Morning Star Center to boast opportunities for Austin’s elderly

Published 7:20 pm Monday, May 1, 2023

A new business dedicated to the elderly opened up their doors on Monday morning.

Morning Star Center Inc., located at 130 Third Avenue NW, is a customized adult day care service that is aiming to give seniors who have trouble perhaps getting out and around a place to find social interaction and be among others.

“Let’s open a senior center so that we can have people, such as our grandpa and grandma, who are stuck at home every day, have a place where they can be themselves again,” said Center Manager Fong Lor.

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Despite the breezy, cool conditions, Morning Star held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday and opened their doors to the public to see what seniors can look forward to as well as highlight some of the services it will offer.

The services include health services, social services, an exercise program, activities/arts and crafts, nutritional meals and transportation.

“There will also be field trips and community events,” said the center’s Director Su Mawkanya.

The concept for Morning Star Center began in 2021, a year still being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both Lor and Mawkanya admit to the difficulty of getting the center up and going during that time, but are happy to be at the point they are at right now.

“We were able to get through it with everybody’s support,” Lor said. “That’s how we got this far and this quick, because everybody was involved in this program.”

Both Lor and Mawkanya have grandparents of their own that inspired them toward Morning Star Center. Mawkanya, in particular, had an emotional connection and desire to start this new opportunity for seniors.

“It’s been very difficult and a long journey and we do this for our elderly to come in and enjoy their time,” she said. “My grandpa has been wanting something like this for a long time. He passed away at the beginning of this year and he missed all of this.”

Mawkanya and Lor see Morning Star as an opportunity to augment entities already in Austin — such as the Mower County Senior Center — in order to bolster opportunities for seniors.

In the end, it’s about getting seniors into the community more and being a part of what Austin has to offer.

“The most important part of how we got here is the love of people,” Lor said. “Me and Su, we have elderly, especially grandpa and grandma. We see a lot of them have no way to get outside of their home to socialize or to meet people or get out into the community.”

To that end, Morning Star Center hopes to maximize opportunity by catering to both everybody and people individually.

And if Morning Star doesn’t have something, they will gladly direct people to places that do.

“If there are things we don’t know, we’ll be glad to refer them to the right spot,” Mawkanya said. “Austin is a great place for everybody. They are there to support and we are here to help too.”

While Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony opened Morning Star Center to the public, Mawkanya and Lor said that next week will be the opportunity for seniors to take part in the programming and see if it’s right for them.

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday, people are invited down to Morning Star.

“They can come in and can participate and get to know the program,” Lor said.

While it’s just the beginning, Mawkanya and Lor are optimistic to be at this point and are ready to serve.

“It feels really, really good that we are finally up and running,” Mawkanya said. “It’s been a difficult and a long journey and we do this for our elderly to come in and enjoy their time.”

Lor agreed, saying: “We finally made it at the end of this long journey. We finally reached the end, but at the same time we are starting up a new journey.”