St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, originally built in 1888, merged their grade school with three other parishes to form All Saints Academy, and the school moved off campus.  Subsequently a renovation of the former school laid a foundation for new programs to utilize the space that is now called the Parish Center.  It has been stated, “as one door closes, another door opens.”  St. Alphonsus Young at Heart Enrichment Program started in 2014 as an outreach to the Northeast Neighborhood.  In 2018 we qualified to receive supportive funding through Kent County Senior Millage, administered through the Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan.  We are located at the Parish Center at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church, 228 Carrier NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505.  We welcome people aged 55+ from all walks of life, to participate in our wide variety of activities.

The Young at Heart Senior Enrichment Program welcomes people who are entering into this new phase in life. We offer opportunities to challenge oneself with new activities, or enjoy familiar ones while meeting new friends. We seek new ideas to expound one’s horizons, and take time to learn more about relevant topics. We take outings to join others in shared experiences and explore our surroundings. Perhaps with our transformed eyes a familiar event, becomes a new experience. Young at Heart also believes in giving back to the community; we provide opportunities to do service for others and put our faith into action. 

Check out our calendar to see the variety of activities we offer to provide nourishment of the body, mind and spirit. 

The life cycle of the butterfly captures the essence of the Young at Heart. The caterpillar’s incessant crawling and chewing reminds us of normal earthly life where people are often preoccupied with taking care of their physical needs. The caterpillar then wraps the silken threads around itself, breaking down into a liquidy ‘soup’. Out of that rich substance a butterfly develops. In its own time, it works its way out of the shell and a new life emerges. The butterfly often represents the resurrection into a new and glorious life, free of material concerns and restrictions. While this may be idealistic, there can be a freedom people experience as they age. One’s purpose in life is redefined, making room for one to explore new areas, entertain new ideas, and live another phase of life. 

However, almost in opposition to its resurrection symbolism, the butterfly is also a symbol of frail humanity and the vanity and brevity of life. This delicate insect might even be torn apart by a hard rain. The dainty butterfly can represent women, autumn, joy, beauty, life, immortality, and new beginnings. 

Funding for Young at Heart comes from donations as well as from The Area Agency on Aging at the Kent County Senior Millage.