Like many new ventures, the Happiness Club was started by a few interested people who met on June 2, 1971 at a luncheon hosted by the Women’s Society at the Hilliard United Methodist Church. After several organizational meetings and many discussions, it was decided to meet on a Friday every other month with a pot luck dinner, until enough interest was generated to meet more often.
Those in attendance at the pot luck on June 23, 1972 voted to name this group the Happiness Club. May 11, 1973 marked the date of the decision to meet on the second Friday of each month. On October 27, 1978 a meeting was held with City officials and others to discuss an addition to the Community Center for seniors. A committee of five senior citizens was selected to represent the Happiness Club and to work with City officials on plans for the new Senior Center. Ground breaking for the building was held in December of 1980. The first meeting of the Happiness Club in the new Senior Center was held on September 11, 1981, with one hundred eighteen in attendance.
During the three decades the Senior Center has been in existence, the Happiness Club has held various annual fund raising events and has raised thousands of dollars for the benefit of the Senior Center and its participants. Many items in the kitchen were purchased utilizing these funds, including silverware, plates, pots and pans, mixer, hot water tank, freezers and miscellaneous cooking utensils. Additional equipment purchased by the Happiness Club for the center include storage cabinets, a sound system, projector, pull down screen, miscellaneous center decorations, party door-prizes and many other items. The largest fund raiser was held in 2003 when eighty thousand dollars was raised for the purchase of a new 28 passenger bus.
All funds raised by the Happiness Club are utilized for the benefit of members at the Senior Center. The Happiness Club is incorporated and is classified as a 501C3 organization. All donations are deductible for income tax purposes.
The City of Hilliard, Phyllis A. Ernst (Hilliard) Senior Center works cooperatively with the Happiness Club officers and general membership to benefit senior citizens by promoting fellowship, education, health and wellness, leisure activities and entertainment. Membership to the Phyllis A. Ernst Senior Center is open to all persons age 55 and older regardless of residency and is required for participation in programs and activities at the center. However, membership to the Senior Center is not required to participate in Happiness Club gatherings.
Newsletters highlighting activities are published on a regular basis and made available to those with a membership. Many, many programs, activities and services are offered through the center, with the highlight of regular programming being a meal program. Lunches are offered 3-4 days per week (including beverage and dessert) at a nominal fee. Advance registration is requested for the meal program. Please contact the office at 614.876.0747 and speak with a staff person for information regarding the center and Happiness Club.