IT was during a Christmas event for the elderly that Leonie Jacobs realised the yearning these senior citizens had to socialise and feel part of the community.The sheer joy and excitement of these pensioners at the party was a clear indication of a need for regular interaction and involvement. As a result, Jacobs decided to start The Rising Star Senior Citizens club in Extension 31, Bethelsdorp. The club, a registered NPO, celebrated its first anniversary on March 21 and currently makes use of the Healing Waters Gospel Ministry’s wooden structure for its meetings.The 60 club members meet every Tuesday where they receive a cooked meal and do activities, such as needlework, and produce accessories from recycled products.“It has always been my passion to work with the elderly. I don’t have parents anymore and it breaks my heart when I see how badly some of the elderly in our community are being treated by their children and grandchildren,” Jacobs said. “The elderly spend their lives taking care of these children and then there is no gratitude for all they sacrificed. Instead, their pension money is abused and they have to look after grandchildren. It is not right. Also, many of them feel isolated, so, this club gives them the opportunity to mingle with their peers and just get out of the house a bit.”According Jacobs, the club members have found the club to provide a sense of camaraderie where they can talk about any issues they may have over a cup of tea.“We are very grateful to the Healing Waters Gospel Ministry for allowing us to use their building for our meetings free of charge, but it is my heart’s desire to have a place of our own where we can do lots of activities. “Currently, there is not a lot of space and no tables to work on. At the moment we do what we can with what we have available.”The very nominal club fee to cover the meals is at most times not sufficient. The club relies solely on donations for the materials they use for the craft making. “We use offcut fabric to make beautiful little pillows and create bags and hats from old plastic shopping bags. We sell these creations, with permission, at the Desai’s Centre in Extension 31 on Saturdays to generate income.”Jacob’s vision is to grow the club to further heights and boldly believes in its potential to become a fully-fledged home for the elderly in the future.