Friendship Center

Our mission is to support Quality of Life for older adults in the Winona area.



Businesses engaged in the Dementia Friends Movement



Come join in the fun! We look forward to meeting you.

2020 Membership to the Winona Friendship Center is easy and only $30 for individuals and $50 for a couple in the same household (subject to change without notice). This membership is an annual fee from the date of purchase. You are notified of your expiration date by mail.  Stop in, mail in or call to purchase or renew your membership.

Membership Benefits: 

  • Newsletter is mailed to you 3 times a year
  • Access to “members only” programs
  • Member prices
  • Use of computers and no fee programs
  • Eligible for lesser fee to the Active Wellness Center Membership

The Friendship Center publishes the Newsletter three times a year. Download the current issue below.  The June newsletter will give you the current program information that is being offered.

June 2020 Newsletter 

July 2020 Newsletter

August 2020 Newsletter

You will need to download Adobe Acrobat Reader to print or view some of these pages.

** You may need to ZOOM in on the newsletter if the type is too small for you to read.  

Health & Wellness

*Active Wellness Center:  We accept Renew Active, Silver & Fit and Silver Sneakers from Health Insurance Plans.  Our gym has experienced, certified staff available for training and monitoring.  Older adult friendly exercise equipment. 

Active Wellness Center Symposium:  AWC students give presentations on health related topics. Everyone is encouraged to come and learn about strength, cardio, flexibility and eating healthy.

*Brain Fitness:  Brain health is more important than ever. Optimal brain function is required for quality of life. Join us for an innovative approach to brain care with mental stimulation and challenges.

Bridges Health Services:  Introducing “The Well Winonan”, which is a program for preventative health screening.   Bridges is our source of all things health and wellness.

*Blood Pressure Checks:  Available through Bridges Health and in the Active Wellness Center.

Chair Yoga:  Breathing, stretching and find a moment of peace.  Increases circulation and balance.  Standing poses also included and chairs are provided.

Foot & Nail Clinic:  1 hour sessions made by appointment only; call the front desk for an appointment. Appointments include a foot assessment, trimming and thinning of toenails with special tools. Appointments are only offered by WSU Nursing students, supervised by a Registered Nurse, when school is in session.

Hand Massages:  Improve circulation, relieve tension in tendons and increases flexibility.  Reduces stiffness, relieves anxiety, pain and just plain feels good.

*Movin’ & Groovin’:  Moving to 60’s and 70’s tunes while rebuilding strength, flexibility and endurance.

*Nia:  Connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit through music.  Emphasis on stretching, strengthening, flexibility, agility and balance.

*Strength & Balance:  Regain and maintain balance with strength training and coordination exercises.

*T’ai Chi & Chi Gong:  Moving meditation while improving balance, increasing flexibility and promoting cardiovascular fitness.

*Water Aerobics:  Aerobics in a warm water pool with a variety of workouts. You do not need to know how to swim. A variety of workouts.  Summer program is held at the Bob Welch Aquatic Center.

*Yoga Mat:  Standing, flowing movements. Floor stretching, strengthening and relaxation.

*Zumba Gold:  Easy to follow Zumba choreography that focuses on balance, range of motion, coordination, cardiovascular, muscular conditioning and flexibility.


*Minnesota Safety Council Defensive Driving 55 +  6/5/2020 – Not offered at this time.

Initial Course:  If you are 55 or older, you can save money on your car insurance premiums and become a better driver.  MN law requires insurance companies to offer you a 10% reduction for 3 years if you complete the National Safety Council’s Defensive Driving Course, which is taught by professional certified instructors.  Course is two-4 hour classroom sessions, no driving or written test required.  A certificate provided for your insurance company after both classes have been completed.  Note:  Wisconsin residents must ask their insurance agent if they will cover the 10% discount. 

Refresher Course:  4 hour safety driving class with 10% discount on insurance, which is for those who have already taken an initial 8 hour class.  No driving and no written test.  You will receive a certificate of completion to provide your insurance company.  Note:  Wisconsin residents must ask their insurance agent if they will cover the 10% discount.

*Teleconferencing:  We would like you to know of our membership with Senior Learning Network and due to your membership with us, you too, are a member of SLN. This is live, teleconferencing of some of our nation’s most prestigious and wonderful museums, parks, and libraries. SLN brings remarkable people and programs right into your world. Visit behind the scenes of the ballet and talk to dancers about their current performance or career; talk to the National Archives on research in genealogy; interact with authors to discuss their books and writing style; learn from scientists why they are trying to replicate spider silk.  Anything you can imagine can be brought to you with teleconferencing. 

