The effort to start a center for Pasadena’s seniors began in 1953 with Ed Bignell, the city’s first full-time Director of Physical Education and Recreation. Bignell felt the city’s older residents needed recreational services like those provided for the city’s children and teens. It took him four years, but he finally convinced city leaders he was right.
On October 25, 1957, the Pasadena-Altadena Committee for Senior Citizens was formed by Pasadena's city directors, to investigate ways to serve seniors. The committee outlined a plan for a senior center and the directors responded by providing a site for a center in Memorial Park and approving a bond issue for its construction.
What was not covered, were the funds to staff the center.
The Junior League of Pasadena stepped forward with money to hire a director and a nonprofit board was then named to operate the center.
The Pasadena Senior Center opened in May 1960 and was the first nonprofit senior center in Southern California and one of the first in the nation. Junior League members contributed thousands of hours to staff the new facility during its first ten years.
In 1983, the center was given a ten-year grant from the Margaret Bundy Scott Trust, which paved the way for the center to expand both its programming and facility.
In 1998, after an extensive renovation that tripled its size, a new and improved center opened it doors with a billiard room, fully equipped gym, video production room, computer lab, library, more meeting rooms, a larger multipurpose room, intern and counseling offices and more employee space.
In the March of 1999, the center was awarded national accreditation by the National Council on Aging's National Institute of Senior Centers. This accreditation made the Pasadena Senior Center the first nationally accredited senior center in the state of California. The center was re-accredited in 2006.
Today, we continue our high standards as older adults choose from a wide variety of programs and services designed for those age 50 and over.
We welcome all older adults regardless of race, creed, ethnicity, nationality or residency. Our board of directors, staff and volunteers are united in our mission - to engage, enrich and empower the lives of older adults.