She has a love for working with Senior Adults. She cares about each of the participants and their families. She gets to know each of the participants on a personal level. It's easy to tell that being the Senior Program Coordinator is more than just a job for Andrea, it is a calling and a passion!"
The seniors are currently practicing for the Master Games, the biggest event of the year. Jacksonville is hosting the district games June 12th. Morris is working on getting the seniors out in the community more frequently. They have a new bus that was purchased with the help of grant money. They have a fishing trip planned and are also looking forward to a trip to Riverside where they will be taking a boat ride on the Coosa. They also appreciate going out to eat and going to the movies.
Morris says she loves her job and her seniors. “I can’t imagine me doing anything else. It’s great to feel like you make a difference in somebody’s life,” says Morris. “There is a downside though. You get really attached to them and then you watch as their health deteriorates and some pass away. It’s really hard.” One member, Janice Clay passed away recently. She loved James Spann and the group had gone to hear him speak. After she got home she sat in her recliner and didn’t wake up. “We all took that pretty hard because she was one of our biggest supporters. She was so involved and engaged in everything that we did.”
The Senior Center is open Monday through Friday with activities to enhance and enrich the lives of senior adults. Activities range from exercise classes to educational and nutrition classes as well as guest speakers that help with senior benefits. They offer line dancing classes, monthly game nights, and dinners to encourage fellowship with other seniors. Thank you, Andrea, for the great job you do with our community senior citizens.
Photo & Story by Anita Kilgore