*Seminars:  The Center has many experts within the community. Our programming brings in numerous speakers on their area of expertise, such as Master gardeners, physicians, new age alternative medicines, nature programs and more.


*Jewelry Classes:  Learn how to make your own earrings, bracelets or necklaces.  All materials provided.


*Crafters, etc.:  Whether you enjoy knitting, making scrapbooks with photos and stamping greeting cards. Discuss fun and creative ideas with pictures.  Bring your own supplies, newcomers are welcome.

*Woodcarving:  Members carve objects by hand from wood, all levels welcome from the beginner to the advanced.  Bring your own tools and wood.

*Knitting and Crafts:  Knitting, crocheting, needlepoint and crafts. Socialize with others who have the same interests.

*Bundles of Love:  Make hand made items for needy babies:  quilts, afghans, sleepers, onesies and receiving blankets.  Volunteers needed for sewing, crocheting, knitting and cutting materials.

*Book Club:  Read the month’s selection & you are welcome to bring your lunch to class.

The Bike, Hike & Lunch Club:  Weekly rides on Mondays. Ride 7-11 miles on bike trails at a moderate pace and return for lunch and socialization.

Cards & Games

*Pool:  Two regulation size tables; use cues provided or bring your own.  All levels of players welcome. You must be a member to play.  Tournaments are held throughout the year.

*Scotch Doubles Pool Tournaments:  Teammates rotate shots.  Winners of each game move to the next round.  You must be a member to play.                                                                                            Doubles 3-15-13

*Singles Pool Tournament:  All players welcome; double elimination, best 2 out of 3 games. You must be a member to play.

*Doubles 8 Ball Pool Tournament:  Two-person teams set up by draw; double elimination. You must be a member to play.

*Monday Pool Tournaments:  Members entered into tournament as they arrive prior to 11:45 a.m.  It is possible to enter until the second round of play.  No open pool during this time.  You must be a member to play.

*500 Cards:  All money taken in is paid out in cash prizes. You must be a member to play.

*Schafskopf (Sheepshead):  All money take in is paid out in cash prizes.  You must be a member to play.

*15 (Card game):  Play 15 hands.  It is not necessary to know how to play the game, which is easy to learn.  All money taken in is paid out in cash prizes.  You must be a member to play.

*Texas Hold ‘Em Poker:  This game is for those who already know how to play.  However, lessons are available on request.  You must be a member to play.texas game

*Mexican Train Dominoes:  Modern version of dominoes played with 91 double-twelve dominoes.  A unique feature is the little trains used for game markers.  Object of game is to get the least amount of points.

*Canasta:  Lessons available upon request. All money taken in will be paid out in cash prizes.  You must be a member to play.

*Bingo:  All money taken in is paid out in cash prizes.  You must be a member to play.

*Bridge: Interested in playing party bridge on Mondays and/or Thursdays?  Some experience necessary. If you have not played recently, you are welcome to come and join us in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.  You must be a member to play. To sign up, contact Charlotte Clark at 454-0903.

*Table Tennis:  Available to use when programs are not going on in the Main Room.

*Programs offered year around.

Chore Corps
The Chore Corps is a program developed by the Friendship Center in 2020 to assist older adults in the City of Winona and Goodview with tasks such as raking, lawn mowing, yard clean up, snow removal, handyman repairs and services, and more!  Cost is based on a sliding fee scale.  Please contact Marite’ Olmstead, Senior Advocate, for more information or how to volunteer!
Computers are available for members to use.  There are five stations throughout the building to work on computers; four stations are PC’s and one station is an Apple.  If you need help with computers or a personal device, then call ahead to make an appointment for assistance. Students may be available for one-on-one assistance for the following:  Computer Basics, Internet, Email, Facebook, Kindle, iPad, Nook and cell phones.  We are not responsible for programs or downloads to your personal devices.
Friendships Forever
For the past six years, we have been running a program for older adults who can no longer come to the Center because of issues such as declining health or lack of transportation.  Students go to their homes and with technology, are able to bring them back to the Center without ever leaving their home.  If you know someone who would benefit from Friendships Forever, please call us so we can set up an appointment to show them how it all works.
Special Events

Special Events at the Friendship Center are fun for all!

The Winona Friendship Center hosts many special events throughout the year. Whether it is a picnic by the lake, musical entertainment, or a party, fun can be had by all who attend! Pre-registration and payment required.
Due to the COVID-19 virus, all special events are postponed until it is safe to gather in large numbers.  We may have a gathering over Zoom, so watch the Newsletter for any upcoming special events.
Volunteer Opportunities
The Winona Friendship Center has a variety of volunteer opportunities.  The Center is selected as a Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and many volunteers are needed to perform light clerical duties, assist in collaborative programs, work in subcommittees and help with special events and recreational programs.  If you would like to help out with any of these opportunities, Send a Message to Malia.

