The Santa Maria Wisdom Center is a step closer to seeing construction plans move off the drawing board for a newly expanded adult day care center aimed at the community's medically frail, elderly adults living with disabilities and those diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

Lifesteps Foundation, which operates the center, recently received a $25,000 challenge grant from the Edwin and Jeanne Woods Family Foundation that will match dollar-for-dollar all donations raised for the new center's construction from now until Oct. 31.

"We are incredibly blessed and excited to have supporters who have stepped up to help us," said Linda Gadbois, Wisdom Center program director. "Having a local foundation (that) believes in our mission ... is a testament to our vision and will provide a springboard to advancing this project forward."

Lifesteps recently kicked off a $1.7 million capital campaign dubbed, "Step Up for Seniors," to raise funds for construction of the brand-new Wisdom Center, which will be complete with a full-service kitchen, 6,000-square-foot day and activity room, a physical therapy room, support offices and treatment rooms.

Project designs also include 1,000 square feet of a secure outdoor patio and recreational area that has been designed with 500 square feet of the space covered, so it still can be used during inclement weather.

Since launching the capital campaign, Lifesteps has raised just over $915,000, including a $193,500 block grant it was awarded from the city of Santa Maria, for the new center.

The mission of the Wisdom Center is to prevent, delay and reduce the premature institutionalization of low-income, medically frail, elderly adults living with disabilities, allowing them to remain at home as long as possible.

It is the only licensed community-based adult services program in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties.

The new center will be located at 2255 S. Depot St. in Santa Maria and is expected to open this fall. The center now operates at 1414 N. Broadway, Suite A.

Donations to the "Step Up for Seniors" campaign can be made online by visiting


April Charlton covers Santa Barbara County for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow her on Twitter@WordsDawn



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