The Winona Friendship Center offers students a chance to work with older adults and gain experience in program administration, planning and client contacts.  Students from WSU and SMU Social Work Program are able to complete their required practicum at the Center.  The Winona Friendship Center has been proudly recognized for its support of this program.  Students from other fields also choose the Friendship Center to complete required course work.  Winona Senior High and Cotter High Schools send students to the Center for Community Service learning.  If you would like to help out with any of these opportunities, please Send a Message to Malia.

Activity Council

The Activity Council is the current membership of the Friendship Center. They nominate and vote into place, annually, the Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors meets monthly to discuss programs, operations and goals of the Center. They are an advisory group to the Friendship Center staff.

Vision: Every adult 55 and older in the Winona area will be an active member.

Mission: To provide leadership by advising staff on programs, community involvement by participating & networking in the community, and financial support by fundraising.

2020 AC Board of Directors

Gloria Hammond, President, 2020-2021

Bernadette Thicke, Vice-President, 2019-2020

Sharon Miller, Secretary, 2019-2020

Alan Leonhardt, Treasurer, 2019-2022

Bill Kuhl, At Large, 2020-2021

Chuck Toulouse, At Large, 2020-2021

Rex Dodson, 2019-2020

Richard Ricker (2019-2020)

Judy Wagenaar (2019-2020)

Articles of Incorporation (PDF)

WFCAC Bylaws 2015

Winona Senior Advocacy

Our mission is to help older citizens remain independent in their homes.

Director: Malia Fox
Senior Advocate: Lori Paulson
Senior Advocate: Marite’ Olmstead

The Senior Advocacy Program offers information, referral and assistance to all individuals in Winona County age 60 and over who live independently in our community.
This is a free and confidential service.

No one will be refused access to the service because of race, religion, color, sex, economic status or disability.

The Senior Advocacy Program will make every attempt to provide adequate staff and/or equipment to ensure program accessibility to disabled individuals.  

The Senior Advocacy Program provides:

  • Information and Referral
  • Home Visits
  • Educational Programs
  • Medicare Assistance
  • Supportive Services in: 
    • Housing
    • Application for Benefits
    • Advance Directive for Health Care Preparation
    • Notary Services
    • Health Insurance Counseling
    • Money Management

 The Senior Advocates assist individuals with:

  • Housing Applications
  • Winona County Human Services application for services
  • Energy Assistance Application
  • Forms for property tax rebates or renter’s rebate
  • Free cell phone or telephone discount
  • Prescription assistance programs
  • Health Insurance counseling

The Senior Advocates make connections with other services available in our community:

  • In home health and chore services
  • Companionship
  • Legal services
  • Transportation options
  • Nutrition services


  • DFC (Dementia Friendly Community)   Creating a safe and supportive community for persons with memory loss, their care partners and families through programs including:
    • Weekly Memory Cafe’s
    • The Forget Me Notes Chorus
    • Dementia Friends Informational Sessions
  • REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health), is a program for people who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia at home. The program makes it possible for people to live in their own homes longer, addressing problems related to caregiver health that often force people to move their loved ones to long term care facilities. If the caregiver is better able to manage the challenges of caregiving, the person he or she cares for will benefit as well.  


For the past six years we have been running a program for older adults who can no longer come to the Center because of issues such as declining health or lack of transportation.  Students go to their homes and, with technology, are able to bring them back to the Center without ever leaving their home.  If you know someone who would benefit from Friendships Forever, please call us so we can set up an appointment to show them how it all works.

Malia Fox Director Send a Message
DeeDee Follansbee Administrative Assistant Send a Message
Laura Hoberg Recreation Coordinator Send a Message
Tracy Flom Maintenance Send a Message
Lori Kapustik Program Aide  
Angelo Giaquinto Health Specialist-Active Wellness Center  

Senior Advocacy Staff

Marite’ Olmstead Senior Advocate Send a Message
Lori Paulson Senior Advocate Send a Message
Holiday Closures
The Winona Friendship Center will be closed the following dates for various holidays.
  • January 1  – New Year’s Day
  • January 20 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
  • February 17 – President’s Day
  • May 25 – Memorial Day
  • July 3 – Independence Day Observed
  • July 4 – Independence Day
  • September 7 – Labor Day
  • November 11 – Veteran’s Day
  • November 26 & 27 – Thanksgiving & Day after
  • December 24 & 25 – Christmas Eve Day & Christmas Day